The Decline of Peer Review

18 July 2011 at 2:24 pm 2 comments

| Dick Langlois |

Glenn Ellison has a paper in the new issue of Economic Inquiry called “Is Peer Review in Decline?” Here’s the abstract.

Over the past decade, there has been a decline in the fraction of papers in top economics journals written by economists from the highest ranked economics departments. This paper documents this fact and uses additional data on publications and citations to assess various potential explanations. Several observations are consistent with the hypothesis that the Internet improves the ability of high profile authors to disseminate their research without going through the traditional peer review process.

An alternative explanation is that the distribution of productivity among departments has gotten flatter, and Ellison can’t definitively reject that possibility. (Luigi Zingales and his coauthors had argued that the Internet has reduced the advantages for productivity of being at a top university.) But the explanation Ellison favors has to do with the increasing costs of the review process, especially at top field journals, where editors (he claims) have been increasingly demanding revisions. Because the costs of the review process are high and the benefits modest for prestigious authors, they increasingly avoid these journals.

Entry filed under: - Langlois -, Education, Papers. Tags: .

The Menger Sponge 2011 Oliver E. Williamson Prize

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Marotta  |  22 July 2011 at 3:56 am

    Much remains to be discovered and announced, of course. Contrary to that, once a professor achieves tenure, incentives to publish are reduced. Also, good research takes time; a project might require years before results are announced. I would like to believe that the demise of Keynesian arithmetic has reduced the output of algebraic formulations about markets. Even if it is true that “top” schools produce fewer papers, perhaps the best new ideas are coming from (will come from) other places that will prove to be the new “top” schools of the century unfolding. Finally, even if economics is moribund, other studies – geography with remote sensing and GIS, just for example, which offers interesting applications for medical imaging as well – are emerging.

    We like to wrap people and events, times and places in names: the Renaissance; the Industrial Revolution; Gen-X. Perhaps we have passed the Age of Economics, the days when Marxists and Keynesians ruled societies.

  • 2. Anvur lancia la Bomba H  |  23 July 2011 at 11:31 am

    [...] Il documento-anvur  sui criteri di valutazione per i futuri concorsi universitari incentrati sulle bibliometriche genera le prevedibili reazioni e polemiche. V. ad esempio Israel ma non solo: ancora-sul-demenziale-h-index   contro l’idea insana di valutare i contributi scientifici senza leggerli.  Ma è solo l’inizio, perchè l’Italia arriva tardi quando ormai l’insostenibilità di un sistema globale imperniato sui conteggi delle citazioni inizia ad essere percepita nei punti alti della ricerca mondiale : the-decline-of-peer-review [...]

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