Monday, March 16, 2009

The marketplace for peer reviewed economics

Journals are the clearinghouses of academic economics, providing the proximate demand for the articles that economists supply. In my previous post (Science journals and science journalism) I discussed the fact that economics journals have a much longer delay between submission and publication than journals in science and medicine. Some of this has to do with the reviewing process.

Preston McAfee, a veteran editor, has written a wise and not so funny* article about the editing process, based on his long experience at the AER and, more recently, Economic Inquiry (where he initiated a policy of allowing authors to opt for an accept or reject decision without revision).

I recommend the article, even though it is difficult to summarize. It is not an apologia; he says:
"The way economists operate journals is perhaps the most inefficient operation I encounter on a regular basis."

*He also says "There is a lot of heartbreak in journal editing since most of the job is rejecting papers. If you are looking for amusing anecdotes, subscribe to Readers’ Digest."

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