Mailing List Archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[tlug] Journals, Authors and 'Free Peer Review'

Curt Sampson writes:

 > Except that it seems that the pretty formatting is almost
 > invariably done by the author, not the journal. At least in the
 > world of LaTeX-using journals, they expect a source file using
 > their templates and whatnot that will produce camera-ready copy.

Business journals, and economics journals from a business family of
journals, generally expect Word files.  (Unless I qualify by
mentioning a field below, assume business and economics; I don't know
how much this generalizes.)  I think Word is now universal among the
innumerate fields.  These get automatically munged into something sort
of sane by proprietary software, usually supplied through one of the
big oligopolistic publishers.

 > On 2018-09-20 22:14 +0800 (Thu), Raymond Wan wrote:

 > > I'm not so sure if this works as it seems to be a way for authors
 > > to "have their cake and eat it".... They get "free peer review"
 > > via their peers on Twitter...

Actually, they don't.  People who are really good do, people who are
second tier (which is pretty damn good, actually, except for the
following) or below generally end up in circular pity parties where
they're always commiserating with each other on how their great papers
are getting ignored in favor of the second-rate proteges of star
professors.  (All of which is true except the phrase "great papers" --
the research may be great but the papers are poorly written so nobody
can tell.)  I find it hard to believe that this varies much across
fields.  WDOT?

What Twitter is good for is self-promotion (by individuals or cells).
Of course, the top half of researchers probably contains most of the
top half of self-marketers, but the correlation is imperfect, and some
really good researchers get a lot less attention than they deserve.

 > Oh come on. Journals don't pay for peer review (via real reviews,

Several economics journals experimented in the 80s with paying bonuses
for submitting reviews on time.  Don't know if they still do; the sums
were nominal compared to what you could make consulting for life
insurance firms or personal injury lawyers.

 > not Twitter) either. They expect people working in the field to do
 > review for them for free. Nor do they usually pay their editorial
 > committees, either.

Not true, in the first place.  Submit several papers, expect to be
called as a reviewer.  Ie, you submit on credit: paybacks are hell.
Hit on one and you'll definitely be called.  You can turn these
requests down, but you'll have a really hard time getting anything in
to that journal (and any journals the editors' friends edit) in the
future (unless your papers are two s.d. higher in citations than the
journal average -- n.b., highly skewed distribution implies 2 s.d
isn't that big).

The second is true on the journal side, but editors are not
uncompensated.  Being on the editorial board of a high-impact journal
can make up for a small number of publications as it's evidence of the
respect of your field peers, and the high average quality of your
publications.  This is recognized in American institutions whose
policies I know, though Japanese don't count it so high (most journals
are either house organs of some research organization, or dominated by
some gakubatsu).

Having a good editorial staff is somewhat enhanced by paying more
money, not to the academic editors, but the managing editor and the
office staff.  Top-notch staff can handle the nasty work of phoning
late reviewers and the like, which speeds up the mess, which makes
submission to the journal much more attractive (it makes a lot of
sense to submit to a #1 journal with an 0.5% acceptance rate if you
know you'll get a desk reject in less than two weeks and a usually
competent review in 2 months if you get that far).

 > > But it's the state of some research fields now and I think
 > > journals are forced to accept it in order to compete with others
 > > [for now]?
 > The problem is that the journals aren't providing much beyond some
 > coordination work, printing (for those still taking paper copies)
 > and another place to download the PDF. Given the massive increases
 > in subscription prices for many of them, it's no suprise a lot of
 > authors wonder just what the journal is doing for the quite nice
 > profits most of them are making.

As usual, authors think way the fsck too much of themselves.  Most of
them just generate demand for paper (old style) and bandwidth (new
style).  What the top journals have always done is to provide the
curriculum for doctoral students.  They do this by being the top
journals, which attracts the top submissions.  A second-tier
researcher can usually distinguish first-tier from second-tier
submissions, so even with mediocre leadership a top 10 journal can
maintain its position for a decade or more.  To reach two decades in
the top 10 you need good leadership, though.  Of course that's usually
easy to get, the top people compete for those appointments.

 > (And this is why predatory journals have grown so much over the
 > last decade or so: it's just not very much work to produce a new
 > 'journal' now.)

My interpretation is different: outside of the top 50-100 people so in
most fields, typically distributed across the top 20 to 50
departments, almost all researchers are quite narrow.  It's very
common now to have 5 or 6 mutually exclusive cliques in an economics
department, for example, where they claim no ability to assess the
quality of other cliques' research or students (and all too often
they're right!)  The result is that almost all research universities
now demand "objective" measures such as citation counts and impact
factors for the journals of publication, and even student evaluations
of teaching, to support tenure and promotion decisions.  The
administrations don't trust their faculty to make good decisions; it's
not just Americans' litigiousness when tenure is denied.  But the
crudest measure is publication count, and and it's the easiest to
bolster very quickly by submitting to pay- for-publication journals.

Home | Main Index | Thread Index

Home Page Mailing List Linux and Japan TLUG Members Links