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


Sorry...was quite busy the last few days...

On Wednesday, September 26, 2018 01:54 AM, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
  > 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?

Yes -- well, everything in life is like one big pyramid scheme. I don't think academia or research in general is any different. ;-(

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.

Yes, Twitter is probably used that way and those (like me) who have yet to embrace it probably suffer. A big part of research is about self-promotion but I think it does vary from field to field. (I mean the extent to which it happens.)

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).

I'd probably like to tack on staff that create a well-written web site that explains the entire submission process as well as journals that have staff that actually respond to queries. They do a lot of work behind the scenes.

I don't know how much they make, but like any job, they need to be paid enough to want to stay in their job.

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.

All of this makes sense to me.

Just wondering -- do you (or anyone else reading) have a take on the "h-index"? I noticed a greater and greater emphasis on it. It seems like a useful measure over (say) a publication count. But the emphasis on it makes it seem like if one's h-index isn't high, then "we don't want to talk to you".


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