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Evolving Standards for Academic Publishing: A q-r Theory

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  • Glenn Ellison

Abstract

This paper develops a model of evolving standards for academic publishing. It is motivated by the increasing tendency of academic journals to require multiple revisions of articles and by changes in the content of articles. Papers are modeled as varying along two quality dimensions: q and r. The former represents the clarity and importance of a paper's main ideas and the latter its craftsmanship and polish. Observed trends are regarded as increases in r-quality. A static equilibrium model in which an arbitrary social norm determines how q and r are weighted is developed and used to discuss comparative statics explanations for increases in r. The paper then analyzes a learning model in which referees (who have a biased view of the importance of their own work) try to learn the social norm from observing how their own papers are treated and the decisions editors make on papers they referee. The model predicts that social norms will gradually but steadily evolve to increasingly emphasize r-quality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7805.

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Date of creation: Jul 2000
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7805

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  1. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 1998. "Learning Purified Mixed Equilibria," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1817, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  4. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  5. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Glenn Ellison, 2002. "The Slowdown of the Economics Publishing Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 947-993, October.
  7. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-57, Jan.-Feb..
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