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On property rights and incentives in academic publishing

  • Pitsoulis, Athanassios
  • Schnellenbach, Jan

The peer review system in academic publishing performs two important functions by screening a manuscript for its quality, and by helping to further improve an author's work. However, it often fails to perform these functions in a satisfactory manner. We argue that property rights theory can be fruitfully applied to understand these shortcomings, and to develop reform proposals. The present paper discusses the incentive-problems in journal peer review from an institutional economics perspective, arguing that the incentives of both authors and reviewers to fully exploit a manuscript's potential depend on their property rights. Based on this theory of peer review, we argue that the recent proposal of an “as is” review policy combined with increased accountability of referees can be expected to result in a higher efficiency of peer review.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 1440-1447

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:8:p:1440-1447
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  1. Kosfeld, Michael & Neckermann, Susanne, 2010. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 5040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1971. "The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 112-23, May.
  3. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Susanne Neckermann, 2008. "Awards: A view from psychological economics," IEW - Working Papers 357, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Enrico Schöbel, 2005. "European Editors of Economics Journals—A General Discussion," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 207-211, April.
  6. Bruno Frey, 2005. "Problems with Publishing: Existing State and Solutions," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 173-190, April.
  7. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 6726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Seidl, Christian & Schmidt, Ulrich & Grösche, Peter, 2005. "The Performance of Peer Review and a Beauty Contest of Referee Processes of Economics Journals/," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 23, pages 505-551, Diciembre.
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