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On property rights and incentives in academic publishing

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  • Pitsoulis, Athanassios
  • Schnellenbach, Jan

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Pitsoulis, Athanassios & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "On property rights and incentives in academic publishing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1440-1447.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:8:p:1440-1447
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.03.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruno Frey, 2005. "Problems with Publishing: Existing State and Solutions," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 173-190, April.
    2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 115-138.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Michael Kosfeld & Susanne Neckermann, 2011. "Getting More Work for Nothing? Symbolic Awards and Worker Performance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 86-99, August.
    6. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Williamson, Oliver E, 1971. "The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 112-123, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Academic journals; Scientific publishing; Peer review policy; Property rights;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L89 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Other

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