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The Costs of Critical Commentary in Economics Journals

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  • Robert Whaples

Abstract

THE BENEFITS OF CRITICAL COMMENTARY ARE MANIFEST. Indeed, all of human understanding depends upon it. Coelho, De Worken-Eley, and McClure (2005) document that critical commentary declined as a share of the pages published in five highly-ranked economics journals between 1963 and 2004. They argue that this decline constitutes a negative trend, chastising journal editors for this mistake, while enumerating several benefits that arise from commentary—especially the discovery and advertisement of errors and limitations, but also allowing readers and researchers to achieve a broader and deeper comprehension, constraining editors’ self-serving behavior, and piquing readers’ interest. They argue that “an editorial posture that eschews critical commentary subjugates the spirit of scientific inquiry,†and suggest that editors’ ignorance of the benefits are at the root the problem (360).

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Whaples, 2006. "The Costs of Critical Commentary in Economics Journals," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(2), pages 275-282, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:3:y:2006:i:2:p:275-282
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Davis, Paul & Papanek, Gustav F, 1984. "Faculty Ratings of Major Economics Departments by Citations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(1), pages 225-230, March.
    2. Daniel B. Klein & Eric Chiang, 2004. "The Social Science Citation Index: A Black Box—with an Ideological Bias?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(1), pages 134-165, April.
    3. Liebowitz, S J & Palmer, J P, 1984. "Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economic Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 77-88, March.
    4. Philip R. P. Coelho & Frederick De Worken-Eley III & James E. McClure, 2005. "Decline in Critical Commentary, 1963–2004," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(2), pages 355-361, August.
    5. Whaples, Robert, 2002. "The Supply And Demand Of Economic History: Recent Trends In The Journal Of Economic History," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 524-532, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan H. Höffler, 2014. "Teaching Replication in Quantitative Empirical Economics," Replication Working Papers 2/2014, Institut für Statistik und Ökonometrie, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Replication project.

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