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Low acceptance rates, commercial publishing, and the future of scholarly communication


  • John P. Conley

    (Vanderbilt University)


This letter calls attention a recent trend in economics publishing that seems to have slipped under the radar: large increases in submissions rates across a wide range of economics journals and steeply declining acceptance rates as a consequence. It is argued that this is bad for scholarly communication, bad for economics as a science, and imposes significant and wasteful costs on editors, referees, authors, and especially young people trying to establish themselves in the profession. It is further argued that the new “Big Deal” business model used by commercial publishers is primarily responsible for this situation. Finally it is argued that this represents a compelling reason to take advantage of new technologies to take control of certifying and distributing research away from commercial publishers and return it to scholarly community.

Suggested Citation

  • John P. Conley, 2013. "Low acceptance rates, commercial publishing, and the future of scholarly communication," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00008, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:vuecon-sub-13-00008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John P. Conley & Mario J. Crucini & Robert A. Driskill & Ali Sina Önder, 2013. "The Effects Of Publication Lags On Life-Cycle Research Productivity In Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1251-1276, April.
    2. John P. Conley & Myrna Wooders, 2009. "But what have you done for me lately? Commercial Publishing; Scholarly Communication; and Open-Access," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 71-87, March.
    3. John P. Conley & Mario J. Crucini & Robert A. Driskill & Ali Sina Onder, 2011. "Incentives and the Effects of Publication Lags on Life Cycle Research Productivity in Economics," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1122, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. New forms of open peer review will allow academics to separate scholarly evaluation from academic journals.
      by ? in Impact of Social Sciences on 2013-08-20 16:15:00
    2. New forms of open peer review will allow academics to separate scholarly evaluation from academic journals.
      by Blog Admin in Impact of Social Sciences on 2013-08-20 15:15:32
    3. Why and how to separate scholarly evaluation from academic journals.
      by ? in Open Scholar C.I.C. on 2013-08-20 19:20:00


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    More about this item


    Publishing; Scholarly Communication; Open Access; Big Deal; Fractional Reserve; Money;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A0 - General Economics and Teaching - - General
    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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