Readers might recall my AAEA president's column from a couple weeks ago, where I highlighted some potentially worrying trends in the academic publishing world associated with agricultural economics. Since then, I've run across at least two other papers that touch on related themes and problems.
The first is a paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Jonathan Berk, Campbell Harvey and David Hirshleifer. The main purpose of the article is to provide some advice to academics on how to referee journal articles. Their main message, with which I completely agree, is that referees often pay too much attention to minor technical issues and too little attention to the importance of the problem. Their advice:
At the beginning, the authors highlight what they see as the main problem:
It seems that my colleague, Wade Brorsen, agrees (at lest with some of these points). Wade's Western Agricultural Economics Association presidential address was recently published. After documenting the increase in paper and complexity, in his usual frank fashion, Brorsen has the following to say:
Brorsen also takes issues with the use of impact factors, the pursuit of the interesting over the important, the use of certain statistical techniques, the lack of simplicity, and more. He ends as follows: