Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comments on Scientific Papers

Once upon a time, many comments were published on scientific papers, including in economics. Nowadays, relatively few are. Rick Trebino has written an article that suggests some of the reasons why not. The article is rather amusing/cathartic for anyone who has been frustrated with the academic publication process. In economics, comments have been replaced by increasingly lengthy refereeing processes at the top journals. I saw a paper somewhere on this but can't remember where. One of my colleagues/coauthors, Robert Kaufmann, simply published his comment on a paper in the American Economic Review in Ecological Economics when the AER refused to on the grounds that it added too little to the original paper. They'll only publish a comment that makes a substantial new contribution rather than merely correcting a mistake.

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