Pressure to publish in top journals stifles creativity in economic research, study shows | 10/2/2018 | Staff
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Too often in economics, where you publish can be more important than what you publish.

That's the theory explored in a new study co-authored by Nobel-winning economist James J. Heckman and Sidharth Moktan, a predoctoral fellow at the Center for the Economics of Human Development. The University of Chicago scholars found that tenure and prize committees often base decisions on how often candidates publish in "top five" journals in the field. That practice not only concentrates career advancement into the hands of a select set of editors—many of whom are long-serving—but does so at the expense of innovative economic research.

Publication - Counts - Journals - Encourages - Careerism

"Relying on publication counts in 'top-ranked' journals encourages crass careerism among young economists," Heckman said. "It diverts their attention away from basic research toward blatant strategizing about lines of research and favored topics of journal editors with long tenures.

"Relying on rankings rather than reading to promote and reward young economists subverts the essential process of assessing and rewarding pathbreaking original research."

Refers - Journals - Success - Scholars - Economic

The "top five" refers to the leading economic journals most crucial to the academic and professional success of young scholars: The American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, The Quarterly Journal of Economics and The Review of Economic Studies. These journals are chosen by a process that weighs citation counts to all papers in the journal; in other words, it judges a paper by the company it keeps.

The working paper from Heckman and Moktan, released Oct. 1 in the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that scholars who have written one "top five" article are 90 percent more likely to receive tenure in a given year. Those figures balloon to 260 percent for two such articles and 370 percent for three.

Scholars - Somebody - Moktan

"Both junior and senior scholars often bring up the top five when they're evaluating somebody," Moktan said. "Even if it's...
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