In a sense the process is simple • Write a paper • Submit it to a journal • Wait for a response • Revise the paper and resubmit • Wait for a response; Or • Pick a new journal, and repeat
But if you read Pannell’s paper, you know it is not that simple • You always think the quality of the work is good. Otherwise, why would you send it to a journal • Rule 1: Never submit a paper you don’t think is good. • Rule 2: Referees and editors will never think the (original) version of the paper is as good as you think it is. • Corollary: The editor, and especially the referees, will think you should have written a different paper.
Process is really a bit more complicated • Writing papers is difficult. We’ve just talked about writing skills. One additional hint is to write as a team • Coauthoring makes the process of writing papers easier • Division of labor often improves production and efficiency • It allows internal review of the research before it is submitted for external review • But you should really contribute. (link to coauthorships)
Once the paper is written, you need to pick a journal (later). Let’s talk about the process once a journal is submitted. Most of the pain of publishing comes from the refereeing. Problems in the refereeing process include • Randomness; the acceptance or not of your paper seems to depend on good or bad luck. Two comments on the same paper: • Referee 1: ‘This paper falls into the class of papers that can be denominated as "measurement without theory"’. • Referee 2: ‘This paper, as it stands, is purely theoretical’ • Quality of the refereeing • Common comment – paper is of “insufficient interest” (no way to argue) • Referee doesn’t understand basic economics (it happens) • But most referees are conscientious, even if wrong. Take it that way. • Slowness • Not much to say – keep on editors, but give the process at least 4 months
Table 1. Total time (days) between submission of an article and the receipt of the editor’s final decision. 22 papers written between 1998 and 2001 in ag econ journals
Akerlof’s “The Market for Lemons” was rejected by • AER because it was “trivial” • JPE because it was too general to be true • REStud because it was trivial • Finally accepted at the QJE Message – if you believe in your work, be persistent.