The editor of Economic Inquiry hits a nerve with his decision to change the process of peer review at his journal. A combination of sloppy authorship and hyper-editorial referees means…
The system is broken. Consequently, Economic Inquiry is starting an experiment. In this experiment, an author can submit under a ‘no revisions’ policy.
Hat tip goes to Frank Cross at Empirical Legal Studies, where you can read the details. See also the discussion at Marginal Revolution, which directs us to take a look at a proposal for ‘as-is journal review’, something I’ve advocated in the past.
[T]he as-is review process re-establishes the basic roles of authors, referees and editors. For authors, the act of submitting a manuscript to a journal is to explore the possibility of getting their ideas published. This act does not imply an obligation to change any ideas against their will. For referees, their role is to advise editors regarding the publishability [sic] of manuscripts. This role does not come with the right to impose their own ideas on authors. For editors, their role is to decide whether to accept or reject a submitted manuscript, based on the recommendations of referees and their own reading. This role entails neither the right nor the obligation to help authors develop the manuscript to their satisfaction and to the satisfaction of referees.
- Eric W. K. Tsang and Bruno S. Frey. The As-Is Journal Review Process: Let Authors Own Their Idea. Academy of Management Learning and Education (2007) 6:1 128. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=897708.
Simply put, an author’s work should stand on its merits. Advice on how to re-write and improve scholarly papers may be valuable, but re-drafting should be part of the writing process, not part of the publishing process.