Thursday, January 22, 2015

Editolial Discretion

One of the bunnies points to an interesting post at Naked Capitalism, indicating the travails of a paper submitted to an editor in chief, one of Ethons favorite bites, the good Professor Richard Tol.  Now some, not Eli to be sure might have some doubts about the net of implausible deniability of the editors (there are a few, Dr. Richard Tol, Dr. B. W. Ang and Dr. U. Soyta) in chief and Ms. Donna de Weerd-Wilson, Executive Publisher at Elsevier, but suffice it to say that the paper was slow walked, till it was rejected because, and Eli kids you not
The reason your paper is never reviewed is because the Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief tried their best, for over seven months, to find suitable reviewers, but none could be found.
Well, it was only from March to November, and of course, Richard's advice when asked about the paper by the author, Eric Prentis, was
and, after the stonewall, the Editors In Chief put on full huffing regalia and wrote to Eric P on November 9
The author lacks confidence in the editorial team of Energy Economics and is thus best advised to take the paper elsewhere.
Which reminds Eli, he owes someone a review

UPDATE:  Yeah, Prentis is a bit over the top, but OTOH, Eli knows Dick.


Marlowe Johnson said...

Chill eh? That seals it. Tol is the real life inspiration for Encino Man...

Taylor B said...

Tol has a pattern of over-the-top aggression in response to even mild criticism of any kind, as witnessed on RR and elsewhere. Perhaps his behavior is understandable, even if unreasonable, considering that his area of so-called expertise relies on Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) that have been described as "so deeply flawed as to be close to useless as tools for policy analysis."

Hank Roberts said...

Eli, you buried the lede.

This paper is about the results of deregulation.

The paper says:

"Of the 11 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) that have effectively restructured their electricity markets and allow “free market” competition, electricity prices have gone up over four times faster, after restructuring than before restructuring, relative to U.S. electricity prices."

It appears that the response of the editors was: $$PROFIT$$ must not be studied or questioned in our publication, go away.

Pekka Pirilä said...

It's amazing that the paper could not be rejected promptly as far below the scientific standards of Energy Economics. The "analysis" is not scientific at all, neither is the discussion.

The observations are obvious at the level they are presented, but all confounding factors are dismissed without any mention of them.

EliRabett said...

If EE had just trash canned it Pekka there would be no issue, the author would have, as he did just gone elsewhere and as he did to get it published.

It was the manner in which this was done.

Pekka Pirilä said...

As a young scientist I was a good reviewer writing the reviews promptly and spending some effort in figuring out the real problems in a bad paper rather than just noting that it's bad and picking on something that I had misunderstood on first reading (I had seen too many examples of the latter, and was often asked for further opinion after such a weak dismissal.

In later years I found myself sitting an a review that I had promised to write, but not any more willing to put enough effort to that.

I have also learned that it has been very difficult to find reviewers in the field of energy economics that was my own field for about 30 years. In a blog comment I can just say on first reading that the paper does not warrant publishing in a journal ot the quality of EE. EE is the journal of the field that puts most weight on scientific quality, when other journals consider other values like policy relevance allowing for lesser scientific value.

Of course, this kind of things should not happen, but they are very common. Perhaps picking just one of hundreds for public attention is a way of affecting the practice, but that's not obvious.

Victor Venema said...

I have also learned that it has been very difficult to find reviewers in the field of energy economics that was my own field for about 30 years.

I wonder if this statement generalizes to all of economics. Doing a review is an anonymous and thus unrewarded contribution to your field of study. Something humans have no problem with, but which a homo economicus would never do.

Is that why the tradition developed to do most of the review before submission, by spreading working documents for several years before submitting it for review. That way the economists given valuable feedback at least have the impression that they get a reputational bonus for doing this.

Fernando Leanme said...

Guys, the system is broken. Those big publishing outfits have too much power, the peer review system sucks, and people don't have the time to do a proper review.

My sister is a researcher, and she told me she also faced pressure to publish little tidbits in short papers, which in turn got jammed in long queues of similar papers. But if she didn't publish and play politics to get cited then her career would tank.

Russell Seitz said...

The adjectives 'politicized ' and 'commerciallized' have blurred to the point where the generic question is how any erstwhile scholarly journal editors are also paid to write , collate, or commission content for PR mills answerable to corporate clients, or foundations with sociopolitical agendas of their own ?