Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The perils of peer review

The Academic Exchange sums up an Emory talk on getting published by Randy Hodson, editor of American Sociological Review:

"It’s very easy to cast [peer reviewers] as enemies because they have pointed out weaknesses and we don’t want to hear that, and these weaknesses entail significant amounts of work on our part. ...
"Your earliest draft of the paper, before it’s been rejected several times, is probably not as good as the draft after you’ve received some feedback. If you send this early draft to a highly visible journal, your odds of getting it accepted are not so good. You might send it to a specialty journal or a lower-tier journal, and you might have a better chance. The problem is a sort of tipping point. I’ve made every mistake you can possibly make in this regard. If you send it to a less visible journal and it gets accepted, you feel, Oh, I had a chance. But if you send it to the top one and it gets rejected, you say, That paper wasn’t really ready for the top; I should have waited. This is a difficult dilemma, but there is a resolution to it: make more use of your peer-review network of your colleagues and your friends. You do not want to send other than your very best effort out for review."

The entire web cast of the Art of Publishing Workshop, sponsored by the Department of Economics, is available online.

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