Friday, 13 September 2013

Original ideas, selling your soul and intellectual prostitution.

This is the abstract from a paper entitled “Publishing as prostitution? – Choosing between one’s own ideas and academic success” by Bruno Frey.
"Survival in academia depends on publications in refereed journals. Authors only get their papers accepted if they intellectually prostitute themselves by slavishly following the demands made by anonymous referees who have no property rights to the journals they advise. Intellectual prostitution is neither beneficial to suppliers nor consumers. But it is avoidable. The editor (with property rights to the journal) should make the basic decision of whether a paper is worth publishing or not. The referees should only offer suggestions for improvement. The author may disregard this advice. This reduces intellectual prostitution and produces more original publications." 
And the first sentence reads:
“When writing this paper, I never expected that it would be published in a (refereed) economics journal because it would not be able to pass the refereeing process…..”
I’m not surprised you didn’t expect it to be published, mate. But good on yer, anyway.
And now a quote from another paper: “How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time.” By Hal R. Varian.
"Most graduate students are convinced that the way you get ideas is to read journal articles. But in my experience journals really aren't a very good source of original ideas……   My suggestion is rather different: I think that you should look for your ideas outside  the academic journals in newspapers, in magazines, in conversations, and in TV and  radio programs. When you read the newspaper, look for the articles about economics, and then look at the ones that aren't about economics, because lots of the time they end up being about economics too.”     

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