Monday, 24 August 2009

Get a blog!

Greg Mankiw points to a depressing story of a physicist trying to get a comment published on a published article. Long story short: if the editor who published the article you're critiquing gets to decide whether your comment gets published, you're wasting a lot of your time even trying.

First thing I wondered, though, was why Professor Trebino didn't just get a blog instead. Stan Liebowitz couldn't get his comment on Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf published in the JPE; instead, he tore it to shreds in an SSRN working paper and then publicized the paper on his website. Almost two thousand people have downloaded his critique of Oberholzer-Gee and Strumpf despite it not being out in a refereed journal. He also posted a withering critique of the editorial process at the JPE.

Professor Trebino could instead have released his comment into one of the many working paper series that are out there, blogged on it, and informed any other physics bloggers out there (yes, there are some; I read Motl!) who follow the issue about his work in the area.

The web lets researchers route around inefficiencies in the journal publishing process. Why not use it?


  1. I think the Trebino piece was just a scary story made up by faculty to keep grad students up at night.

  2. Every time I see the headline it makes me think of the instant kiwi ad with Doug getting a perm... Was that a deliberate reference??

  3. @Philip: I love those ads... Not deliberate, or at least not consciously so. After all, the advice Doug gets isn't typically very good and I do think Trebino ought to have gotten a blog. Hmm.

    @bk: I'd pay $0.80 for a contract paying $1 if story proves true.