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Misplaced Incentives.

March 31, 2013

I have to attribute finding this paper and discussion to Jason Collins (again), although I follow Andrew Gelmans blog also. The title is “they rather be rigorous than right”, and it discusses a paper by Ashraf and Galor on the role of genetic diversity in prosperity. You want to go in more depth about the actual research by A & G, start diving down the rabbit-hole here, and here (ok, I helped a bit with rabbithole directions).

The point of the paper, and why I want to collect it here, is towards the end of it. It is about the incentives in academic publishing, and how that can distort the science being published. (Oh, the needle, it skips back to beginning of that same groove). You want to publish high impact? It is not enough to explore, pursue trails that are interesting, but perhaps fruitless. No, there are a number of features that you have to satisfy. For this particular journal it seems to prove. For other high impact (closer to where I hang), novelty. Man, it is starting to sound like those annoying selective dance places in LA where you had to look the right way to be cool enough to be picked (shuddering now).

How will things change? Jason Priem’s vision is perhaps one, with dissemination going on line (I liked his use of imagery in the text to0, with cairns, and footprints in the snow, although I wonder if, in the end, things got obscured that way.)




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