Editorial: Cosmetic Surgery in the Academic Review Process

15 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2014

See all articles by David A. Hirshleifer

David A. Hirshleifer

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business; NBER

Date Written: September 19, 2014

Abstract

Has the academic review process become excessive? I describe a model in which reviewers who seek reputations with editors for high skill recommend the repair of mere blemishes as well as significant flaws. Reviewer signal-jamming is profitable if editors have trouble distinguishing the two, leading in equilibrium to insistence upon cosmetic surgery. Indeed, if there is a chance that blemishes are unremovable, in equilibrium editor and reviewer demands sometimes cause good papers to remain unpublished. This implies a socially valuable role for active editing. Signal-jamming incentives may especially suppress innovative papers, as well as external verification by means of follow-up papers. This perspective strongly suggests that the increased burden of the review process is undesirable. I offer tentative thoughts about what to do about it.

Keywords: cosmetic surgery, review process, publication process, publication delay, academic journals, sociology of science, signal-jamming, reputation, information asymmetry

JEL Classification: A14, G00, L86, D82

Suggested Citation

Hirshleifer, David A., Editorial: Cosmetic Surgery in the Academic Review Process (September 19, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2536064

David A. Hirshleifer (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business ( email )

Irvine, CA California 92697-3125
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.uci.edu/dhirshle/

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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