Monday, February 27, 2012

Ctrl-C Ctrl-V papers

The is a cottage industry that produces papers about rankings in the profession, rankings about journal, departments, or people in various subfields. These papers are mostly unimaginative and uninteresting, yet they find refuge in obscure field journals in the hope that this will attract a few readers and especially mentions in the honored departments. Why mention this literature? Once you have gathered the data for such a study, it is easy to slice the dataset up to produce rankings for a myriad of subfields. Thus a multiplication of papers. We could just ignore those papers, but I cannot. Indeed, there seems to be a tendency for the authors of these studies to just copy-and-paste from one paper to the author. I reported earlier about a case (who also was writing about professional rankings), and here is another one.

The duplicating fellows are George Halkos and Nickolaos Tzeremes. This tandem is incredibly productive, producing new papers by the shovel. And they got the work flow optimized. Produce a study and then replicate it on a slightly different topic. Do not bother with changing the text, simply substitute the numbers, put a paragraphs here and there for the specifics of the particular slice of the data, and done. Oh, and do not forget to change fonts and margins so that the copy job is not too obvious. Take as an example their line of work on ranking journals. First, there is a paper on journals in Economics, then mainstream journals in Economics, then Accounting, Banking and Finance, then agricultural, environmental and natural resource Economics, then socio-demographic journals. We are waiting with a bated breath for future developments.


Anonymous said...

Another fine job from Greece.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments raised by the anonymous regarding our working papers uploaded on MPRA, I can see that we have raised some issues!!! Our main idea and the original paper presentation are indeed replicated in different cases since they rank different journals on different economic disciplines. However, the anonymous who made the critique didn’t mention that we have different analysis (results, data) on each paper. Since they are working/ unpublished papers I can not see any problem with that. As such our intention was for the discussion papers to be read independently by different readers in different economic areas. There are several other papers ranking economic journals but the main drawback is that they compare mainstream with heterodox economic journals on a single study. For the first time there is such an attempt trying to rank journals in different economic disciplines separately. If some colleagues (or others) don’t like them that is their problem. However, it would be nice for those that make a general critique/or an anonymous electronic gossip, to comment on the results obtained, their validity and the methodology used rather than to generalise their na├»ve critique and associate it with the bad economic condition which our country is at the moment.
Any way thank you for the message(s), I would like to stay out of any non academic-anonymous communication.

PS: Since our work is so easy to replicate (Ctrl-C Ctrl-V papers) I’m looking forward for the ones that made the critique to replicate it themselves. By the way this requires not only the knowledge of copy+ paste but they need to spend several weeks on collecting bibliographic data of 429 economic journals, in order to compute the different inputs and outputs and knowledge of advanced mathematical methods. Then they can have their ‘six copy and paste’ papers!!!

Friendly regards from Greece,

Anonymous said...

So, your excuse is that it took several weeks to assemble the data? Wow.

And that no one else has computed field specific rankings? You should probably read up on the literature in your own field before stating that.

Honestly, this could all have fit within a single paper.

Anonymous said...

"As such our intention was for the discussion papers to be read independently by different readers in different economic areas. "

Oh no, another Bruno Frey disciple.

Kansan said...

Everyone, including the authors, is better off with one good paper than a myriad of mediocre papers.

mOOm said...

This is the least publishable unit strategy, which can make sense, depending on incentives etc, but there is no ethical problem with it at all IMO, unlike the Frey etc. cases where almost the same article was published in more than one journal. There there is a genuine issue of self-plagiarism. Still, that is relatively a minor issue compared to real plagiarism...

Anonymous said...

feel free to contact:

SteveR said...

To be honest, I’m not sure what the problem with this case is. It’s not like they’re ripping off journals by publishing the same work several times: these are distinct – if rather narrow and unexciting - papers.

Is your frustration that the authors’ CVs are going to be rather fuller than you would expect given the amount of actual work their publications have required on average? This may be galling and the phenomenon may make comparison of job-market candidates using publication lists more difficult, but it’s not like the *purpose* of the journals is to provide a metric of authors’ abilities. If a journal thinks a paper contains enough to warrant publication, then fair play to the author.

Perhaps academia would be better with fewer but fuller papers (and therefore fewer journals) than with more but thinner papers. But there are benefits to specialisation. This instance seems to be as much a case of specialisation as it does publication-maximisation.