MIT economist Glen Ellison writes:
I started this paper by pointing out two trends: economists in several highly-regarded departments are publishing fewer papers in the top field journals; and Harvard’s economics department is also publishing fewer papers in the top general interest journals.
Several pieces of evidence bolster the view that one factor contributing to these trends is that the role of journals in disseminating research has been reduced. One is that the citation benefit to publishing in a top general-interest journal now appears to be fairly small for top-department authors. Another is that Harvard authors appear to be quite successful in garnering citations to papers that are not published in top journals. The fact that the publication declines appear to be a top-department phenomenon (as opposed to a prolific-author phenomenon) suggests that a top-department affiliation may be an important determinant of an author’s ability to sidestep the traditional journal system. [Is peer review in decline? pdf]
Ellison argues that journals have two roles: dissemination and quality certification. The dissemination role of the journal is generally less important in our current network environment. And, for the authors discussed here, reputation and departmental affiliation may reduce the incentive to seek the quality certification.
Does this suggest anything in relation to institutional repository discussions?
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