Select papers for publication by lot

From Switzerland comes a serious suggestion from a well-respected economist, Bruno Frey (and co-author Osterloh). As they say in their abstract,

The process by which scholarly papers are selected for publication in a journal is faced with serious problems. The referees rarely agree and often are biased. This paper discusses two alternative measures to evaluate scholars. The first alternative suggests input control. The second one proposes that the referees should decide only whether a paper reaches a minimal level of quality. Within the resulting set, each paper should be chosen randomly. This procedure has advantages but also disadvantages. The more weight that is given to input control and random mechanism, the more likely it is that unconventional and innovative articles are published.

To read the full paper and download it for free click on

One Response

  1. The randomization proposal seems problematic: would an author whose paper was rejected be able to play the lottery again by resubmitting the paper (possibly with a slight revision to avoid being detected as a literal duplicate)? In general, what would be the incentive against flooding the system with every idea, however trivial and however poorly written, one has? (This is pretty much how things work now.)

    A publication quota is a more promising idea, I think.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: