Weekly links April 26: Submissions fees coming to a journal near you, recursive rankings, business mentoring, stop your workers quitting by letting them complain, and more...


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  • Are submissions fees likely to be coming to more journals? The Royal Economic Society newsletter has the Economic Journal’s editor’s report. As with my post on development journals, it notes that submissions continue to rise and acceptance rates fall (it had 1,770 submissions and an acceptance rate below 5% in 2018). The report notes that Plan S (an initiative for open access publication, whereby a lot of funders, mostly from Europe, require their funded research to be published in open access journals from 2020) is going to be a game-changer. A key thing is that Plan S does not allow publication in hybrid open-access journals (where you can pay to make your article open-access, but other articles in the journal may not be). The result is that the EJ plans to move towards submission fees (which they think may also help manage the number of growing submissions). Given how few development journals are Plan S compliant, I expect we might see similar moves elsewhere.
  • On the BITSS blog, the Declare Design team suggest how you can use their approach to improve pre-analysis plans – by actually coding up the analysis you plan to do, and simulating the data via Monte Carlos so that power calculations and assumptions about heterogeneity are transparent. They give examples of how to do this in Stata, R, Python and even (gasp) Excel.
  • From Academic Sequitur, a new way of ranking journals outside the top 5 – by the proportion of authors who have a top 5 publication – e.g. 52% of articles published in the AEJ Applied since 2018 were by authors who had published at least once in a top 5 journal since 2000 versus 18% of articles published in the JDE and 75% in the JEL. Interesting idea in terms of capturing which other journals authors of top 5s are publishing in, but of course people will differ in how they interpret the number (is it how clubby the journal is, or how much it indicates a place that top authors also want to publish their work?). I would be interested in a different statistic, which is the total number of papers published in a journal by people with a top-5 paper. This would get at whether these journals are attracting papers from top authors, without penalizing them for also taking other papers.
  • On the IGL blog – Eszter Czibor on what is the evidence for business mentoring? She comes down more strongly in favor of mentoring working than my read of the evidence – in part because she also includes some evidence from developed countries that I didn’t know, and in part because she doesn’t cover some developing country evidence where the effects fade out quickly or don’t have effects (including my Kenya work with Susana Puerto, and see references therein).
  • At the CGD blog, Dave Evans discusses how to interpret survey responses that say the poor would prefer public services over cash transfers.
  • On the HBR blog, Adhvaryu, Molina and Nyshadham summarize one of their experiments in a large garment factory that shows how giving workers voice (a chance to complain) helped to reduce quit rates.
  • Job opening: IPA is recruiting a technical director for poverty measurement


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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