This is quite a finding; I’m still wondering how a paper that basically says: “academics are sluts” got accepted in a peer reviewed journal. Kudos to the editor.
Frey, B. S. (2002) Publishing as prostitution? – Choosing between one’s own ideas and academic success. Public choice, 116: 205-223
Here’s an excerpt:
The author knows that, normally, he would be lucky if, after something like a year or so, he gets an invitation to resubmit the paper according to the demands exactly spelled out by the two to three referees and the editor(s). For most scholars, this is a proposal that cannot be refused, because their survival in academia crucially depends on publications in refereed professional journals. They are well aware of the fact that they only have a chance to get the paper accepted if they slavishly follow the demands formulated. The system of journal editing existing in our field at the present time virtually forces academics to become prostitutes: they sell themselves for money (and a good living). Unlike prostitutes who sell their bodies for money (Edlund and Korn, 2002), academics sell their soul to conform to the will of others, the referees and editors, in order to gain one advantage, namely publication. Most persons
refusing to prostitute themselves and to follow the demands of the system are not academics: they cannot enter, or have to leave, academia because they fail to publish. Their integrity survives, but the persons disappear as academics.
Surprising as the title might be, the paper actually proposes yet another solution to the peer-review conundrum. It’s a system that pretty much everybody agrees is broken but nobody has been able to fix.
The solution: remove the veto powers from the reviewers. Use the editor’s feeling as the only criterion. Why? Because the editor is the only one who knows how the paper fares relative to other submissions to the journal, whereas the reviewers have to use “according to some mystical absolute standards rather than be able to select the relatively best paper from those submitted.”
PS: This paper has the longest acknowledgments list I’ve ever seen. It must have been hell to get it published