Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Bruno Frey, one of the better known economists in the German speaking world, has apparently published quite similar papers in different journals on multiple occasions, all without cross-citation.

This is bad behavior, though I think there are some nuances that the blog post at the link does not touch on. I would argue, for example, that if one uses the same data set in multiple papers, there is no harm in using the same data description, and without any cross-citations. I think the harm comes when it is the results that are being recycled, rather than just boilerplate about data or treatments or estimators or whatever. I can also imagine cases where the world is a better place if similar papers appear in, say, an economics journal and a statistics journal, so long as there is cross-citation and the papers are appropriately targeted to their respective audiences. Getting people to read across disciplinary lines is tough, and a bit of documented repetition (and, in the short run, a few extra dead trees) may be worth it to get them to do so.

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