Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

It’s nothing as it seems

with 2 comments

I recently peer-reviewed a paper for a competition law journal.

The paper was crap: a recycled and biased “expert” opinion, poorly translated from a non-English language to English, with a significant amount of considerations that were entirely off-topic (technical discussion of the regulatory framework for IPRs).  My assessment was negative, bad, tough.  I made loads of comments, supposing that the editors would forward them to the author, who in turn would try to implement and/or contest them. In brief, I expected to see a new version of the paper, or at least receive some explanation to the effect that my comments were not relevant, etc.  My experience is that this is how it works with professional journals.

Anyway, I was quite surprised to learn today, by myself, that the paper had been published. I have not yet seen it but I doubt that it differs much from the initial version. So I am pissed off: I spent a considerable time on this peer-review, and this was probably useless.

More importantly: European legal journals like to say that they now  implement peer-review procedures, but I believe that the practical implementation of such procedures remains far from perfect, and that politics still play a huge role in the publication process. It’s nothing as it seems (as Pearl Jam said in a great song).

(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

4 June 2010 at 11:09 am

2 Responses

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  1. Then next time you might consider trebling the price you charge for such peer-reviews. At least you would have extracted some monopoly rent. If such journals are really stupid, the more you charge the more they will value your comments. The whole thing probably will bother you less…


    4 June 2010 at 1:33 pm

  2. I sympathise greatly with Nicolas’s remarks. I do so for at least three reasons:
    1. Although peer-review is becoming a must-have also for law journals, the reports are often neglected and – in any event – blindness, be it single or double, is often a fiction;
    2. At a time in which even law journal capitulate to refereeing, politics still reign supreme;
    3. Finally, unlike what maliciously stated by the previous commentator, peer-review is by definition a non-remunerated activity. Yes, there you’re right, sometimes that’s what triggers the frustration!

    A serious debate is ranging over the virtues and inherent limits of peer-review in scientific journals. It is a debate worth having and in which also legal scholars should have a say. Dozens of international conferences are held every year on the practice, misfits and techniques of peer-review.

    Alberto Alemanno

    4 June 2010 at 3:13 pm

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