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Peer review does not work: A paper that helps solve the economic crisis gets quickly rejected 

Thomas Colignatus, April 18 2013

I submitted Money as gold versus money as water to the Economic Journal of the RES (of which I am a member for various years). 

An editor quickly read it, and rejected it. Here is the rejection text

My problems with this procedure and rejection text:

(1) The article has the books DRGTPE and CSBH as its backbone. I cannot believe that the editor quickly read and understood these books. If he did not understand something, then he could have asked me questions for enlightenment. He cannot presume to know all already.

(2) The rejection text states that the article would be "polemical". It isn't that. It uses a literary style while the EJ tends to publish articles with more formula's, perhaps that is what the editor intends to say. But that is a confusion of characteristics. If he really thinks that something comes across as "polemical" then he ought to identify what sentence is involved and why perhaps a different phrasing could solve the misunderstanding.

(3) It states "without the kind of intellectual depth and analysis that is required for publication in a top academic journal such as the Economic Journal." But, is has precisely that depth and analysis. Perhaps there is again a confusion about the use of formula's ?

Hence, I wrote the editor the following text, just to be sure about what was happening:

April 17 2013
Dear professor Ravn,
Dear Morten,

Thank you for your quick reply indeed. My key question is: Did you indeed read the paper for 100% ? You say that you read it, but, I am a bit afraid that you may have been misled by its literary style, and that you looked for formulas to measure its "intellectual depth and analysis", instead of considering the argument. 

The paper gives key contributions to the solution of the European economic crisis (amendment to the theory of the optimal currency area, Economic Supreme Courts, monetary instrument, potentially acceptable rules for bail-outs and debt restructuring). The paper certainly is not polemic, as you write. The paper very much belongs to the tradition of Keynes, and it is my conviction that the EJ is its proper place.

As the paper also refers to my books DRGTPE and CSBH as the backbone, I wonder whether you have considered that too: and only commercially available I am hard pressed to believe that you read those too, so fast. 

If you want to solve the economic crisis, you really need this analysis. So I would urge that the paper gets a proper peer review and not just a quick reading by you as the editor.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus

To which the reply came that the editor didn't consider it a useful idea to check with colleagues:

April 17 2013
Dear Thomas:

I did read the paper and have rejected it. As I said in my report, we reject 95% of all submissions and therefore have to reject many papers even if they have some merit. 

You should send it to another outlet.


Conclusion: Peer review does not work: A paper that helps solve the economic crisis gets quickly rejected