+2 votes
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (440 points)
commented ago by (330 points)
I certainly hope not. Would AER (or any other journal) reject a groundbreaking, but short, paper (e.g. Samuelson [1954], which is only 2.5 pages) simply because of its length? If so, that would be unfortunate and extremely misguided. Brevity should not be penalized.

1 Answer

+4 votes
answered ago by (5.8k points)
Yes, I believe so.  My understanding of the plan as of last year, when I was in the loop, is that the shorter papers section of the AER was to go away, the Papers and Proceedings became AEA P&P instead of AER P&P, and the hope is that AER:I will attract the best short papers.
commented ago by (440 points)
I very much hope the AER:I initiative succeeds in creating a market for shorter papers. One problem that it faces is that if rejected by AER:I there is no obvious alternative. Most journals have dropped short papers and Economics Letters is third the length.
commented ago by (530 points)
My department does not count AER:I towards tenure. Hopefully this will change in the future. If the AER:I impact factor ends up being as high as other top-5 journals then I imagine this will happen. Unfortunately, for now, the loss of the AER short papers section means that there is no journal that counts towards tenure that accepts shorter papers.
commented ago by (5.8k points)
Wait, that doesn't sound quite right. The AER has dropped its section for shorter papers, but that doesn't mean it has adopted a policy of not publishing short papers.

Part of the problem  with the shorter papers section was that there was never really a separate policy for short papers. Years ago, I had a paper come out in the short papers section, and someone pointed out to me that it wasn't short, in fact it was the second longest paper in the issue (or something like that). The editor at the time was Orley Ashenfelter, and so I emailed him and asked what had prompted him to accept it only as a short paper (since it wasn't in fact so short). His answer was something like "I just didn't think it was a very good paper..."
commented ago by (440 points)
But if you have a paper that fits the format of AER:I and it is sent to AER  it will surely be desk reject with advice to send  to AER:I. If not, I would love to hear from an AER editor.