Journal article

Honest signaling in academic publishing

Leonid Tiokhin, Karthik Panchanathan, Daniel Lakens, Simine Vazire, Thomas Morgan, Kevin Zollman



Academic journals provide a key quality-control mechanism in science. Yet, information asymmetries and conflicts of interests incentivize scientists to deceive journals about the quality of their research. How can honesty be ensured, despite incentives for deception? Here, we address this question by applying the theory of honest signaling to the publication process. Our models demonstrate that several mechanisms can ensure honest journal submission, including differential benefits, differential costs, and costs to resubmitting rejected papers. Without submission costs, scientists benefit from submitting all papers to high-ranking journals, unless papers can only be submitted a limited numbe..

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Awarded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) VIDI grant

Awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF)

Funding Acknowledgements

LT and DL were supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) VIDI grant 452-17-01. KZ was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant SES 1254291. The funders had no role in any aspects of this study, the preparation of the manuscript, or the decision to publish.