Epistemic Diversity and Editor Decisions: A Statistical Matthew Effect

Philosophers' Imprint 19 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper offers a new angle on the common idea that the process of science does not support epistemic diversity. Under minimal assumptions on the nature of journal editing, we prove that editorial procedures, even when impartial in themselves, disadvantage less prominent research programs. This purely statistical bias in article selection further skews existing differences in the success rate and hence attractiveness of research programs, and exacerbates the reputation difference between the programs. After a discussion of the modeling assumptions, the paper ends with a number of recommendations that may help promote scientific diversity through editorial decision making.

Author Profiles

Remco Heesen
London School of Economics
Jan-Willem Romeijn
University of Groningen

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