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Publishing, ranking, and the future of heterodox economics

Frederic S. Lee (Department of Economics, University of Missouri‐Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA)
Wolfram Elsner (Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 26 September 2008




The purpose of the “Introduction” is to provide the motivation and context for the articles of this special issue and an overview and summary of the contributions that follow.


The paper provides an overview and summary of the contributions in the special issue.


It is argued that heterodoxies had gained a considerable and growing influence on research orientations, methodologies, and critical reflections, also on the mainstream publishing practices, even in the mainstream. This has been widely acknowledged as “hip heterodoxy” recently. Thus, many heterodox economists have developed optimistic expectations for the future of the profession. However, that influence has left the main mechanisms of reproduction of the mainstream untouched. These are mass teaching, public advising, journal policies, and faculty recruitment. Above that, the last decade has seen something like a “counterattack” to safeguard these mainstream reproduction mechanisms. The means used for this seem to be journal (and publisher) rankings based on purely quantitative citation measures and “impact factors”. These have an obvious cumulative “economies‐of‐scale” effect which triggers a tendency towards reinforcement and collective monopolization of the dominating orientation. Department rankings and individual faculty evaluations are then based on journals rankings. As a result, there are observable tendencies towards the cleansing of economics departments in a number of countries.


The paper also discusses potential reasons and methods for alternative approaches to measure citation interrelations, networks, cooperation, and rankings among heterodoxies (journals and departments), and for alternatives of publishing and the future of heterodoxies in general. Finally, it draws the picture of the present situation and the foreseeable future of heterodoxies as it emerges from the 11 contributions of the special issue.



Lee, F.S. and Elsner, W. (2008), "Publishing, ranking, and the future of heterodox economics", On the Horizon, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 176-184.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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