Skip to content

Now that’s what I call a lag!

I received the following email the other day:

Dear Dr. Gelman,

I am emailing to let you know that your accepted article for Economic Inquiry will be published in print in the forthcoming April 2012 Issue. You will be receiving hard copies of the journal from Wiley-Blackwell for distribution to yourself and the Co Authors.

Hmmm . . . Economic Inquiry . . . didn’t I publish something there once? A quick check turned up this paper from 2010.

I wonder what this new paper is. Did someone submit something with my name on it? I remember my surprise when, many years ago, I received a postcard asking for a reprint of my article in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. I was sure they were looking for the wrong Andrew Gelman, but, no, it turned out that my coauthors had submitted that article all on their own.

In this case, though, there was no new article. Economic Inquiry was indeed talking about my 2010 paper, which appeared online two years ago but is coming out in print only this month.

P.S. To add insult to injury: I wrote this post in March but it’s not appearing until May because I have a long lead time for non-topical entries on this blog.


  1. John says:

    I’ve also discovered my name on a paper I knew nothing about. I wonder how common that is?

  2. Marko says:

    This seems to be a widespread phenomenon. I wrote this comment in August 2009 and it’s only appearing just this minute.

    Laggy , indeed.

  3. Dave Giles says:

    Andrew – regrettably, that sort of lag time is pretty much the norm with economics journals. Grrrrr!

  4. Marcell says:

    I think this lag strengthen the importance of posting preprints (in arXiv, your webpage, or your facebook) in order to share the results faster.

    I have heard some anecdotes about some rapidly-changing areas where, by the time the paper is published, the results are already obsolete.

  5. Who cares when an article comes out in print? Or even if there is a print version?

    I don’t, but those weren’t meant to be rhetorical questions. I’m curious as to whether researchers in some fields still subscribe to print journals or go to physical libraries to read journals. I don’t even know if there are print versions of the two journals I follow most closely, JMLR and Computational Linguistics. Or any of the stats journals I get papers from, for that matter.

    The last time I looked inside a print journal was around a year ago. Andrew had stacked reams of them up in the postdoc office but he wanted to move his four filing cabinets into their place (full of interesting historical artifacts like overhead slides, paper notes, and photocopied articles). We couldn’t find anyone who wanted the print journals, so we just put them all out for recycling.