This is a letter I wrote to the association presidents and editors of the main financial economics associations:


Over the years, I have made my own views about replication in science and finance well known. I know that I am not the only one with this view, and I know that it is not universally shared.

In May 2014, I wrote an email to the editors of the main journals, which I am reproducing here. It would be inappropriate for me to post their responses—it would violate appropriate confidentiality. I am posting only my own email and I am doing so at the same time, before they have had a chance to reply. I feel this is an important issue in finance.

gentlemen:

apparently, this gentleman had won the major European academic prizes in social psychology, which is not far off from our own domain:

   http://newsduet.net/fresh-misconduct-charges-hit-dutch-social-psychology/ 

how would we ever learn if papers are fabricated--or simply erroneous--if we have no policy on data and/or program sharing? it is a perverse protection against scandals that we expect our own, and esp the sloppy and fabricators, not to share. we could advertise. we offer the right academic home to those concerned that they may be caught for misconduct, or sloppy research, or simple mistakes, in their future research careers. Potential career switchers are safer with us than they are in economics, where the AER demands some effort at facilitating replication.

I think that we, as the senior academic and intellectual leaders of our profession, are collectively negligent in our duty to preserve the academic integrity of our profession. just today, some of my colleagues opined that lying by sales people is ok, because no one should be naive enough to expect honesty. I can just see how many trained economists will view and defend misconduct as appropriate and fair, too, given the incentives that we, as a profession, have set up. they would say that our journals obviously either did not care, or that they did not wish to incur the cost required, to ensure even minimum academic integrity standards. right now, only the honest can get punished; only their data can be scrutinized. and they would be correct on arguing that our incentives by-and-large reward dishonesty.

regards,

/iaw

I have exhausted my influence on this matter. If you are a publishing finance professor and you have the view that this is an issue of scientific integrity, then you owe it to our profession as a whole to let your opinion be known. Let the journal editors know, but do so politely. (They are struggling with this issue, too.) There are issues where you cannot cop out, where you must take a stand, even if it were to hurt your career. I am pretty sure, however, that this is an issue where a polite email will not hurt one's career. None of our journals and editors would react in a vindictive manner. On the contrary—they are themselves struggling with finding out what we, as a profession, would want them to do.