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Of home runs and grand slams

I’ve occasionally mocked academic economists for their discussions of research papers as “singles” or “home runs” (a world in which, counter to the findings of sabermetrics, one of the latter is worth more than four of the former). The best thing, of course, is a “grand slam,” a term that I always found particularly silly as it depends not just on the quality of the hit but also on external considerations (“men on base”). But then I was thinking about this again, and I decided the analogy isn’t so bad: For a research paper to be really influential and important, it has to come at the right time, and the field has to be ready for it. That’s what turns a home run into a grand slam. So in this case the reasoning works pretty well.

2 Comments

  1. K? O'Rourke says:

    CS Peirce in his later career warned others not to develope ideas too fully before publishing them – you may get to far ahead of others and no one will understand you – rather publish frequently and don't leave steps out…

    Hmm sounds a bit like blogging might be a good adjunct to publishing – if you want others to understand you.

    K?

  2. MikeMcK says:

    K?, would the practice of blogging on ideas before publishing them be considered making a sacrifice fly, since you are moving the idea into position to be an RBI?