Paper Exposing Manipulation of Electricity Prices Stymied by Editor with Private Equity Ties

Yves here. I’ve read the detailed traffic between the author Eric L. Prentis and the publication in question, Energy Economics, and have also run them and his paper by academics who have or are supervising significant research and publication efforts. They gave the Prentis paper high marks and agreed that the actions of Energy Economics and its parent Elsevier were troubling, given that the editor who failed to move the routine review process forward has strong ties to the private equity industry. As one put it, “On its face, this conduct raises very grave questions.”

The article eventually appeared in a well-regarded foreign academic publication: “Evidence on U.S. Electricity Prices: Regulated Utility vs. Restructured States,” International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, (2015). And why might private equity firms not like the Prentis paper to find a US audience? It demonstrates that the economic theory of “free market” competition naturally delivering lower electricity prices in restructured electric utility states is incorrect. Private equity firms make money on electric utility restructurings and thus have an interest in keeping unfavorable information our of the public domain. Along with food, electricity is an essential purchase for American consumers and higher prices hit their budgets.

By Eric L. Prentis

How Research Journal Publishing is Being Subverted to Support Ideology — Rather Than the Truth

The allies of Wall Street’s private equity firms appear to use obstruction and delaying tactics when research threatens to expose how they prey on citizens and communities.

I have published previously in academic journals and am familiar with their quality standards and usual practices. The experience I had with Energy Economics, a top-tier publication in that niche, over a paper that was eventually published in another well-regarded, but non-US publication, was such an extreme departure from the norms of academic publishing as to strongly suggest that the reason for inexplicable delays and the eventual refusal to review my paper, is due to the fact that the paper effectively called out private equity price manipulation in electricity markets. As I will demonstrate, my paper was peculiarly re-assigned to an editor with strong ties to the private equity industry who then failed to move it forward in the editorial process, in violation of the policies of the publisher, Elsevier.

On March 20, 2014, I submitted an academic paper for review to Energy Economics — considered the leading economics research journal in the energy field — whose policy is to review all papers for publication, within four months. I complied with the main contact, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Richard S. J. Tol’s request to include a footnote link to the government data used, so the research could be replicated by others.

My paper was approved promptly for review on March 22, 2014 — manuscript number ENEECO-D-14-00204 — and sent to Dr. John P. Weyant, another Energy Economics Editor-in-Chief, to conduct the review. Weyant is Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Director of the Energy Modeling Forum, Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy, and Deputy Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency at Stanford University. The reassignment struck me as odd at the time.

On June 2, 2014, I emailed Dr. Tol to ask for a review status, and received no reply. On August 7, 2014, two weeks after Elsevier’s official review period was over and a decision was therefore overdue, I emailed him again to say, “I am worried about you. Email after email sent to you goes unanswered. If I do not hear from you, I will start emailing other Energy Economics‘ Editors-in-Chief, to see if you are in good health.” His grudging response: “I’m fine, there’s no news on your paper.” I emailed him back saying, “I am happy to hear that you are well.” Notice, however, “no news” is not the sort of response I should have received at this juncture. I should have been given a thumbs up or down, or further detail on status.

On September 15, 2014, more than a month after the minimal “no news” e-mail, I sent the following message to Dr. Tol:

Since I have not heard from you, I assume the following:

1) After almost six months—Dr. John P. Weyant has yet to submit a review of my paper.
2) A strategy is lacking to encourage the review Editor-in-Chief to live up to his commitment and do his duty.

Consequently, in an effort to help you, I will send the following email to the two other Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief—Dr. B. W. Ang and Dr. U. Soytas:

I submitted an important and timely paper to Energy Economics—almost 6 months ago—and to my knowledge a review of my paper is not yet submitted.

Do you have any suggestions that I could pass on to Dr. Richard S. J. Tol, to help encourage Dr. John P. Weyant, who is handling the review, to live up to his commitment and do his duty? Please respond to this email.

I received no answer on my email request from any Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief.

Three weeks later, on October 6, 2014, I sent this email to Drs. Tol, Ang and Soytas:

I am very concerned about your unresponsiveness on my previous emails about not fulfilling Energy Economics’ basic duty to review my paper. IT HAS BEEN OVER 6 MONTHS.

That elicited a curt comeback from Dr. Tol: “Eric: just be patient.”

After a further three weeks, on November 1, 2014, I wrote Dr. Tol:

PLEASE HELP ME, take action, assign my paper to another reviewer, I beg of you.

No response.

And on November 6, 2014:

Your integrity is important. Journal Editors-in-Chief hold an honored position, ethically required to treat authors fairly.

The huffy, one word cryptic retort to my final email: “Chill.”

On November 6, 2014, the editors finally responded:

The author lacks confidence in the editorial team of Energy Economics and is thus best advised to take the paper elsewhere.

The notion that my paper had been rejected merely as a result of well-spaced out requests for status updates, seemed both unreasonable and implausible, particularly given how great the delays were and the absence of responses to inquiries. Moreover, there was no evidence the review process had ever been started despite it being assigned for review, which was in clear violation of Energy Economics‘ own policies.

I formally requested Elsevier management investigate the shabby treatment I received from Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chiefs.

On November 19, 2014, Ms. Donna de Weerd-Wilson, Executive Publisher at Elsevier — who, rather than correcting procedure, so this sort of problem does not happen again — argued:

The reason your paper is never reviewed is because the Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief tried their best, for over seven months, to find suitable reviewers, but none could be found.

This response is simply not credible. International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy had no apparent difficultly in finding reviewers for the very same paper. I’ve submitted papers over the years to over 50 journals and no journal previously has ever found it hard to find reviewers. In addition, other academic economists have confirmed that this claim simply does not hold water.

The far more plausible explanation is that Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief deliberately sat on my paper, for over seven months, because of conflict of interest. The Energy Economics Editor-in-Chief in charge of reviewing my paper, Dr. John P. Weyant, is a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director at Stanford University’s Precourt Institute. Its advisory board has a heavy representation of partners from private equity firms and hedge funds, such as Sequoia, Second Avenue Partners, Energy Capital Partners, Mohr Davidow, Triangle Peak, and Farallon. These men are almost certainly substantial donors to the Precourt Institute. They may also raise money from colleagues in the private equity and hedge fund industries. My paper demonstrates that private equity profits from the restructuring of electric utilities at the expense of consumers, which is potent evidence for citizens to use before state regultors to argue against approving more private equity purchases of electricity companies.

Find out what Wall Street’s private equity firms and Elsevier’s Energy Economics do not what you to know about private equity firm’s jacking-up electricity prices. Please read the following excerpt from my paper, “Evidence on U.S. Electricity Prices: Regulated Utility vs. Restructured States,” International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, (2015).

The vertically-integrated government-regulated natural monopoly electric utility model worked well in the U.S.—for nearly 100 years. However, some governors and state legislatures wish to reduce their states’ electricity prices and are advised that electricity prices would naturally fall if “free market” competitive marketplaces were established. Consequently, beginning in the late 1990s, a limited number of states restructure their vertically-integrated government-regulated natural monopoly electric utilities—by instituting “free market” competition in the electricity generation and retail sales’ sectors—while maintaining the middle-two sectors of transmission and distribution as a government-regulated natural monopoly.

The economic theory of “free market” competition naturally achieving lower electricity prices in restructured electric utility states is empirically tested in restructured states, pre-and-post restructuring, relative to U.S. electricity prices.

Of the 11 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) that have effectively restructured their electricity markets and allow “free market” competition, electricity prices have gone up over four times faster, after restructuring than before restructuring, relative to U.S. electricity prices. Delaware, Maine, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and the D.C. have extremely significant electricity price increases and are extremely less efficient, after their electric utilities restructure.

Massachusetts and Texas have very significant electricity price increases and are very less efficient, after their electric utilities restructure. Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey have no significant relative price increases, pre-and-post restructuring; however, these four states retain substantial price-suppression regulation, through re-regulation of their electricity marketplaces. No effectively restructured electric utility state is statistically more efficient.

The results presented do not support the economic theory that “free market” competitive marketplaces naturally achieve lower prices, in the electric power industry. Instead, electric company operating efficiencies are extremely and very significantly reduced in many restructured states, making society poorer. “Free market” economic theory is not being appropriately applied to electric utility restructuring. What is important is developing and implementing an appropriate economic policy that realistically assesses the unique organizational and technical limitations in the vertically-integrated government-regulated natural monopoly electric power industry.

Whether Dr. Wyant and his colleagues at Energy Economics hoped to deter me from finding another publisher for my paper through dismissive treatment or merely hold me up is moot. Delaying the truth suppresses the truth. It appears that Energy Economics was not willing to make a serious go at reviewing my paper because it conflicted with “free market” ideology and Wall Street’s private equity firms using energy “restructurings” to extract money paid for electricity. Leading research journals should not tolerate the appearance of apparent coercion. Funding restrictions for Editors-in-Chief should be introduced.

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    1. Pepsi

      The difference is that there are a lot of medical journals, even if people only want to be in a few of them. This is more ‘chilling’ in a niche field.

      1. McMike

        There’s a lot of newspapers too. Hasn’t seemed to translate to diversity and aggressiveness in reporting though.

        1. Pepsi

          The problems in medical publishing are in the studies themselves, rather than gatekeeping by publishers.

    2. Ernesto Lyon

      Medical publishing is rife with conflicts of interest. For one, pharma buys reprints of articles with favorable results to distribute to doctors. These reprints cost $20+ each, and are an important income stream for journals. It biases journals to select favorable outcomes against those that show medicines or procedures to be dangerous or ineffective. See Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Pharma. “

    3. Nathanael

      Been happening in medical journals for decades. Don’t trust anything which is drug-company-funded.

      Luckily there are a hell of a lot of medical journals, and the most famous ones still seem to have good reputations.

  1. diptherio

    Well, in defense of Energy Economics, you did violate a basic tenet of academic economics: you reasoned from evidence instead of from theory. Kidding….kinda…

    Way back in 1997 I made my first ever public comment to the Public Service Commission here in Montana, explaining to the stu*pid #$@ks…er, Commissioners… the concept of natural monopoly and telling them that the mainstream econ solution was state sanctioned and regulated monopoly, just like we had at the time. I tried in vain, as a fresh-faced 19 yr. old freshman, to hammer home to them that what the de-regulationists were pushing was actually a radical break from orthodox economic thinking. In this particular case, mainstream econ actually provides some pretty reasonable policy advice…funny how that happens once they stop assuming non-existent perfectly competitive market conditions.

    Which makes it all the more eyebrow-raising that EE would refuse to review this paper that essentially says, “What we teach about natural monopolies in Micro 101 is supported by the evidence.” Normally, a theory-supporting result would have no problem getting a hearing.

    As a side note, here’s the rundown on de-reg fall-out here in MT:

    1. diptherio

      A good local source on MT dereg, for anyone interested (sorry, just can’t help it)

      Montana’s energy deregulation debacle about to come to an end

      The announcement that NorthWestern Energy will buy 11 hydroelectric dams on Montana’s major rivers will finally bring one of the worst public policy decisions ever made to an end.

      On the up side, it means that Montana will once again have a vertically integrated, regulated utility to serve its hundreds of thousands of customers. On the down side, it means we’ll be paying twice for the same dams and generators we paid for when the former Montana Power Company owned them.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I had heard years ago of Montana getting screwed by this deregulation and was surprised it wasn’t listed with the other states on the author’s list. From what I understand the old pre-1997 system was a model of good governance which was completely ruined. Glad to hear the saner heads have prevailed for the time being at least.

        Not surprised to find my state on the list – I haven’t been able to figure out what I’m being billed for on my electric bill for years now. Every so often I notice they (and I’m not even sure who the ‘they’ is anymore) try to claim that deregulation has made my bill go down. Even though the total charge is higher. Funny stuff…

      2. upstater

        The looting and demolition of Montana Power by Racicot and Gannon is epic… The company formed “Touch America”, a fiber optics company, paid for by MPC ratepayers. Then they had a “reverse triangular merger” where Touch America became the parent and MPC “the child”. It all collapsed very badly in bankruptcy. The employees were forbidden from cashing in their MPC stock when it tanked; their 401Ks were wiped out. No doubt Gannon escaped with tens of millions.

  2. SPenfield

    An interesting article but I do note in the paper that the author apparently uses data from 1970-2011 to make the argument about relative price rises, but cites restructuring dates between 1998 and 2001. Have I missed something? What happens to the rates of price increases considering the restructured period only, and what is the rational for considering the period from 1970-1998? Are prices still raised in marketized states compared to the average considering 1998-2011 alone? Or did price increases prior to restructuring play a role in the decision to restructure?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I suspect it has to do with when deregulation took place, as in restructuring occurred. I don’t know this particular field, but I can pretty much guarantee (given the slow change in prevailing ideology) that there was not even close to enough deregulation to allow any restructurings to take place prior to the early-mid 1990s. Recall that the price manipulation by Enron happened almost immediately on the heels of deregulation in California, so that gives a rough idea of when this sort of thing became fashionable.

  3. dilbert dogbert

    Know just a wee tad about a principal at Sequoia Capital, the idea that he gives two shits about rigging energy prices is a huge laugh. That is not an area where they are looking to make a huge score. Think What’sapp.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are missing the point. This is about an editor protecting the interests of his perceived meal tickets. There is no suggestion that the editor actually called advisory board members up for their views. In fact, that sort of move would be so crass that it would likely cause trouble at the Institute, and I find it highly unlikely that that sort of thing would have taken place. This sort of soft corruption does not work that way. The broad impact of the respect/fear over block of funders’ power is more like what one scholar called “working towards the Fuhrer

      And I must also point out that Sequoia has been an extreme outlier in enforcing the perceived outsized rights of the private equity industry. It was Sequoia, along with Kleiner Perkins, that refused to let any public pension funds invest in their funds after CalPERS agreed to a settlement with the Mercury News in 2002 in which CalPERS agreed to publish some returns data on the funds in which it invested (I forget which fund, but I think it was Sequoia, made an exception for one public pension fund investor but did not allow it to receive information about its returns. This is an absurd restriction since the record of payments would all sit with the custodian and those are considered to be records under California law, but the arrangement was made as difficult as possible to make a point). Now in fact public pension funds (save ironically CalPERS) weren’t big investors in venture capital so this wasn’t hurting Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins in any real way.

      So that is a long winded way of saying Sequoia has a history of making very aggressive gestures to support industry positions.

  4. Jackrabbit

    The World seems to be cleaving into two camps: Western elites and the muppets and mushrooms that they feed off (kept in the dark and feed sh!t – aka sheeple) and everyone else. It is sad to see this happening not only because it violates our sense of propriety but because the response that it engenders is incredibly wasteful.

    How much does this hubris and greed cost society as a whole? SCO and BRICS are now developing alternatives to the dollar, trade system (like SWIFT), and technology (internet, microprocessors, etc.) Within the US, people are working on and joining alternative social structures that are local and cooperative. It seems that it is only a matter of time before academics develop alternatives as well.

    H O P

    1. hunkerdown

      They kinda have — are you familiar with PLOS One?

      Elsevier is 100% dispensable, same as ALL the other academic publishers, who have no other purpose for existence but to keep their own bloated selves in the way.

      Spit in the face of bourgeois pwestige — publish in an open-access journal.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    The person who drove the adoption of the regulated monopoly electric utility business model, in which investor-owned companies are vertically integrated by function (generation, transmission and distribution) and horizontally segmented by geography, was none other than Samuel Insull. If you remember the name at all, it’s most likely as the alleged poster boy of the industry’s excesses in consolidating into holding companies in the 1920s. He was indicted on a charge the specifics of which I don’t recall but left the country to avoid prosecution. He eventually returned to face the music and was eventually acquitted. Forest McDonald’s biography, Insull: The Rise and Fall of a Billionaire Utility Tycoon, makes a good case that the tarnished reputation is a bad rap. The author argues that Insull was set up by the Morgan interests; they never forgave him for bailing out of his position as one of the first CEOs of General Electric in the 1890s and decamping for Chicago where he built Commonwealth Edison Company without their “help.” The role played by Insull in the early days of electric utilities, as described by McDonald over half a century ago, reminds me of Steve Jobs’ role in the personal computer era. He was not himself a hands-on technology innovator, but he was a genius at understanding the potential of the innovations of others and creating viable businesses there upon. For example, Insull early on perceived that reciprocating steam engines would run up against size limits that would be far below what his industry would need and therefore bet on the then very nascent steam turbine technology, which remains in use today in all thermal steam generation plants.

  6. Sally

    This is a glimpse into the modern Neoliberal wold I’m afraid. Everything is for sale. And I mean everything. Including truth, honesty and integrity. You want an economic theory? No problem, what do you want it it to say? Just give us the cash and we will write whatever you want. You want a scientific paper proving that global warming is false? No problem. We have some tame so called scientists who will get right on it. Don’t like democracy? Would like politicians to answer to you personally? Not a problem, you can buy whatever flavour you like. Don’t like the legal system? Want to buy your own justice? Not a problem. The banks never appear in court and never go to jail. We just stream some modest fines through the regulators. You can even write it off against tax.

    Is nothing sacred? No, but everything is for sale. There is no truth, there is no science, there is no anything. Just what the rich want to buy.

    1. Ulysses

      “Is nothing sacred? No, but everything is for sale. There is no truth, there is no science, there is no anything. Just what the rich want to buy.”

      Your deep frustration with our culture today is honest and heartbreaking. Yet there are still some people of honesty and integrity left in this world. We cannot allow ourselves to despair at the crass materialism and obscene violence that dominates the landscape. We need to be like the dandelion that pushes up between the cracks in the pavement. The vitality of truth and kindness cannot be forever held down!

      They can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but in the end the truth prevails.

      “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

      — George Orwell

  7. upstater

    Deregulation of electricity markets has been one of the greatest hoaxes and rip-offs perpetrated in recent years. The “problem” is that electricity obeys the laws of physics. It must be consumed the instant it is produced; there are very few effective means of storage and it is not fungible like commodities that can be stockpiled. The transmission grid and generators function in predictable manners and the energy traders know this. And they take every advantage of of all these “known knowns”.

    Further, deregulated jurisdictions have established “independent system operators” (ISOs) to allow “nondiscriminatory” access to producers and traders. Essentially the ISO duplicates the planning and operations departments of the transmission owners. These are very expensive operations that employ hundreds of engineers, schedulers, operators, planners and even economists. All this has to be paid for and it is simply added to your bill. The regulated utilities lose control over long-term generation and transmission planning and decisions are made to benefit “the market” and not consumers. It used to be long term resource planning was done by a vertically integrated utility.

    Generation plants are bought and sold by “investors” and sometimes they are shuttered, even though profitable, because even greater profits come from having to import from far away or buy on the spot market.

    Deregulation of utilities has been a disaster for residential consumers. There is a reason public power agencies (TVA, BPA, etc) or regulated states have lower costs — the likes of Goldman, Citi, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are not allowed to do God’s work there.

  8. Adam Levitin

    Peer-review journals, at least in economics, are notoriously slow for doing reviews. Seven months isn’t unheard of. I think the most likely explanation is that the editors were simply busy with their own work and didn’t give a damn about how fast someone else’s paper was reviewed.

    That said, the idea that peer-review is ever “neutral” when it comes to work with normative implications is silly. That’s one reason why legal scholarship, for better or worse, generally eschews peer review. Economics, however, wants to persist in the fiction that it’s a science.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree as a general matter that most econ journals take much longer than seven months for their review process.

      However, the issue here is that that Elsevier was forced to admit that the reviewers hadn’t even taken the first step in moving the paper forward in the review process. And I did sanity check this with economists who have not just been published in economics journals but have also been in editorial/grant approval positions in well funded research operations. They said that this looked to be way out of line. Energy Economics does have as a matter of written policy a four-month turnaround process, and if they don’t live up to that, you’d expect some sort of canned faux polite bureaucratic reply, not what Prentis got.

      1. CSW

        This phenomenon seems to be happening more and more. I just had a co-authored paper rejected from a Springer economics journal, after an eerily similar run-around, because it doesn’t accord with the standard view of union remuneration impacts. And I’m aware of other instances…

  9. Nathanael

    FWIW, NY’s “altered” electricity market is working reasonably well. I think there are a few reasons for this…

    (1) The old utility companies were kind of obsessive about building coal plants, even when they were the least profitable option. By separating generation and distribution, this has stopped happening.
    (2) The government still owns the Niagara Falls power generation, and always will.
    (3) My god the regulation is extensive. I can’t call this deregulation.
    (4) The relatively slow, but significant, price rise has encouraged the mass adoption of solar panels.

  10. Jed1571

    I’m late to this (as always catching up on posts days later), but I would like to point out that there is nothing to support the claim that the International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy is “a well-regarded foreign academic publication”. The journal isn’t indexed at Cabell’s and doesn’t even show up at the wikipedia page for Energy_economics (it’s a niche field in econ, not many journals show up at Cabell’s or wikipedia.)

    Anyway, I read the paper and I think the author has maybe editorialized his research just a bit. Terms such as “extremely significant” and “very significant” have no place in an academic journal, for instance.

    There may have been some deliberate suppression of this research, but this post demonstrates a tremendous amount of speculation in lieu of evidence. Kind of surprising given the recent battles regarding CT around here.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Do you see it as your duty to defend Dr. Tol all over the internet?

        Your remark is pure ad hominem, which is a violation of our site’s clearly stated policies. If you have a substantive point, that’s a different matter, but you have yet to offer one in any of your comments so far.

  11. Donna de Weerd-Wilson

    Dr Eric L. Prentis has publicly remarked on the process that led to the rejection of a paper he submitted to Energy Economics. See

    We note the following. The paper was submitted on 20 March 2014. Four reviewers were invited to review Dr Prentis’ manuscript on 30 March 2014. Two declined and two accepted. The review reports were delayed despite reminders sent to the referees.

    As the review was ongoing, Dr Prentis sent a number of initially impatient but increasingly abusive emails, questioning the motives of the handling editor, and the editorial office. The paper was rejected on 6 November 2014 as Dr Prentis had lost confidence in the editors of the journal.

    Seven months from submission to first review is unfortunate but not exceptional. Although we deal with impatient and disappointed authors on a daily basis, we find Dr. Prentis’ reaction to this as rather unprofessional and unnecessary. His actions are not the way to persuade peers to change their opinion.

    Energy Economics is concerned with energy markets, which are seldom fully contested, rarely complete, often distorted, and characterised by externalities and natural monopolies. Over the years, we have published many papers, both theoretical and empirical, that highlight market imperfections and rent-seeking. We have published these papers without fear or favour.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Are you now denying that you sent this message to Prentis on November 19?

      The reason your paper is never reviewed is because the Energy Economics’ Editors-in-Chief tried their best, for over seven months, to find suitable reviewers, but none could be found.

      By implication, you got the information from the Energy Economics Editor-in-Chief. Please explain why they said to you that they had not been able to find “suitable reviewers” and now are claiming the reverse.

      Please also point to the sections of Prentis’ emails that were “abusive”. Neither I nor my readers have been able to identify any such statements.

      Finally, you appear to be trying to avoid the matter of Dr. Weyant’s conflicts of interest by making standard statements about journalistic independence. However, since you appear to be taking the position that you made statements about Energy Economics based on inaccurate or insufficient information, it is difficult to believe that you are in a position to judge whether Energy Economics is living up to its stated policies.

    2. bob

      “His actions are not the way to persuade peers to change their opinion.”

      It’s a good thing your rag deals with data, and not opinions.

      Data is data. It speaks for itself. Your opinion on how to persuade peers, in any direction, shouldn’t have anything to do with reviewing, and then publishing a paper, the stated purpose of your publication.

      Love the royal tone to go with the royal title. How about we just shorten it to dean wormer? For simplicity?

      Dean Wormer,

      I’m worried that your audience may not see the obvious Truth in your opinions on opinions. Do you have any data for that?

  12. Hoi Polloi

    Yves, did you contact Dr.Tol for his side of the story?

    Must say, looking at Prentis’ emails, that he is rather impatient and hostile.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        We reviewed the e-mail correspondence between Energy Economics editors and Prentis, his correspondence with Elsevier, and the public information about John Weyant, his relationship with the Precourt Institute, and the composition of its advisory board. Prentis’ post is a recitation of information with underlying documentary support. I also note you do not dispute any of the information presented in this post.

        1. Richard Tol

          Thanks for confirming that you made no attempt to hear both sides of the story.

          Dr Prentis’ paper was being reviewed when it was rejected because he clearly and repeatedly indicated he had lost confidence in the editors.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            We did hear both sides of the story, since the e-mail exchange and Elsevier’s response to Prentis represent its side of the story. You have simply repeated that story.

            Trying to base Energy Economics’ action based on your subjective assessment of his state of mind is a not terribly convincing effort to mask the true reason for rejecting his paper and shift blame to Prentis. Prentis never stated he had lost confidence, nor did he take the obvious step that anyone who had lost confidence would have taken, which would be to withdraw the paper. Moreover, your line of argument deflects attention from the question of Weyant’s conflict of interest.

            It is also difficult to believe that the article was assigned sent out to reviewers and was actually under review in light of Weyant’s messages at the time. Prentis was clearly keen to know the article was moving through your process. He had also made clear through his actions that he would check in at regular intervals until he got some concrete information. It would have been far easier, as well as customary, for Weyant to have told Prentis his paper was being reviewed if that were the case.

            But even if the alleged reviewers were indeed contacted and that some were in the process of reviewing the paper, that does not exculpate Energy Economics in term of its shabby treatment of Prentis (rude, dismissive, and less than forthcoming response) and dishonesty at Elsevier in handling his case when he escalated it in his desire to get Energy Economics to treat researchers like him better in the future.

          2. bob

            Gothca? I’m not sure that’s the best way to get your peers to change their opinion.

            As a matter of fact, I’ll go as far as to call you a dick. There’s plenty of evidence to back that claim.

            Now, as far as that claim goes, was it disclosed prior to his submission? This seems to be the center of the whole issue. Did Dick disclose that his name was actually a description of his personality? If so, I have to go with Dick on this one.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I find it curious that a first time commentor comes to the site so long after a post has gone dead and echoes the Energy Economics party line.

      The onus is on you to substantiate your reading. If anyone’s remarks rose to the level of hostility, it was Weyant, who was curt and dismissive, consistently so. And it is hardly impatient to contact a publication which has clearly stated timelines for handling articles accepted for review, at well spaced out intervals (typically a month apart). Prentis was seeking information that someone in his position would have expected to received. And his expectations regarding timing were created by the publication itself.

      1. bob

        Don’t you forget who your dealing with here. Dean Wormer might come back and drop some hoity-toity, and riotus mirth, if you’re not careful.

        I bet they still shit crumpets when they remember the day that they infiltrated a blog using the oh-so-hip “Hoi Polloi”..They bought ski masks, and were all sitting around the same computer….Serious stealth ninja moves there. You’ve been warned. Double secret probation!

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