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I've always been under the impression that you're only allowed to publish 1 result in 1 journal. However, Economics Letters states:

For instance, a theorist could submit to Economics Letters a thought-provoking example before the analysis is extended to a general theorem in a fully fledged paper that will go elsewhere. Similarly, an experimentalist or an empirical researcher could submit to Economics Letters some important preliminary results, where perhaps the threshold for robustness, thoroughness or completeness of the analysis is not as high as it would be for a complete paper.

Is this stating that you're allowed to submit early results of paper X to Economics Letters, then improve paper X until paper X is longer and more like a full paper, followed by a submission of paper X to an alternative journal? If it is what they mean, why don't more academics do this to boost their publication count? Economics Letters is actually ranked quite highly.

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This is fairly common. For example, in CS, one might publish preliminary work at a conference, and then flesh it out for a journal (there's a "30% new material" rule in many journals to cover this situation). But to answer your question, doing this doesn't boost publication count except for very dumb ways of evaluating a publication list. Most people will list the conference and journal paper as one entity. –  Suresh Dec 17 '12 at 3:49
    
@Suresh Okay sure, thanks. Although this is actually a highly ranked journal (ranked A out of A*,A,B,C,unranked). –  Jase Dec 17 '12 at 3:56
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@Suresh: Most people, yes. But I suspect most bureaucracies, no. My university insists on conference and journal publications being listed separately in promotion and tenure cases. (See also "very dumb ways of evaluating a publication list".) –  JeffE Dec 17 '12 at 4:10
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Indeed. But since the question was "why don't people play this game more often", maybe the answer is: "because you play with the university bureaucracy less often than you have to face your colleagues" :) –  Suresh Dec 17 '12 at 4:18
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It does sound like it. Although the "longer/more developed" part is upto the editors of the second journal, who might feel free to reject the submission as being "too close" to the first one. –  Suresh Dec 17 '12 at 4:47
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Taken from the comments as per request

This is fairly common. For example, in CS, one might publish preliminary work at a conference, and then flesh it out for a journal (there's a "30% new material" rule in many journals to cover this situation). But to answer your question, doing this doesn't boost publication count except for very dumb ways of evaluating a publication list. Most people (except university bureaucrats) will list the conference and journal paper as one entity.

Note that it is upto the journal editors of the second venue to decide whether the paper is sufficiently different from the first one. They are free to reject it even if you think the latter paper is a nontrivially expanded version of the first one.

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Indeed. Economics Letters is a journal where people read summaries of papers and get a good idea of the literature coming out in different specialties of economics, before moving on to reading full technical papers in other journals. So yes, it is quite understandable to submit a summarized watered-down version of a paper to Economics Letters.

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