Assorted links, May 2011

  • has a really neat compilation of advice by editors of various top journals on what constitutes a good review in the peer-review process. Very useful for beginning reviewers, as this is one of those things no one ever tells you how to do (with lots of crappy reviews as a result).
  • The latest issue of Sociological Methods and Research includes two articles on problems associated with identifying influence effects in social networks, arguably one of the raisons d’être of social network analysis. In the first article, Cosma Shlalizi and Andrew Thomas argue that identifying influence- or contagion effects is almost always problematic, because latent homophily can lead to spurious influence effects (and vice versa). They claim that their results may “wreck the hopes on which many observational studies of social networks are rested,”  and they may have a point. In the second study, Tyler VanderWeele, using sensitivity analysis, argues that it is maybe not that bad. I guess there will be quite some discussion about this, but at the very least, it highlights the usefulness of designing experimental studies in which identification is not an issue.
  • Games and Economic Behavior has an article looking at social distance in Second Life. It is interesting to see this sociological concept and empirical research in an online environment in this hardcore micro-economics journal.