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And papers. First, it goes to that top journal, the one with the highest citation index, on a wing and a prayer. Then when the almost inevitable rejection slip comes, the paper is reformatted, the reviewers comments are sort of addressed, and goes to the next journal on the list. And so on until ultimately, unless it is really a turkey, it is provisionally accepted, subject to addressing the reviewers' comments at least in the editor's mind. Again the comments are addressed and it becomes another line on the CV.

On the other hand, some of the 20% in "Teaching vs Research" thread on Greg Mankiw's blog were rejected over and over because they were such paradigm shifts. Sort of like picking the cream of the crop students. Some who are picked are duds (false positives) and some of the rejected ones go on to do great work at other institutions (false negatives), leaving one to wonder how good the selection process really is but not being able to do any really good controlled trials to find out.