I am not going to link to the obnoxious economicsjobmarketrumor blog, where lots of grad students supposedly seeking jobs have been savagely trashing Elinor Ostrom on all kinds of grounds, most of them involving that they have not heard of her and that she has not published articles in top four journals. Her important book that was key to her prize, Governing the Commons, 1990, has been riduculed because presumably unlike an article in the AER, it did not go through a "peer review" process. Wow. Somehow the fact that it has been cited over 7000 times, more than all the citations of some economics Nobelists, including Stiglitz and Prescott, does not register with these dingbats (some of whom were pushing Nancy Stokey, "if you need to give it to a woman," whose citations barely exceed 1,000, but by gosh, she has published with Lucas in the JPE!).
I see this as a broader problem in the economics profession. In particular it calls to mind the tragic situation at Notre Dame University, where the original economics department is now being closed down. The original shot against it came some years ago when a dean wanted a grad program that was "highly ranked," with these rankings based on the publication rates in "top journals" being the key. A characteristic of that department all along has been a tendency for several of its most prominent members to publish more in books than in journal articles. The leading example of this is Phil Mirowski, and I have already argued here that I predict that, say, 30 years from now there will be more citations to his books, More Heat than Light, and Machine Dreams, than to the entire corpus of publications up to this point of the members of the new, self-labeled "neoclassical" department, even though some of them are publishing articles in the AER and so on. In any case, these silly criticisms of Ostrom seem to be of the same piece as the sort of arguments that have been brought to bring down the very fine Notre Dame department.