Aims and Scope

The Review of Finance is a peer-reviewed journal that competes for the best articles in the field of finance and aims at a wide circulation and visibility in the profession. The journal’s editorial policy is guided by two criteria: quality and innovation. The board welcomes submissions of high-quality papers both new and established fields in financial economics. Being the journal of the European Finance Association, the Review of Finance enjoys the solid support of the Association’s members. At the same time, it aims to be a resource for the world community of finance researchers, open to exciting and novel contributions from authors around the globe.

The board is committed to a fast, electronically managed, editorial process. The first editorial decision is rendered at the latest within 100 days after receipt of the submission by the editorial office. Editorial statistics about turnaround times, first-response times and rejection rates will be published regularly.

Our aim is to publish the very best research in financial economics, irrespective of research methodology, author identity, geography, or whether the findings support existing research or are seen as controversial. In particular, we are willing to take risks on papers that may not typically be published by good journals. Our goal is to attract “right tail” submissions. We recognize that taking risk may occasionally lead to “Type I error”, but we are willing to do so to attract the best papers. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Papers using non-US data. Andrew Karolyi’s 2016 RF article, “Home Bias, an Academic Puzzle”, finds that only 16% of empirical papers in top journals examine non-US markets, despite their increasing importance, even though such papers are more highly-cited than papers using US data. We are very open to papers using non-US data. However, we must stress that the topic of the paper must be of broad interest to the general readership of the RF, that top-three standards will still be applied, and that simply using non-US data will not get a paper accepted. For example:
    • Replicating US results in another country is unlikely to be publishable (unless the institutional details of that country mean that a reader’s prior would be that US results would not hold);
    • A study on an institutional feature that is specific to one particular country is unlikely to be publishable. However, if the institutional feature allows the identification of a broader economic question (e.g. can function as an instrument with at least some external validity), then the paper is potentially publishable;
    • Using non-US data where the same data quality is available in the US is unlikely to be publishable, unless there are specific institutional features which render the non-US setting appropriate.

Valid reasons to use non-US data include, but are not limited to:

  • Superior data availability;
  • Study of a phenomenon that is common in many countries outside the US, e.g. large block ownership or family ownership;
  • The availability of an identification strategy (e.g. an exogenous shock change), which is likely to have some external validity.
  • The data concerns a large country or region which is important to study.
  • We also wish to stress that we are as open to papers using US data as we have ever been.
  • New research methodologies. We are open to papers using new research methodologies. For example, we are happy to consider a theoretical model that does not use the “standard” framework, and overrule referee concerns that the framework is non-standard. Of course, the authors need to provide a convincing justification for using a non-standard framework; simply doing so is not grounds for publication.
  • “Future of research” papers. Papers reviewing a literature and, in particular, highlighting directions of future research, can be of great interest to our readership and spur further research. We are open to such papers. Examples include the RF forthcoming papers “Corporate Governance and Blockchains” by David Yermack and “Macro-Finance” by John Cochrane. Note that such papers must make a scientific contribution, rather than (say) being a long opinion piece.
    • We recognize that writing a “future of research” paper is a substantial undertaking and that many journals do not publish such papers. Thus, authors may be unwilling to start writing a paper without some assurance that it is eventually publishable. We invite authors contemplating such papers to write a proposal and submit it (with no submission fee) to the Managing Editor(s). They will have it reviewed (potentially also by referees) and give an indication of interest. If the paper is given the green light, the authors can then write the paper. The completed paper will still be refereed (potentially by the same referees as the original proposal) but the authors have the assurance that the Editors are supportive of the topic and will overrule any referee concerns that it is a non-standard paper.
  • Controversial papers. Some authors may feel that it is difficult to publish a paper because their paper finds a result, or proposes a methodology, that is contrary to the established literature. We are very open to such papers, and will endeavor to find reviewers who are experts in the area but likely to be unbiased.
    • For controversial papers, and only for controversial papers, we are open to receiving guidance (in the cover letter) on potential referees who may not be able to review the paper objectively. We recognize that, as Editors, we may not be aware of every debate in every literature, and want to ensure that papers are reviewed fairly; however, we retain ultimate discretion over which referees to select. We do not invite affirmative suggestions for referees.
  • Methodological papers. We are open to papers that advocate new methodological improvements or “best practices”. Even if the “best practice” is not new and should be well-known, such a paper is potentially publishable if a significant portion of the literature is not currently following such practices.
  • Non-result papers. It is well-known that there is a publication bias towards finding significant results, as highlighted (among others) by Cam Harvey’s 2017 AFA presidential address. We are open to papers finding insignificant results. Of course, the insignificant result must constitute a substantial contribution (for example, sometimes it may be surprising that a relationship is insignificant).
    • We recognize that collecting new data or doing research in an unexplored field can be particularly time-consuming, and that authors may be unwilling to do this given that a paper is only typically publishable if it finds significant results. We invite submissions of “registered reports” (also as suggested by Harvey (2017)) to the Managing Editors. These are detailed proposals, similar to the front-end of a regular paper providing economic motivation and methodology, which we then review. If the proposal is given the green light, this means that the Editors consider the proposal interesting enough to publish, even if the results are insignificant. Again, the eventual paper will still have to be refereed, and there is no publication guarantee, but the authors have the assurance that the Editors are sufficiently supportive of the topic that they will overrule any concerns on insignificant results.
  • Descriptive papers on important topics. The use of new econometric techniques has made substantial progress in causal identification. However, there are some important questions for which causal identification is not possible, due to the lack of valid instruments. We are open to such papers if they are on sufficiently important topics, as long as the authors are clear that they cannot make causal claims. Conversely, clean identification is not sufficient for publication; the importance of the research question and external validity are also critical. Overall, for an empirical paper, we consider both the importance of the topic and the cleanliness of identification together; the latter is neither necessary nor sufficient for publication. If the paper is in a crowded literature which has had success in identification, the bar for identification will be significantly higher.

We note that, with the exception of proposals for “future of research” papers above, we – like other journals – do not have the editorial resources to provide any indication of whether a paper is suitable for the Review of Finance before actual submission.  However, we hope that the above clarifies that we are even more open to non-standard papers than in the past – while also remaining as open to standard papers as we have ever been. We stress that, for both standard and non-standard papers, the bar for quality and strength of incremental contribution remains top-three.