New Editorial Policy

January 31, 2017

The Review of Finance announces the following clarifications of our editorial policy. These policies are already being implemented, but we thought that it would be useful to make a clear statement of them to authors. These are also published in our Editorial in the first issue of 2017, freely available here.

  • Publication standard
    • We have a common policy, across all editors, as applying the same standards as a top-three finance journal. The following text (or a variant thereof) is included in the invitation letter to referees: “Please apply a similar standard to what you would apply to the top-three finance journals. Because we receive a very large number of manuscripts, we are interested in publishing only papers that make a substantial contribution to knowledge that is of interest to a general finance audience.  Competent useful extensions and qualifications of previous work, or analyses of narrower questions, are best left to specialized journals.”
  • Author primacy
    • The following text is included in the invitation letter to referees: “If you believe the paper crosses the top-three bar and are recommending revision, please stratify your comments into (1) major concerns that the authors need to address for you to recommend publication, and (2) suggestions that you think will improve the paper but give the authors discretion as to whether to incorporate them. Our policy is to reach an accept/reject decision at the second round. Therefore, any concerns have to be raised upfront and not in later rounds.”
    • In other words, we ask referees to stratify scientifically convincing arguments for why a paper is unpublishable in its current form from suggestions. Ultimately, we recognize that the authors are responsible for the paper.
    • For further details, please see Berk, Harvey, and Hirshleifer (JEP forthcoming): “How to Write an Effective Referee Report and Improve the Scientific Review Process” and Spiegel (RFS 2012): “Reviewing Less, Progressing More
  • Number of revision rounds
    • Our goal is to reach a decision on a manuscript at the second round. For manuscripts that are given an initial “revise-and-resubmit”, we aim to either give a rejection, acceptance, or conditional acceptance, at the second round. This is to minimize cases in which authors are put through several rounds of revision, and – related to the above – also to recognize that the authors are the owners of the paper, not the referees.
    • There will be (hopefully rare) cases in which authors will have not been fully responsive to concerns raised by the referees in the first round and the paper remains scientifically inaccurate. In most such cases, a second-round decision would likely result in a rejection.  In rare cases, we may send the paper to a third round to give the authors one final chance to respond to the concerns.
    • If a referee raises new concerns in the second round that were not raised in the first round (and do not relate to changes in the paper between rounds), we will likely ignore those concerns.
  • Desk rejections
    • We sometimes receive papers that are well-motivated and have interesting results, but the topic is not the best match for a general-interest journal such as the Review of Finance. In such cases, we feel that the most helpful action is to clear the way for authors to submit it elsewhere by giving a quick desk-rejection decision, rather than delaying the authors by sending the paper to referees when the ultimate odds of success are likely to be low.
    • In most cases, the desk rejection decision will be taken by the assigned Editor, but sometimes it will be informed by a Screen Report. These are reports from one of our most trusted referees (among them, our Associate Editors) who is an expert in the topic of the paper
    • The refund applies only to desk rejection decisions without a Screen Report.
  • Editor accountability
    • All published papers will now state which Editor accepted the paper, to increase Editor accountability and reduce any concerns with conflicts of interest. They will also contain the dates of initial submission and final acceptance to increase transparency on turnaround times. This will apply to all Advance Access papers henceforth; unfortunately, it is not possible to amend papers that are already on Advance Access as they are viewed as published and thus unchangeable.