Frequently Asked QuestionsGeneral Section
"I have a manuscript I'd like to submit to JCR for review. What do I do? What's the review process like?"
See http://ejcr.org/author.htm for submission guidelines and information about the review process. Please also check the Author Section of these FAQs. If you can't find the answers to your questions, please contact the editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I have a paper that has been accepted for publication. What do I do?"
Please read the decision letter carefully and see http://ejcr.org/accepted.htm. If you have additional questions, please contact the editorial office at email@example.com.
"Where can I find a particular article? I'm doing a research project on pricing."
Articles are available at our publisher (see http://journals.uchicago.edu/JCR). You (or your university) need a subscription to access more than the abstract (or you may pay $14 for a single article). If you have further research questions, contact a reference librarian at your local university. If you wish to purchase a particular issue or subscribe, please contact the University of Chicago Press (firstname.lastname@example.org).
"I didn't receive my last issue of JCR in the mail. What's up?"
This is the website for the editorial office, where we review manuscripts. Questions about subscriptions should be directed to the customer service department at the University of Chicago Press (email@example.com).
"I need permission to reprint an article and a figure. What should I do?"
Contact the University of Chicago Press: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
"My manuscript has lots of figures and I don't know how to reduce the file size for submission. What should I do?"
Authors are responsible for getting their papers into the proper format for publication (please check with the tech support people at your university). You may also check the “Formatting Figures” page at http://ejcr.org/accepted.htm for further information.
"May I post a PDF version of my publication on my university's web site? May I make copies of my paper for classes?"
Yes! JCR has very flexible author rights. See http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp for further information.
“How do I subscribe to JCR?”
Information for subscribing: https://subfill.uchicago.edu/JournalPUBS/threeyear1.aspx
“Why should I subscribe to the journal when I can get access to individual articles through electronic search services?”
Electronic searches tend to be guided by a specific topic and research question and so may narrow researchers’ field of vision. By subscribing to the journal, authors are able to see the concurrent progression of research across areas, a field of vision that may lead to breakthrough, integrative research and that increases understanding of the research conducted by colleagues across subfields.
“What’s a contribution statement and why do you want one?”
Please see http://ejcr.org/contribution-statement.htm on the purpose of contribution statements, instructions for writing these statements, and examples.
“Please explain what each of the decision categories means.”
Conditional acceptance: The contribution of the paper is largely in place subject to minor, easily accomplished, extremely low risk changes. The editor’s letter will use language along the lines of “I am happy to accept the paper subject to some important conditions.”
Revision invitation: The contribution of the paper has not yet been achieved but the prospects of doing so are fairly good. In these cases, the associate editor and editor can specify the steps needed to achieve the requisite contribution. The editor’s letter will use language along the lines of “This is a good paper with the potential to achieve a substantial contribution and I am pleased to invite a revision.” The editor’s letter will then either detail the changes needed or, more commonly, refer you to the associate editor’s report for required changes. Importantly, unless otherwise specified in the editor’s letter, authors should concentrate on the recommendations contained in the associate editor’s report. Authors do not have to make changes identified in the individual reviewer reports that are not highlighted in the associate editor’s report. By filtering the reviewers’ comments through the associate editor, we are able to ensure that authors are not pulled in multiple directions nor required to take on every suggested change. Our goal is to specify changes needed for the paper to meet the standards for a contribution.
Risky revision invitation: Sometimes the paper seems to hold good promise but either a) the steps needed to achieve the contribution carry with them substantial risk or b) the steps to achieve the contribution are unclear (the problems are apparent but the means of solving them are not). Procedurally, risky revision invitations and revision invitations are similar in that the next submission is sent back to the same review team in most cases. The editor’s letter in these cases will use language that says, “This paper has potential but the reviewers have identified important shortcomings. I would like to give you a chance to remedy these problems so invite a risky revision.” Again, the editor’s letter will commonly point you to the associate editor’s report for a broad outline of the needed changes. Unlike a standard revision, however, you may find the associate editor unable to provide crisply specified changes. This inability to spell out the details is the source of the risk in the revision status. Alternatively, we know what is needed but the prospects are uncertain, for example, gathering additional data or remedying what appears to be a logical inconsistency.
Rejection with an invitation to submit a brand new paper: (also called, “reject but submit new paper”): This category understandably confuses people, so much so, that it is sometimes mistakenly referred to as “reject and resubmit.” Papers receiving such a decision are indeed rejected. However, the editors, in consultation with the reviewers, may have a identified an element of the work – for example, a core idea, one of the study results, the broad topic – that is worth further consideration. As a consequence, JCR does not close the door on further work in the area. However, authors should understand the initial paper did not achieve a contribution and was not judged as “fixable” through a revision process, even a risky one. Hence, authors should appreciate that a follow-up submission should be markedly different than the initial submission. The new submission will be treated as exactly that; it will be given a new manuscript number and a new review team (in most cases). The uncertainty surrounding such papers can vary substantially and authors are encouraged to read the editor’s letter carefully for an assessment of the prospects for the resubmission. The language in these cases is along the lines of, “My decision, regrettably, is to reject this paper despite merit but to invite a wholly new submission on this topic that uses the ideas in the introduction of study 2 as its base.”
Rejection: In this case, the paper was deemed as unlikely to make a contribution to JCR. We do hope to provide thoughtful comments for authors who have done us the courtesy of sending us their research. These comments may refer to changes authors would make going forward with the work but unless the editor specifically invites a new paper, the expectation is that authors would not submit the later work to JCR.
A section of the Reviewer Instructions also explains these decision categories (see http://ejcr.org/instr-revs.htm).
This category of decision does not exist and reflects a misunderstanding of the category “rejection with an invitation to submit a brand new paper” that is described above. A particular concern about calling rejected papers “reject and resubmit” is it may convey the impression that simply revising the original paper will be sufficient when it is not.
“What are reasons for a desk reject decision?”
The most common reason for a desk rejection is lack of fit with the mission of the journal. JCR is primarily a journal of theoretical advances and empirical support for these advances.
“What are reasons for a desk revise decision?”
On some occasions, editors may send a paper back to authors without sending the paper for review because the editor believes the paper lacks a critical element or otherwise contains a serious flaw that will lead to a rejection decision. However, the editor believes that paper has merit and should be sent for review once the problem factor is corrected. The editor’s letter will explain the reasoning for the decision.
“Several JCR instruction documents (for example, submission instructions, instructions for accepted papers), stress the importance of a great abstract. Why all the fuss about the abstract; isn’t it the paper that really matters?”
While we would hope that most people would read the full paper, many people only read the abstract. However, the main reason we stress the quality of the abstract is to promote an increased number of readers and deeper reading. Readers increasingly engage our work through electronic searches instead of physical copies of the journal. The decision to download a particular paper is often based on the quality of the abstract. Hence, we ask authors to write abstracts that are engaging and that speak to a broad audience from multiple disciplines. We encourage authors to write abstracts in general language without relying on specialized terms only known to a narrow subset of readers.
“I understand JCR is open to ‘effects papers’ but I am not sure what they are. Do you have some examples? Do ‘effects papers’ get a special review process?”
It is difficult to provide examples for a number of reasons. First, we don’t have a separate track for effects papers. That is, there is no “short papers” section, nor separate standards or review processes. The ideal is a still a paper that reports an effect plus explanation that advances theory. Sometimes, however, papers come through that have an effect clearly at odds with prior theory but the authors just cannot seem to get a handle on the explanation. In that case, the effect is something of a fallback position and the structure of those papers tends to emerge back and forth in the review process – each form unique to the paper.
In other cases, authors have sent us papers that report effects only but without an attempt to provide an explanation, at least not an attempt they have revealed to us. In these cases, editors have sent the authors back, via the reviews, with some ideas about a theoretical account that they might test. The theory is often just “hanging in the air” for testing. The goal after all is to find the theory and the team of authors that finds the effect is in the best position to give it a try. Our goal with effects papers is to stimulate theory, not to thwart it. The idea that authors would stop short in finding theory as a consequence of our openness to effects papers is quite the opposite of our intention.
In still other cases, authors have sent us interesting applications of existing theory. The effect is “cool” but it not does not trigger new theoretical accounts. These papers are typically rejected unless we can send the authors back for extensions to theory via important moderators.
Our recent editorial provides some background on the types of papers we have in mind:
“We continue to be open to conceptual papers as well as “effects” papers that will lead to future comparative theory tests, as described in the recent editorial by the previous team of editors (Deighton, McGill, MacInnis, and Shiv, 2010). We view the desired category of effects-oriented research as distinct from “clever applications” effects papers, which make use of existing theory in engaging contexts but do not seem likely to stimulate theoretical advances. By contrast, the types of effects that we are interested in publishing are systematic anomalies that challenge established theoretical explanations and predictions and hence open up dialogues for theoretical innovation. This emphasis on uncovering new areas of investigation by showcasing unexpected effects may suggest a new structure for some papers: leading with the findings, explaining the need for new theory to account for them, and then discussing potential theoretical explanations in a more speculative way in the discussion. This openness to publishing effects may even, in rare cases, extend to work that might be termed descriptive, if the facts described have an impact large enough to have implications for theory. Such descriptive work, like all effects papers, should delineate the implications for theory development to achieve the requisite contribution.”
“How are reviewers assigned?”
Reviewers are assigned by the editor based on expertise needed to assess the merits of the paper. Associate editors do not assign reviewers but are asked to provide suggestions to the editor. Authors may provide suggestions for reviewers when submitting their papers.
“How are editors assigned?”
Authors are permitted to ask for a specific editor. These requests are typically honored, taking into account conflicts of interest and relative load. Otherwise, manuscripts are assigned randomly to editors.
“How are AEs assigned?”
AEs are assigned by the editor based on expertise. Authors may provide suggestions for associate editors when submitting their papers.
“Do I have to format my paper according to JCR’s style for the review process?”
Strict JCR format is required for accepted papers. For papers in review, you can make a first approximation. See the author link on the home page for submission instructions.
“Does the AE select reviewers?”
No, AEs do not select reviewers but they do advise the editor on possible reviewers.
“What is the relationship between reviewers, AE, and editor?”
The reviewers provide comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper. The associate editor assesses, integrates, and prioritizes concerns. The editor makes the final disposition on the paper and provides instructions for going forward, which typically reference the associate editor’s report.
“What parts of the review process are blind?”
The editor and associate editor know the identity of reviewers and authors. Reviewers know the identity of the editor but not the associate editor nor the authors. Authors also know the identity of the editor but not the associate editor or the reviewers.
“What is a conflict of interest and how should I address it?”
A conflict of interest is any relationship that might bias or give the appearance of bias in reviewer assessments or editorial decisions. For example, colleagues in the same school, co-authors on other work, students from the same program of similar vintage, close friends or relations, student or advisor relationships all create a conflict. So does providing comments on the paper in earlier drafts. This list is not exhaustive, however, and we ask that authors raise the possibility of a conflict of interest in their letters to the editor when in doubt.
"It’s impossible to please all the reviewers because they disagree. How do I write my revision notes so that I’ll please all the reviewers?"
This question reflects a common misunderstanding of the role of the reviewers. Reviewers are advisory to the associate editor and editor. The primary role of reviewers is to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the work to facilitate the editors’ decisions. While reviewers are asked to make a recommendation with respect to the disposition of the paper, these recommendations are used to provide a broad gauge of the reviewers’ evaluations. The recommendations are not “votes.” For example, one might imagine a case in which the reviewer recommends acceptance but also notes a shortcoming in the work that the associate editor and editor believe deeply undermines the contribution of the research. Or, the reviewer recommends rejection based primarily on a legitimate shortcoming but which another member of the review team proposes a workable solution. As these examples illustrate, the key component in the reviewer reports are the specific comments on the work, not the recommendation per se.
The associate editor’s job is to assess, integrate, and prioritize the reviewers’ comments and to make a recommendation to the editor. It is important to note therefore that the associate editor is not another reviewer but is serving more in the role of editor. Having an associate editor saves s authors from having to please a disparate set of reviewers. The editor examines the entire set of reports, and makes a decision with respect to the paper. The editor may provide detailed instructions for a revision but in most cases will point authors to the associate editor’s report as a guide to the revision. What this means is that authors should respond to the recommendations in the associate editor’s report. While authors are not prevented from providing separate comments to individual reviewers in revision notes, they are not required to do so. Again, the revision and the revision notes should follow the guidelines in the editor’s letter and the associate editor’s report.
"How long should my revision notes be? To whom are they addressed?"
Revision notes should be addressed to the editor and associate editor. The associate editor’s report is intended to serve as a guide to the revision. In the revision notes, authors should discuss how they handled the concerns highlighted by the associate editor. Authors do not have to address all the concerns raised by the reviewers nor follow every recommendation. While the concerns and recommendations offered by the reviewers may have great merit, the review process at JCR is intended to provide a focused set of changes needed for the paper to meet the requisite level of contribution. Hence, the reviews are first filtered and organized by the AE report, which generally serves the key point of contact in the revision. The editor may also underscore particular points but in most cases will point authors to the AE report.
"Is it possible for me to talk to the editor on the phone or in person about my paper?"
All inquiries and comments about manuscripts should be in writing. Keeping things in writing provides good record keeping, which is especially important if for some reason we need an editor change (that mostly comes up during recruiting, senior and junior, when conflicts of interest can arise but other times as well), allows the editor time to reflect on answers, and, critically, it allows the editor to consult with the AE before providing any responses. Since the AE is the shepherd for the paper, especially in revision, that is especially important. There is also the concern resulting from the editor giving a green light on approaches or changes and then later judging those components of the paper. That would put the editor is an awkward combination of roles, at best, and it excludes the expert reviewer input. We strive to ensure the editor does not end up both consultant/contributor and evaluator. This preference for written discussion is not meant as a barrier, however, and you are encouraged to write with questions especially if something in the reports or the editor’s letter is not clear. Please direct your correspondence to the JCR address (email@example.com) and the editor should be able to get back to you in a timely fashion
“Are there specific instructions for reviewers?”
Yes, please see http://ejcr.org/instr-revs.htm for reviewer instructions.
“How long should my review be?”
We do not have specific length guidelines. Please identify the major strengths and weaknesses of the paper in enough detail to be clear. We also appreciate your noting minor concerns such as rough patches of text. Two single-spaced pages are usually sufficient.
“What do the reviewer letters mean (ABC)?”
Reviewers are assigned these letters as the reviews on the first submission are returned. The first reviewer to return a review is A, the second B, the third C. The letters do not indicate seniority or presence on the ERB.
“How many reviews do I need to do each year to get onto the ERB? More generally, how do I get onto the ERB?”
ERB membership is determined by a compensatory set of considerations including recent citations in JCR, recent publications, and reviews (number, quality, timeliness). The determination is made across the field on a relative basis so there is no fixed number. ERB members must also be at least five years post PhD.
“How do I become an ad hoc reviewer? Can I volunteer?”
Yes, thank you. Please contact the editorial office at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can include you in our database of reviewers. Once added, you will need to update your information at the “my info” link (selecting areas of expertise and providing us a link to your CV).
“Is it a problem if my review is late?”
Yes, late reviews are a problem for the authors and the field. Authors entrust us to assess their work on a timely basis so that they may revise it for us or for other journals. Careers are riding on our actions. The field depends on us to publish timely research, not research that may have languished in the review process.
We all struggle with the uneven nature of our workloads – for example, heavy teaching and service terms – but we ask that reviewers carve out sufficient time to provide high quality reviews within the 25-day turnaround time. This request is especially important for JCR in fielding submissions of the field’s best work.
“The trainee program sounds great. How does it work?”
Regular reviewers may ask their advisees to serve as trainee reviewers. Both the reviewer and the trainee provide regular reviews (the trainee does not replace the reviewer). Trainee reviewers provide regular reviews and discuss the outcome with their advisors. Trainees essentially “ride along” in the review process to see how it works, but their reviews do not count in terms of decision making.
“If trainee reviews don’t count, what’s the point?”
The trainee report is not included in the assessment of the paper but it does count in helping trainees understand the review process from start to finish. Trainees not only discuss their reviews with faculty advisors, they also see other reviewer reports, the associate editor report, and the editor’s letter. Trainees learn how to write good reviews and, we hope, they learn how to write better papers.
“Can there be more than one trainee per file?”
Yes, more than one reviewer can suggest a trainee on a paper, leading to multiple trainees.