Instructions for Reviewers

The Editorial Review Process
    •  Roles in the Process
    •  Conducting and Communicating a JCR Review
            –  Contribution Statements
            –  Prioritize Comments
            –  Impartiality
            –  Diplomacy
            –  Alternative Explanations
            –  Precision
    •  Key Characteristics of a Quality Review
            –  Rigor and Thoroughness
            –  Anonymity and Confidentiality
            –  Promptness
Components of a Review
    •  Confidential Recommendation for Disposition
            –  Accept
            –  Conditional Accept
            –  Revision
            –  Risky Revision
            –  Straight Reject
    •  Confidential Comments to the Editor and Associate Editor
Comments to the Authors
Reviewer Profile Keywords
Unavailable Dates
Trainee Reviewer Program

Further Information for Reviewers


The Editorial Review Process

The primary objective of the JCR editorial review process is to ensure that each submitted manuscript is evaluated rigorously, equitably, and in accordance with criteria appropriate for its source discipline, perspective, and method. JCR aspires to publish the highest-quality scholarship relevant to consumption. The journal seeks to publish articles that speak to an interdisciplinary audience while exhibiting quality commensurate with the best research.

The future of JCR and the consumer behavior field depend on our peer reviewers, who consistently approach their volunteer duties in a generous and respectful manner. Quality reviews reflect a positive and scholarly attitude as well as a rigorous and punctual evaluation of the manuscript.

Roles in the Process

The role of the editor is to assign the associate editor and reviewers, and to make a final decision. The role of the associate editor is to mediate the review process by integrating and prioritizing reviewer comments. When making revisions, authors are encouraged to rely on the AE reports as their guides. The AE reports are themselves based on the rich and detailed insights of JCR's expert peer reviewers. Hence, good reviews are foundational to the review process and JCR.

Conducting and Communicating a JCR Review

It is a substantial service to the field of consumer research, and to the authors especially, when a scholar conducts an exemplary manuscript review for JCR. The best reviews are careful, conducted without paradigmatic or other bias, clear, detailed, kind, and timely. Consider the following when crafting your review:

Contribution Statements

Consider a manuscript from the perspective of the contribution statement. Evaluate the importance of the intended contribution and the degree to which the manuscript lives up to it. You may comment on the intended contribution, but do not provide comments that assume a contribution other than that intended by the authors.

Prioritize Comments

Strive to distinguish between major and minor concerns. The first round of review is the time to highlight “uncorrectable” problems and other major concerns. It is inappropriate to raise them in later review rounds if they already existed in the initial version.


Strive to be impartial. If you cannot separate the evaluation process from a desire to advocate a particular theory or philosophical perspective, then recuse yourself.


Be polite, diplomatic, and discerning. Phrases such as “fatal flaws” or “serious mistakes” might instead be rephrased as “substantial concerns” or “major issues.”

Alternative Explanations

Sometimes there are alternative explanations for the empirical findings. When raising this criticism, detail how the relevant alternative interpretation is consistent with most or all of the data, and not just relevant to a subset of the data.


Sharing suggestions for improvement in the most precise manner possible will increase the likelihood that the authors will understand, appreciate, and use your suggestions.

Key Characteristics of a Quality Review

Rigor and Thoroughness

The manuscript title and the abstract, as well as all assumptions, assertions, analyses, and implications, should be considered in detail. If you feel qualified to evaluate only a particular aspect of a manuscript, indicate this in your confidential comments to the editor and associate editor. Always note the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the manuscript in sufficient detail to support your recommendation to the editor and associate editor. For instance, when referring to previous research, always provide a complete citation.

Anonymity and Confidentiality

JCR uses a double-blind review process, meaning that authors and reviewers are never informed of the other's identities. Avoid alluding to your identity in your reviews. You might be aware of an author's identity, for instance, because of prior presentations of the research. While such knowledge is unavoidable and not in itself reason to dismiss a reviewer, contact the editorial office if you believe you might face any bias—positive or negative—in your assessment of the work (i.e., you perceive a conflict of interest).

A conflict of interest, or COI, is any relationship that might bias or give the appearance of bias in reviewer assessments or editorial decisions, e.g., current or recent former colleagues, co-authors on other work, advisers, students, close friends or relations, or anyone who has seen or provided comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.

See our Conflict of Interest Policy.

As a matter of confidentiality, it is also a violation of the authors' right to privacy to discuss a JCR manuscript with anyone else (though confidential and professional conduct in consultation with a colleague who may be more proficient in a particular area is acceptable).


Authors entrust us to assess their work on a timely basis so that they may revise it for JCR or other journals. We ask reviewers to devote sufficient time to provide a high-quality review within 25 days.

Components of a Review

A JCR review has the following components:
  • Your confidential recommendation for the manuscript's disposition
  • Your confidential comments to the editor and associate editor
  • Your comments to the authors

Confidential Recommendation for Disposition

Reviewer recommendations are advisory to the editor and associate editor. Make a recommendation only to the editor and associate editor, but ensure your recommendation matches the content of your review. Do not allude to your recommendation for disposition in your comments to the authors.

Accept (no changes are necessary)

Use this rarely used recommendation for manuscripts that are virtually flawless in their content. In general, when making this recommendation, you will be considered as having signed off on the manuscript.

Conditional Accept (subject to minor revisions)

Use this recommendation when a manuscript is judged to be quite strong with the contribution in place subject to only minor and low-risk additions, deletions, or corrections.

Revision (you see a path to publication and can specify doable steps the authors can take)

Use this recommendation for manuscripts that have a high degree of potential for eventual publication, but you believe significant changes must be made to resolve your concerns and result in an acceptable manuscript.

Detailed comments to the authors are extremely important in support of this recommendation so that the authors can respond to all the concerns in a single revision. A clear delineation of the major concerns that must be addressed for publication versus more minor and optional concerns is also important, again so that authors will have the necessary guidance.

A recommendation in this category should not be construed as a guarantee of eventual publication. In some cases, a promising manuscript will not be adequately revised to attain the quality and level of knowledge contribution required for publication in JCR.

Risky Revision (you don't see a clear path forward, but there is hope and you are willing to see the manuscript again)

Use this recommendation for manuscripts that seem promising but for which either of the following are true:
  • The steps needed to achieve the contribution carry with them substantial risk
  • The steps to achieve the contribution are unclear (the problems are apparent, but the means of solving them are not)
In choosing this recommendation, you signal that the likelihood of the manuscript proceeding after the next round is unpredictable given the magnitude and scope of revision that is required.

Straight Reject (the likelihood of successful revision is remote and you not want to see this manuscript again)

Use this recommendation for manuscripts that are weak and for which there is no identifiable path to publication at JCR. For example, the topic may be of minor importance to the domain of consumer behavior, the core idea may be interesting but the basic conceptual development may be extremely weak or incorrect, or the empirical work may have defects that cannot readily be remedied.

This category will be the modal category for JCR submissions, based on the overall historical rejection rate of approximately 90 percent.

Comments to the authors should be polite in explaining the nature of the concerns but need not be as lengthy as in the previous categories. While it is permissible and efficient to articulate only the most serious concerns, in cases when the core idea is interesting, thoughtful advice for how to produce potentially publishable work for another journal by building from that idea may be included.

Confidential Comments to the Editor and Associate Editor

You can be completely honest in your confidential comments to the editor and associate editor. Rather than convey frustrations or strongly negative judgments in your comments to the authors, include them in your confidential comments.

Comments to the Authors

Your comments to the authors represent the most important component of the JCR review. They provide the rationale for your evaluation of the manuscript, as well as suggestions for improvement.

Comments to the authors are generally most useful to the authors and the editorial team when they begin with an overall assessment of your reaction to the manuscript, including prominent strengths and weaknesses. This overview is valuable in providing a context for the more detailed comments that follow. The detailed comments should offer constructive, specific guidance for a revision or for future research efforts.

Comments to the authors should not contain any indication of a recommended rejection or acceptance of the manuscript. Such recommendations should be made only in the confidential comments to the editor and associate editor. It is the editor's responsibility to make the final decision.

Reviewer Profile Keywords

Profile keywords help our editors match submissions with reviewer expertise and interests. See our complete lists of keywords (revised in July 2018) and please take the time to update your reviewer profile keywords:
  • Log in to ScholarOne
  • Click the downward-facing arrow symbol next to your name at the very top of the page
  • Select “User ID & Password” from the dropdown menu
  • Select up to 10 applicable keywords from each category (theoretical topics, substantive topics, and methods):
    • Select a keyword from the list (to select multiple keywords from a list, press CTRL and click)
    • Click the "+ Add" button

Unavailable Dates

Reviewers can indicate dates they are unavailable to review new manuscripts as follows:
  • Log in to ScholarOne
  • Click the downward-facing arrow symbol next to your name at the very top of the page
  • Select “User ID & Password” from the dropdown menu
  • Scroll down to the "Unavailable Dates" section near the bottom of the page
  • Enter your unavailable dates in dd-mmm-yyyy format or click the calendar icons to select the date range

Trainee Reviewer Program

Reviewers may recommend advanced doctoral students or new assistant professors (within five years of receiving their PhD) who have not previously reviewed for JCR to participate in our trainee reviewer program.

After accepting an invitation to review a new manuscript
, email the editorial office and provide the following information:
  • The manuscript number
  • The trainee's name
  • The trainee's email address
  • The trainee's university

Further Information for Reviewers

Overview of the Review Process
Research Integrity, Transparency, and Ethics
Manuscript Submission Guidelines

If you have any questions, contact the editorial office.