April 2018 newsletter – Economic Journal Editors’ Annual Report 2017

The joint managing editors presented their Annual Report to 136th RES Executive Committee Meeting in February. This is an edited version of that report which is available in full on the Society’s website. Table numbers used below are the same as those used in the full report.


The data in this annual report for 2017 cover the full calendar year of 2017. Previous data have been compiled up to and including the third quarter of the calendar year.
• In 2017, we received 1676 submissions, including new/re-submissions of regular papers, conference papers and the last remaining re-submissions of the final Feature papers. See Table 1.
• The total number of regular submissions for 2017 (1629) has exceeded the total number of submissions (1617), including conference and feature papers, for 2016. See Table 1.
• Geographic distribution of submitted papers is similar to that of last year. See Table 2.
• 884 regular submissions were dealt with by the Editors alone (summarily rejected (Table 1); of these, 88 per cent were returned to the authors within 14 days, with 11 per cent being returned within 15 to 30 days and only 1 per cent taking between 1 and 2 months. This is a slight drop in turnaround times compared to last year but still high and better than previous years.
• For 2017, over 70 per cent of regular submissions that were sent to the referees were returned to authors within four months of submission; only 1 per cent took longer than six months (Table 3). Again, this is a drop on last year but still an improvement on 2015 and previous years.
• The vast majority of referees responded within three months, with 58 per cent responding within two months (Table 4). The Editors are very grateful to the referees for their excellent performance.
• The 2016 Impact Factors (released in June 2017) saw an increase in the journal’s Impact Factor, from 2.370 in 2015 to 2.608 in 2016. The journal’s five-year Impact Factor also increased from 3.578 in 2015 to 3.859 in 2016.
• The EJ is ranked 42/347 in the Economics ISI subject category ranking. Last year's ranking was 31/344.
• Google Scholar has produced a new ranking of economics journals, based upon citations of articles published in the last 5 complete years (2012-16). In this ranking the Economic Journal ranks 13th (just ahead of the Journal of the European Economic Association in 14th place and just below the Journal of Political Economy in 12th place). Focusing more narrowly on academic refereed economics journals, this ranking places the Economic Journal as the 10th most cited.
• All accepted papers continue to be checked using anti-plagiarism software before publication.
• The journal continues to use its Twitter account to promote news and content.
• Rachel Kranton and Nezih Guner have joined the board as Managing Editors.
• Andrea Galeotti completed his terms as a Managing Editor in December 2017.
• Barbara Petrongolo and Gilat Levy will join the board as Managing Editors in 2018 to replace Martin Cripps and Kjell Salvanes who are both due to complete their terms in 2018.
• Over 2017, the first set of the final feature papers were published and the final Feature issue with the remaining 25 papers will publish in July 2018.
• The remainder of the backlog of regular papers waiting for publication will be cleared in 2018 with funding from both Wiley and the RES.
• The office remains at UCL. Benita Rajania returned to the journal for a fixed term from April 2017 to March 2018 to cover the Publishing Editor role until the post is moved to the RES central office. Catherine Waite resigned as Publishing Editor following the end of her maternity leave in October 2017. 

Journal information and statistics

Current Editorial Team
The current editorial team consists of:

Joint Managing Editors
Estelle Cantillon, Université libre de Bruxelles
Martin Cripps, University College London
Nezih Guner, CEMFI Madrid
Rachel Kranton, Duke University
Morten Ravn, University College London
Kjell G. Salvanes, Norwegian School of Economics
Frederic Vermeulen, University of Leuven
Hans-Joachim Voth, University of Zurich

Publishing Editor
Benita Rajania, EJ Publishing Editor, UCL (email: ej@res.org.uk)

Production Editor
David G Mayes sadly passed away in November 2017. David completed his term as a Joint Managing Editor of the Economic Journal in 1988 and served as the journal’s Production Editor from 1989 and was a key member of the editorial team during all those years. David reviewed the accepted manuscripts, checked the copy-editing and intervened if needed when authors raised issues about the editing of their manuscripts. He consistently ensured that the production standard of the EJ was impeccable through all the shifts and changes in modern journal publishing and ushered the journal through all these transitions and issues without ever letting the standards slip. He will be sorely missed by the journal and by the editorial team who have worked with him for many years. We will miss his diligence, dedication, care and the attention he gave the journal to ensure the highest quality content. David’s obituary appeared in the January isue of the Newsletter, no. 180.

The RES/EJ have just entered into a contract with Mattson Publishing Services to cover the role from January 2018 until 31 December 2018.

2.2 Editorial Board changes

Incoming and outgoing Managing Editors overlap for six months in order to make the process smooth and to allow a forward-looking approach which ensures high calibre academics continue to join the editorial board.

The Economic Journal is pleased to announce that from 2018, there will be a 50-50 gender split on the editorial board.

• Rachel Griffith left the Board by 30/03/2017 and was replaced by Estelle Cantillon.
• Andrea Galeotti left the Board by 31/12/2017. Rachel Kranton has replaced Andrea – she joined the Board in April 2017.
• Nezih Guner joined the Board as the eighth editor in July 2017.
• Martin Cripps will finish his second term in July 2018 and Gilat Levy will replace him, beginning her term in February 2018.
• Kjell Salvanes will leave the board at the end of September 2018. Barbara Petrongolo will replace him and joins the board in April 2018.

2.3 Submissions (Tables 1-2)

The sum total of submissions for 2017 is 1676, exceeding the sum total for 2016 (1617). See Table 1.

The geographic distribution of submissions (Table 2) is similar to that of last year, with the largest share coming from Europe (37 per cent) — down slightly on last year’s 40 per cent high. A quarter of submissions came from USA and Canada, consistent with 2016. UK submissions recovered this year, up from 15 per cent to 17 per cent.

2.4 Editorial Processing Time (Tables 3-6)

Table 1 shows that 884 regular submissions were dealt with by the Editors alone (summarily rejected). The Editors do this for papers that in their view have a low probability of getting published in order to help keep turnaround times down.

Editorial turnaround times (Table 3) remain quick. Only 3 per cent of papers took longer than five months, with only 1 per cent taking longer than six months.

The ability of the Editors to keep turnaround times down is in no small part owing to the quick response we get from the referees. Table 4 (in the full report only) shows that 58 per cent of referees responded within two months — this is a slight drop from last year’s high of 64 per cent. Table 3 also shows response times separately for papers that were invited to revise and resubmit and those that were rejected. Of authors invited to revise and resubmit, 61 per cent received a decision within four months.

Table 5 (in the full report only) shows the number of new submissions handled by each Editor and the number of resubmitted revisions (as shown by the +).

Table 6 (in the full report only) shows the number of papers submitted to the conference volume and decisions made.

2.5 Rankings and impact factors (Table 7)

In June 2017, the 2016 Impact Factors were released and the journal saw an increase in its Impact Factor on 2015, from 2.370 to 2.608.1

2.6 Plagiarism checking 

Three years ago we introduced a new system under which we scan all accepted papers through anti-plagiarism software before publication. We use iThenticate software, recommended by Wiley. The software has mainly flagged up issues related to authors omitting to reference their own prior work. These omissions have been rectified before publication. We will continue to operate this policy.

2.7 Social media

The journal launched its Twitter feed in April 2013. The feed provides access to articles, media briefings and news.

2.8 Circulation statistics and membership of the RES (Tables 8-10)

These are shown in Tables 9 and 10 below. Additional data is contained in table 8, available in the full report only. Table 9 shows a slight trend away from print to online membership. However this masks an earlier, sharp, movement from away print towards online that occurred earleir between 2012 and 2015. This earlier shift is shown in table 9 in the full report. The fuller version of the table also shows strong growth in membership from 3179 members in 2012 to 3918 in 2017. Table 10 shows that approximately half of RES members are based overseas. Table 10 in the full report shows that this proportion has held fairly steady since 2012.

2.9 Page budget

For 2017 and 2018, the page budget was increased to allow for an additional 25 papers per year to clear the backlog of regular papers.

Two bumper ‘Feature’ issues (Oct 2017 and July 2018) with approximately 25 papers each will publish the final features in the EJ and close this part of the journal. These issues will be published outside of the normal EJ page budget.

3. Prizewinners

The 2016 prize winners have been included below. 2017 winners will be announced at the annual RES conference at the University of Sussex in March 2018.

3.1 Austin Robinson Memorial Prize 

Awarded to the best paper published in the Economic Journal in a given year by an author (or multiple authors) who is within 5 years of receiving his or her (or their) PhD as selected by the Editors of the Economic Journal.

The 2016 Austin Robinson Memorial Prize was awarded to Sergey Nigai (ETH Zurich) for his article published in June 2016: ‘On Measuring the Welfare Gains from Trade Under Consumer Heterogeneity.’

3.2 RES Prize 

Awarded to the best paper published in the Economic Journal in a given year as selected by the RES President, a representative of the Economic Journal Editorial Board and one invited judge from the RES Council.

The 2016 RES prize was awarded to Dan Anderberg (Royal Holloway, University of London), Helmut Rainer (University of Munich and Ifo Institute), Jonathan Wadsworth (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Tanya Wilson (University of Stirling) at the Royal Economic Society’s 2017 Conference for their article published in the journal November 2016: ‘Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence.’

3.3 Referee prizes

Up to 14 prizes awarded each year for referees judged by the Editors to have made an outstanding contribution in this capacity. The 2016 winners were:

Anna Aizer, Brown University
Massimiliano Amarante, Université de Montréal
Matthew Elliott, University of Cambridge
Raymond Fisman, Boston University
David Hemous, University of Zurich
John Bailey Jones, University at Albany, SUNY
Kevin Lang, Boston University
Lucas Maestri, FGV/EPGE
Luigi Pascali, University of Warwick
Hillel Rapoport, Paris School of Economics
Kate Smith, Institute for Fiscal Studies
Vincent Sterk, University College London
Jan Stuhler, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Nora Traum, North Carolina State University

4. Altmetric report

From January 2017 to January 2018, 349 EJ articles received online mentions recorded by Altmetric. A large part of the activity came from Twitter (4,738 tweeters). 

EJ articles were mentioned in 610 policy papers, published by Institute for Fiscal Studies, UK Government (GOV.UK), National Bureau of Economic Research, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank, to name just five examples.

News Outlets contributed the 420 mentions in total. Both national news outlets such as BBC News, The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph, and local press, have mentioned EJ articles.

Blogs, such as the LSE Business Review, OECD Insights Blog, Dynamic Ecology, and Marginal Revolution, have mentioned EJ articles in the past year.

There were 90 Wikipedia pages that mentioned articles.

In the past year there were over 17,000 readers of articles on Mendeley and Altmetric has recorded 115 Facebook wall posts that mention the EJ.

The highest scoring Altmetric Article in the last 12 months is: ‘Are You Happy While You Work?’ by Alex Bryson and George MacKerron, Economic Journal, January 2016, with a score of 645.


1. For further discussion of the EJ and its impact factor see Newsletter no. 180, January 2018 p.5