The editor presented the 2017 Annual Report to the RES Executive Committee Meeting in February. The report covers the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. This is an edited version of that report which is available in full on the Society’s website.
1. Editorial board and office
The editorial process of The Econometrics Journal is overseen by its Managing Editor and Co-Editors, with the help of a Deputy Managing Editor and an Editorial Office. The Editorial Board is complemented by a large number of first-rate econometricians from around the world who, as Associate Editors, act as ambassadors, advisors, and senior referees of the Journal.
On 1 May 2017, Jaap Abbring replaced Richard Smith as Managing Editor. Richard has been key to the development of The Econometrics Journal. He was one of its founders in 1988 and reorganised it twice. Just over a decade ago, he introduced the current editorial structure, which, to this day, allows the Journal to draw on a large number of excellent econometricians for advice and support. Last year, he introduced the new editorial policy, which emphasises the rapid dissemination of original contributions to econometrics with demonstrable value to applied research in economics.
Deputy Managing Editor
On 1 May 2017, Tobias Klein started as Deputy Managing Editor, replacing Alexei Onatski, who served as Assistant Editor and Book Reviews Editor. Tobias will continue Alexei’s good work, but in the elevated role of Deputy Managing Editor. He will generally support the Managing Editor and the Co-Editors in the management of the Journal and its strategy and, more specifically, take the lead in screening new submissions, editing book reviews, checking replication packages, and turning accepted into published papers.
On 1 June 2017, John Rust joined The Econometrics Journal as a Co-Editor. The Co-Editors are now Victor Chernozhukov, Dennis Kristensen, Michael Jansson, and John Rust. John is not only a great researcher, but also a seasoned editor, with a keen interest in ensuring that econometrics is useful in applied research. This makes him a perfect fit to the Journal’s current editorial policy.
The Managing Editor, Co-Editors, and Deputy Managing Editor normally meet online in two Skype sessions per year. In 2017, we deviated from this norm by substituting a personal meeting at the January 2018 ASSA Meeting in Philadelphia for a second Skype meeting in December 2017.
We are delighted that nine Associate Editors have accepted renewed appointments for three years from 1 January 2017. Robert Taylor (University of Essex) and Quang Vuong (NYU) resigned from that same date and Alexei Onatski (University of Cambridge) resigned both as Associate Editor and as Assistant Editor and Books Review Editor from 1 May 2017. We thank them warmly for their services to the Journal.
We are happy to report that Pedro Carneiro (UCL) and Alfred Galichon (NYU) have agreed to join The Econometrics Journal as Associate Editors from 1 January 2018. Moreover, 28 Associate Editors have accepted renewed appointments starting 1 January 2018. Serena Ng (Columbia University) resigned from that same date; we thank her warmly for her service to the Journal.
On 1 May 2017, the Editorial Office moved with the Managing Editor and Deputy Managing Editor from the University of Cambridge to Tilburg University in the Netherlands. The Research Support Team of Tilburg University’s School of Economics and Management runs the Office. Janneke Schrama-Scheepens is the main Editorial Assistant and the primary Office contact. Other members of the Research Support Team take care of the Editorial Office in her absence.
The Cambridge Office facilitated the transition by providing documentation, setting up accounts, and transferring documents and emails. The Society’s Office set up email accounts in the res.org.uk domain. Wiley created an account on its content management system for the Journal’s web site.
The new Editorial Office met weekly with the Managing Editor and the Deputy Managing Editor. It has adopted Slack for organizing the workflow and the corresponding internal communications between the Editorial Assistant, the Managing Editor, the Deputy Managing Editor, and the research assistants charged with checking replication packages. It has started using Dropbox for storing and exchanging files.
The Editorial Office continued to send monthly reports on the flow of papers at the Journal to all Associate Editors and Co-Editors, often including some news from the Managing Editor.
2. Editorial policy
Submission guidelines and review process
We have implemented the new editorial policy that was developed in 2016, for all submissions from 1 January 2017 onwards. The goal of this new policy is the rapid and early dissemination of research in econometrics that is of substantive applied value. We pursue this goal by inviting submissions of shorter and more focused papers that demonstrate their applied value with an empirical illustration and striving to have these submissions
• assigned to an Editor or screen rejected within one week;
• peer reviewed within three months;
• revised quickly, by avoiding multiple and major revisions; and
• published online immediately after acceptance.
To facilitate such quick review and online publication, we require that all submissions follow strict new guidelines. In particular, they need to be typeset in the Journal style using its LaTeX template.
We have been and will be working hard on making this new policy a success, so that The Econometrics Journal will be the outlet of choice for econometric research that matters. A review of the first year under the new policy showed that we have been able to deliver the quick review and publication it promised, but also that its new focus and submission guidelines may have confused or deterred some prospective contributors. In response, at the end of 2017, we have updated the web site to more clearly communicate the editorial policy and advertise the Journal. We also fine-tuned the submission guidelines and streamlined the editorial process more generally. Finally, we have started a range of new initiatives, recorded in this report, to draw attention to our new editorial policy.
Following a pilot in 2017 that showed this to be feasible and useful, The Econometrics Journal now systematically checks all replication packages of newly accepted papers for completeness, proper documentation, and functionality. These checks will limit the publication of glaring mistakes by forcing authors to double check their data, code and results before publication. They will also ensure that empirical and computational results are replicable and that proposed methods can easily be used, thus increasing the credibility and usefulness of The Econometrics Journal.
The Editors do not intend to check for robustness, whether methods are appropriate, etcetera. Rather, they will simply check whether the submitted software and data are consistent with the results reported in the papers. The Deputy Managing Editor manages the replication file checks at The Econometrics Journal, aided by a pool of expert research assistants, who are all PhD students at Tilburg University.
The checks are part of a broader initiative of the Royal Economic Society1 to promote replicability of research by improving the replication standards at its journals.
Some care needs to be taken in comparing submissions under the new editorial policy in 2017 with submissions in earlier years. The new policy requires that submissions are typeset in the Journalstyle using our LaTeX template (with exceptions for papers written in Word, etcetera). Submissions in 2017 that were not typeset in the Journal style were desk rejected by the Editorial Assistant before being entered into Editorial Express® and reviewed by the Editors. As a result, they are not counted as submissions in Editorial Express®. However, many, but not all, of these would have counted as summary rejections by an Editor in previous years (in which they would have trivially complied with the style requirements). Therefore, in comparisons with earlier years, it is appropriate to include many, but not all, of the submissions in 2017 that were desk rejected by the Editorial Office. To keep this practical, we simply report the extremes in which either all or none of these submissions are included.
Table 1 reports the number of new submissions and resubmissions in 2017, 2016, and 2015. The statistics for 2016 and 2015 cannot be found in earlier Annual Reports, because these covered July-June periods. To allow comparison with these earlier Annual Reports and the tables in Appendix B of the full report, on line, (which are updated tables from the previous Annual Report), we have also included statistics for the last two reporting periods, July 2015 June 2016 and July 2014 June 2015.
In 2017, the Editors handled 73 new submissions (against 176 in 2016 and 168 in 2015) and the Office rejected 109 submissions that were not typeset in the Journal style. Only 25 of the latter were resubmitted successfully in 2017 and also counted among the 73 proper submissions.2 Thus, a reasonable upper bound on a comparable number of submissions in 2017 is 182 – 25 = 157; a lower bound is the number of submissions handled by the Editors, 73. Robustly, there were fewer new submissions in 2017 (but not so many fewer as suggested by the 73 papers handled by the Editors).
Our radical editorial change has likely reduced submissions in the short term.3 After all, the cost of meeting the new submission guidelines presented itself immediately, but the benefits, such as faster review, only reveal themselves now. More generally, it will take time for authors to get to know and appreciate the Journal’s new policy.
We continued to use Editorial Express® for the review process, to our full satisfaction. In 2017, 45 (61.6 per cent) of the 73 new submissions that conformed with the guidelines were summarily rejected. If we include the 109 submissions that were desk rejected by the Editorial Office, 154 (84.6 per cent) of 182 new submissions were summarily rejected. The corresponding percentages for 2016 and 2015 are 77.8 per cent and 78.6 per cent, respectively.
Figure 1 plots the cumulative distributions of the time from a new submission to a first editorial decision in 2017 (with and without submissions desk rejected by the Editorial Office), 2016, and 2015.4 As some, but not all, submissions desk rejected by the Editorial Office in 2017 would have counted as summary rejections in 2016 and 2015, we would expect the distributions for those earlier years to lie between the two distributions for 2017 if review times were stable. This is not the case. Robustly, decisions were delivered faster under the new editorial policy in 2017 than in earlier years.
In 2017, between 53.4 per cent and 81.3 per cent of submissions were handled within 7 days. In contrast, in 2016 and 2015, only 9.1 per cent and 5.4 per cent of submissions were handled so quickly, despite the large shares of summary rejections in those years. Thus, we have moved from normally taking (way) more than a week for summary rejections to mostly handling these within a week (and often within a few days).
Similarly, between 93.5 per cent and 97.4 per cent of new submissions were handled within three months in 2017, a major improvement over the corresponding 82.4 per cent and 82.7 per cent in 2016 and 2015. Preliminary evidence also suggests that we avoided major and multiple revisions. The first revisions of new submissions in 2017 that we received were all accepted within a few days.
All in all, the review performance in 2017 is in line with the new editorial policy, which strives to screen within 7 days, review within three months, and avoid major and multiple revisions. We have been and are further streamlining the editorial procedures to further reduce the review times and fully implement the policy to avoid major and multiple revisions.
Replication file checks
As part of the pilot, from August 2017, the Deputy Managing Editor has set up an infrastructure, using Slack, Dropbox, and standardized procedures and forms, to check, with the help of a pool of expert research assistants, all replication packages for completeness, proper documentation, and functionality. Four PhD students, all fully employed by Tilburg University, have been (and are) providing services as research assistants in this pool (at the expense of the Society).
Once the Society decided, based on the pilot, to structurally support this facility, we have added a few sentences to the acceptance emails in Editorial Express® to make all acceptance decisions explicitly conditional on passing the replication file checks. Based on our initial experiences, and after consulting with the Co-Editors, we have improved the replication instructions to authors. The replication checks now run smoothly.
The Journals freelance copyeditor, Rachel Lumpkin, resigned. We have set up a new production arrangement with Mattson Publishing Services in Baltimore, MD, for 2018, with the option to renew. Rachel Lumpkin has kindly taken up some work for 2018 to smoothen the transition. We have also received good support from Wiley.
Most downloaded papers in 2017
Jianqing Fan, Yuan Liao and Han Liu (Feb 2016): ‘An overview of the estimation of large covariance and precision matrices’
Ivan Canay (Oct 2011): ‘A simple approach to quantile regression for panel data’
Manuel Arellano and Stéphane Bonhomme (Oct 2016): ‘Nonlinear panel data estimation via quantile regressions’
Yu-Chin Hsu (Feb 2017): ‘Consistent tests for conditional treatment effects’
Alfred Galichon (Jun 2017): ‘A survey of some recent applications of optimal transport methods to econometrics’
Yannick Hoga (Feb 2017): ‘Testing for changes in (extreme) VaR’
Søren Johansen, Rocco Mosconi and Bent Nielsen (Jul 2000): ‘Cointegration analysis in the presence of structural breaks in the deterministic trend’
Giovanni Compiani and Yuichi Kitamura (Oct 2016): ‘Using mixtures in econometric models: a brief review and some new results’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ectj.12068/abstract/
O E Barndorff-Nielsen, P. Reinhard Hansen, A. Lunde and N. Shephard (Nov 2009): ‘Realized kernels in practice: trades and quotes’
The Journal has published a Special Issue on ‘Econometrics of Matching’. The papers in this Special Issue arose out of the invited presentations given in theThe Econometrics Journal the Royal Economic Society.
The Journal has also published a Special Issue on ‘Econometrics of Networks’. The Editorial Board of The Econometrics Journal occasionally commissions Special Issues on subjects of current interest and importance. ‘Econometrics of Networks’ is such a subject.
Richard Smith edited a Special Issue on ‘Model Selection and Inference’. The paper in this Special Issue originated in the invited presentations given in The Econometrics Journal Special Session on this topic at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society.
The Journal is tentatively committed to a Special Issue on ‘Recent Developments in Nonlinear Econometric Modelling’, based on papers from the fifth International Symposium in Computational Economics and Finance (ISCEF2018) in Paris in April 2018. We will confirm this Special Issue after an initial screening of the submissions. Dennis Kristensen will be the Co-Editor in charge.
The Editors have decided to each year commission one larger article that reviews important new developments in econometrics and guides empirical researchers in their application. The articles will be written and reviewed over the course of each calendar year and published in the next. Sanjog Misra (Chicago Booth) has agreed to write an article in 2018, for publication in 2019, on the use of structural models and machine learning for firm policy making.
The 2016 Journal Citation Reports® (Clarivate Analytics, 2017) for The Econometrics Journal show that its (two-year) Journal Impact Factor has dropped to 0.513, while its five-year Impact Factor is stable at an all-time high of 1.583 in 2016. The Econometrics Journal was cited 791 times in 2016, a 26.4 per cent increase over 2015.
The new editorial policy and many of the current activities of The Econometrics Journal aim at promoting econometrics that matters and increasing the Journal’s influence on both econometrics and empirical economics. However, it will take some for this effect to be measured by the Impact Factors. The Impact Factors reported here cover citations of articles published in 2015 and before. Therefore, they do not reflect the impact of the new editorial policy, which only affected submissions from 2017 onwards (which will result in publications from 2018 onwards). The 2019 Impact Factors, which will become available halfway 2020, will be the first that (partly) cover publications under the new policy.
The RES Past President, Andrew Chesher, presented the 2015 Denis Sargan Econometrics Prize to Igor Kheifets (ITAM) at its 2017 Annual Conference for his paper ‘Specification tests for nonlinear dynamic models’ (Ects J, February 2015).
The Editors of The Econometrics Journal decided that the 2016 Denis Sargan Econometrics Prize will be shared equally between Ulrich Hounyo (SUNY Albany) and Bezirgen Veliyev (Aarhus) for their article ‘Validity of Edgeworth expansions for realized volatility estimators’ in the February 2016 issue of The Econometrics Journal. The Prize will be presented to Ulrich and Bezirgen by Andrew Chesher at the 2018 Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society.
Each year, the Editors of The Econometrics Journal organize a Special Session on a subject of current interest and importance at the Annual Conference of the RES. At the 2017 Annual Conference in Bristol, the Editors organized a Special Session on ‘Econometrics of Games’. Elie Tamer (Harvard) shared his thoughts on causal inference in games, with special attention to the role of simultaneity. Phil Haile (Yale) presented joint work with Yuichi Kitamura on the empirical analysis of auctions with unobserved heterogeneity. The Journal expects to report further on this event in a future Special Issue on ‘Econometrics of Games’. For the 2018 Annual Conference, the Editors prepared a Special Session on ‘Structural Macroeconometrics’, with presentations by Barbara Rossi (UPF/BGSE) and Marco del Negro (NY Fed).
Three Co-Editors (Dennis Kristensen, Victor Chernozhukov, and John Rust) and the Managing Editor have been and are actively involved in organizing the 2nd Conference on Structural Dynamic Models in Copenhagen. The Econometrics Journal supports this conference and intends to publish a Special Issue to disseminate its findings. See http://www.econ.ku.dk/cce/events/Dynamics2018/ for details.
In October 2017, the Society’s Executive Committee accepted the Managing Editor’s proposal that, from 2019, The Econometrics Journal will sponsor and publish the Sargan Lecture at the Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society, with the following remit:
The Sargan Lecture commemorates the fundamental contributions to and profound influence on econometrics by (John) Denis Sargan. It does so by promoting econometric theory and methods with substantive direct or potential value in applications and their actual empirical application. The Sargan Lecture is sponsored and published by The Econometrics Journal.
We are very pleased and honoured that James Heckman (Chicago) has agreed to give the first Sargan Lecture under this new remit. James Heckman has deep knowledge of and affinity with the history of econometrics and has been putting state-of-the-art econometrics at the service of empirical economics for over four decades. He will both speak to the legacy of Denis Sargan and demonstrate the power of econometrics in advancing knowledge.
6. External communication
We have updated the Journal’s web content at ectj.org. In particular, we have made our submission guidelines, replication policy, and disclosure policy more salient there, with links from the Journal landing page in Editorial Express®. We intend to have this content migrated when the Society develops a new web site. We have increasingly been using news items on the Society’s web site to promote the Journal.
We have transferred our database of over 1700 email addresses to a mail list server, with the options to subscribe and unsubscribe. Only the Editorial Office will post to this list and will do so sparingly. We sent our Newsletter no. 7 to these contacts (before the transfer to a server) in January 2017. We skipped our usual Summer Newsletter, which would have come shortly after the change of Office. Instead, we sent an extensive Newsletter no. 8 in the beginning of 2018.
Wiley sent an email advertising the Journal to its own contacts. It also kindly offered to produce promotional material, which we followed up on in our preparations for the 2018 Annual Conference.
We are very grateful for the support of the Royal Economic Society and its officers. Particular recognition should be given to the Editors and the anonymous referees, whose efforts ensure that the quality of The Econometrics Journal is maintained and improved. We are also grateful for the assistance offered by our publishers at Wiley.
1. Available at
2. Moreover, a few papers were submitted in the wrong format, and have been counted, more than once.
3. This is not evident though, as submissions were already down before we implemented the new editorial policy: Only 60 of the 176 new submissions in 2016 were submitted in the second half of that year.
4. For 2017, we used Kaplan-Meier estimators to correct for two submissions that were still under review when the data were extracted on 7 February 2018. Moreover, we imputed the times it took for the Editorial Office to desk reject the 109 submissions that did not conform with the guidelines to be uniformly distributed over 1, 2, and 3 days. These durations are not available from Editorial Express® and there is little point in hand collecting them, because the Office checked the submission holding tank on a daily basis (with some delays on weekends).