January 2014 newsletter – Economic Journal – Managing Editors’ Report

The annual report of the editor of the Economic Journal was presented to Council in November. This is an edited version.


• We thank Steve Machin, who came to the end of his term this year, for his contribution to the Journal. We welcome Morten Ravn as a new Joint Managing Editor.

• Total submissions to the regular journal increased by 6 per cent to 969. We received a total of 1082 submissions including conference and feature submissions.

• Average turnaround times fell to 7.7 weeks across all submissions.

• The impact factor for the journal rose to 2.118.

• We introduced a trial to scan all accepted papers through anti-plagiarism software before publication.

• The EJ launched its twitter account and participated in the launch of the RES YouTube channel.

• We initiated plans for a special issue of the Journal to mark the 125th Anniversary of the EJ and the RES.

Journal and Editorial Performance

Changes in Editors
This year has seen some changes to the Editorial team at the Economic Journal. Steve Machin stepped down after 15 years as Joint Managing Editor and Features Editor. Morten Ravn joined as Managing Editor in 2013.

The team as of January 2014 will be:

Joint Managing Editors
Martin Cripps, University College London
Andrea Galeotti, University of Essex
Rachel Griffith, University of Manchester and IFS
Morten Ravn, University College London
Kjell Salvanes, NHH
Frederic Vermeulen, University of Leuven

Publishing Editor
Stephanie Seavers, IFS

Submissions (Tables 1- 3)
Submissions have continued to increase (Table 1). Regular submissions rose by 6 per cent, feature submissions by 22 per cent and conference submissions by 19 per cent.

The geographic distribution of submissions (Table 2) has remained reasonably steady, with the largest share coming from Europe (42 per cent), a slight decrease from last year, followed by North America (2.05 per cent), a slight increase from last year. UK submissions rose slightly to 20.5 per cent, perhaps owing to the REF 2014.

The subject breakdown of submissions (Table 3) shows the largest percentage of submissions were in the field of Microeconomics (20 per cent), then Mathematical and Quantitative Methods (14 per cent) and Labour and Demographic Economics (12 per cent). All submissions in these areas saw a slight increase from last year.

Editorial Processing Time (Tables 4-6)
Editorial processing and turn-around times (Table 4) have improved. The average turn-around time for the most recent period is 7.7 weeks across all submissions. Around 40 per cent of papers were dealt with by Editors alone (screen rejected) within two weeks. Only 6 per cent of papers took longer than 5 months and only 2 per cent took longer than 6 months.

The ability of Editors to keep turnaround times down is in no small part due to the quick response we get from referees. Table 4 shows that over 80 per cent of referees responded within 2 months, reducing the average turnaround time for references to just 5.77 weeks.

Rankings and Impact Factors (Table 6)
Table 6 shows the 2 year impact factor for the Economic Journal. It has risen to 2.118. The EJ’s relative ranking is 38/332 in the Economics category, rising two places from last year (statistics provided by Wiley-Blackwell).

Plagiarism Checking
We introduced a new system under which we scan all accepted papers through anti-plagiarism software before publication. We are using 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.

Social media
The EJ launched its twitter feed in April 2013. The feed provides access to articles, media briefings and news. It was displayed at the RES Conference to encourage debate and interest in the journal and the society. To date, the feed has over 1,200 followers.

The EJ, with aid from the Media Consultant Romesh Vaitilingam, commissioned short video interviews of the winners of the EJ prizes 2012. The videos were launched with the RES YouTube Channel in June. They gave excellent exposure to both the authors and the EJ, and have been viewed over 7000 times.

Special issue
We are organising a special issue of the EJ to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the EJ and the RES. The issue will bring together articles by top international economists commenting on seminal papers published in past issues of the EJ. The issue will be published in February 2015 and special sessions will be given at the RES Conference 2015 to mark its publication.

Circulation statistics (Table 7)
There are currently 1672 institutional subscriptions to the Economic Journal. This compares with 1724 at the end of 2012. As in previous years we expect further renewals to be confirmed well into the final quarter of the year.

In addition to the above there are 40 reduced rate institutional subscriptions in China as part of our arrangement with the World Publishing Corporation (WPC) which is based in China and markets selected journals locally at a discounted rate. There were 48 in 2012.

Membership of the RES (Tables 8, 9)
Total membership currently stands at 3322, compared with 3179 at the end of 2012. As usual we expect further growth in the final quarter.

Paid membership of the Royal Economic Society has increased by 5 per cent to 3055 from 2907 in 2012, and by 15 per cent since 2011. 1020 members have taken the new option for online membership, introduced for 2012.

The number of student members has increased by 19 per cent to 1075 from 903 in 2012, and by 52 per cent since 2011. There are currently 794 student members with online membership, 153 of which joined this year at the new one year only rate.

Overall 59 per cent of paid members now have online only membership and do not receive a print copy of the EJ.

JSTOR Statistics (Tables 10 to 13)
JSTOR’s ‘Register and Read’ requires users to register for a MyJSTOR account. Users self-report profile information during registration. Users may update their information at any time. Since March 2012, JSTOR have provided statistics on who is reading the Economic Journal.

Prizes and EJ Lecture

RES Prize
The 2012 RES Prize for the best non-solicited paper published in the Economic Journal was decided by a committee consisting of Richard Blundell (RES President), Marcel Fafchamps (Oxford University) and EJ Joint Managing Editor, Andrea Galeotti. The prize was awarded to Michael Clemens, Steven Radelet, Rhikil Bhavnani and Samuel Bazzi for their paper ‘Counting Chickens when they Hatch: Timing and the Effects of Aid on Growth’, Volume 122, Issue 561, pp.590-617.

The next Royal Economic Society Prize of £3,000 for the best paper in the Economic Journal for the year 2013 will be decided in the coming months.

Austin Robinson Prize
The Austin Robinson Memorial Prize was introduced in 2007 for the best paper published in the Economic Journal by an author who is within five years of completing their PhD. The prize, adjudicated by the Economic Journal editors, is given annually and includes an award of £2,000.

The 2011 Austin Robinson Memorial prize was awarded to Wen-tai Hsu of the Singapore Management University, for his paper ‘Central Place Theory and City Size Distribution’, Volume 122, Issue 563, pp.903-932.

EJ Referee Prizes
The Economic Journal depends greatly on the service of its referees for the functioning of the peer review process. The EJ Referee Prizes are presented to those referees that have contributed beyond the call of duty through their thoroughness and constructive feedback to the authors, and sometimes through the number of reports that they write. The Editors chose 12 winners for the referee prize for 2012. We thank all of these individuals for their outstanding support of the Journal, and the service they have provided to the authors. The 2012 winners are:

• Peter Davis, Compasslexcon
• Matthias Doepke, Northwestern University
• Renato Faccini, Queen Mary University
• Gianluca Femminis, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
• Delia Furtado, University of Connecticut
• David Gill, University of Oxford
• Christian Hilber, London School of Economics
• Friederike Mengel, University of Essex
• Martin O’Connell, Institute for Fiscal Studies
• Jan van Ours, Tilburg University
• Danila Serra, Southern Methodist University
• Fabian Waldinger, University of Warwick

2012 Annual Conference and EJ Conference Volume 
The EJ Lecture this year was given at the RES Annual Conference at Royal Holloway University of London by
Raquel Fernández (New York University) on ‘Female Labour Force Participation and Marital Instability’. Raquel’s paper will be published in the conference volume.

A video interview discussing her research was made at the conference:
http://www.res.org.uk/ view/lecturesEconomic.html.

Keynote lectures given by Charles Manski and Richard Blundell will also be published in the conference volume and video interviews were conducted with these authors.


Looking Forward
The main job of the Joint Managing Editors and Publishing Editor is to ensure that turn-around times remain low and that the best quality papers are accepted for publication; this will remain the focus of our efforts and attention.

Looking forward, we are considering ways that we can work with the publishers to raise the profile of the journal nationally and internationally. The EJ will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2015 and we are planning on publishing a bumper special anniversary issue. We are also running targeted marketing campaigns and considering ways to develop the ancillary resources that are available with published articles.