January 2015 newsletter – Economic Journal – Managing editors’ report

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

• Regular submissions to the journal increased by 9 per cent to 1050 (Table 1).
• We received a total of 1175 submissions, including conference papers and submissions to Features (Table 1).
• The biggest increase in submissions was from the US and China (Table 2).
• 53 per cent of submissions were dealt with by editors alone (desk rejected); of these 90 per cent were returned to authors within 14 days, the remaining 10 per cent were returned within one month (Table 4).
• Referees responded in an average of 7.7 weeks; 90 per cent of referees responded within 3 months (Table 4). The editors are very grateful to the referees for their excellent performance.
• Across all papers the average turnaround time fell to 6.4 weeks. (Table 4); for papers sent to referees the average turn around time was 13 weeks. We do not report turnaround times separately for papers dealt with by editors alone and those sent to referees.
• Tables 5-7 show further turnaround statistics.
• The impact factor of the Economic Journal has risen from 2.118 to 2.587, placing the journal 27/332 in Economics (compared to 38/333 last year) (Table 8).
• All accepted papers are now passed through anti-plagiarism software before publication.
• The EJ continues to use its twitter account to promote EJ content.
• The Economic Journal will be celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 2015 with a special Anniversary issue; this will be published at the Annual Conference on 30 March 2015, and a number of special sessions will be arranged around the papers in the issue.

Journal and editorial performance
Editorial team
The current editorial team consists of:

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

Production Editor – David Mayes
Publishing Editor – Benita Rajania, IFS

Joachim Voth (Zurich) will join the editorial team in June 2015. The Publication Editor Stephanie Seavers recently gave birth to a baby girl and is on maternity leave. Benita Rajania has joined the team.

Submissions (Tables 1- 3)
Submissions have continued to increase (Table 1). Regular submissions rose by 9 per cent, Features submissions by 29 per cent and Conference Volume submissions by 1 per cent. The geographic distribution of submissions (Table 2) has remained reasonably steady, with the largest share coming from Europe (40 per cent), a slight decrease from last year, followed by North America (23 per cent), with a strong increase in submissions from the US. UK submissions fell slightly to 19 per cent.

Table 1: Submissions 1 July – 30 June

Table 2: Geographical Distribution of Submissions 1 July – 30 June

The subject breakdown of submissions (Table 3) shows the largest percentage of submissions were in the field of Microeconomics (22 per cent), Mathematical and Quantitative Methods (16 per cent) and Labour and Demographic Economics (12 per cent).

Table 3: Breakdown of Submissions by JEL code 1 July – 30 June

Notes: Accepted papers (in brackets). *Submissions before 2012 include regular submissions only. Submissions after 2012 include all submission including Conference Volume and Features papers. ** 207 out of 1175 submissions did not include JEL information on the submission, and 12 out of 30 accepted papers did not include JEL data.

Editorial processing time (Tables 4-7)
Editorial turn-around times (Table 4) remain quick, and have improved slightly. The average turn-around time for the most recent period is 6.4 weeks across all submissions and 13 weeks for papers sent to referees. Only 3 per cent of papers took longer than 5 months and only 1 per cent took longer than 6 months. 53 per cent of papers were dealt with by Editors alone (screen 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.

Table 4: Editorial Turnaround Statistics 1 July – 30 June

Table 5: Editorial Response Times for Decisions Made 1 July – 30 June

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 65 per cent of referees responded within 2 months, a drop from last year which is reflected in the slight rise in the average turnaround time for references to 7.7 weeks.

Table 5 shows response times separately for papers that were invited to revise and resubmit and those that were rejected. 63 per cent of rejected authors were informed within 1 month (most of these were desk rejects), while very few took 6 months or longer to receive a decision. Of authors invited for revision, 43 per cent received a decision within 3 months and 98 per cent received a decision in less than 6 months.

Table 6 shows the number of new submissions handled by each Editor, and in brackets the number of resubmitted revisions handled.

Table 6: New submissions (revisions), by editor

Table 7 shows the number of papers submitted to the Conference Volume and decisions made.

Table 7: Details of submissions to the Conference Volume and decisions taken

Rankings and Impact Factors (Table 8) 
Table 8 shows the 2-year impact factor for the Economic Journal. It has risen to 2.587. The EJ’s relative ranking is 27/332 in the Economics Category, rising 11 places from last year (statistics provided by Wiley-Blackwell).

Table 8: Journal impact factor

Plagiarism Checking
Last year 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.

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 2,377 followers.

Special Issue
The Economic Journal will be celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2015. We will publish a special anniversary issue that brings together articles by top international economists commenting on seminal papers published in past issues of the EJ. The issue will be published in at the 2015 RES Conference and special sessions will be organised to mark its publication. Contributors include Daron Acemoglu, Philippe Aghion, Anthony Atkinson, Orazio Attanasio, Alan Auerbach, Han Bleichrodt, Lawrence Blume, Andrea Brandolini, Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Simon Dietz, James Heckman, Arthur Lewbel, John Pencavel, Tom Sargent Nick Stern, Joseph Stiglitz and Peter Wakker.

Circulation statistics and Membership of the RES
Wiley recorded 1667 institutional subscriptions to the Economic Journal at the end of 2013. This compares with 1724 at the end of 2012. In addition to the above there are 42 reduced rate institutional subscriptions in China in 2013 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.

Total membership currently stands at 3420, compared with 3526 at the end of 2013. 1280 members have taken the new option for online membership, introduced for 2012. There are currently 871 student members with online membership, 234 of which joined at one year rate. Overall 67 per cent of paid members now have online only membership and do not receive a print copy of the EJ.

Prizes and EJ Lecture
RES Prize
The Royal Economic Society Prize of £3,000 is given to the best non-solicited paper published in the Economic Journal. The prize is chosen by the editors and the President of the RES. In 2013 the prize was awarded to: Pau Olivella and Marcos Vera-Hernàndez (2013) ‘Testing for Asymmetric Information in Private Health Insurance’, Economic Journal, 123: 567, 96-130, March 2013.

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, chosen by the Economic Journal editors, is given annually and includes an award of £2,000. The 2013 Austin Robinson Memorial prize was awarded to: Johannes Spinnewijn (2013) ‘Insurance and Perceptions: How to Screen Optimists and Pessimists’, Economic Journal, 123: 569, 606-633, June 2013.

EJ Referee Prizes
The Economic Journal depends 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 2013. We thank all of these individuals for their outstanding support of the Journal, and the service they have provided to the authors. The 2013 winners are:

• Costas Arkolakis, Yale University
• Aaron Chalfin, University of Cincinnati
• James Cloyne, Bank of England
• Rosario Crino, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI)
• Jayant Ganguli, University of Essex
• Anthony Keats, Wesleyan University
• Molly Lipscomb, University of Virginia
• Rocco Macchiavello, Warwick University
• Alan Morrison, University of Oxford
• Tuomas Pekkarinen, Aalto University
• Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau, Carnegie Mellon University
• Abdolkarim Sadrieh, University of Magdeburg

Annual Conference
The EJ Lecture in 2014 was given by David Autor (MIT) at the RES Annual Conference at the University of Manchester. His lecture is available, along with the other keynote lectures and interviews, at:

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. We are very pleased that Joachim Voth (Zurich) will be joining the editorial team.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 will be publishing a special anniversary issue and holding special events. We are also running targeted marketing campaigns and considering ways to develop the ancillary resources that are available with published articles.