AER: Editorial Policy

Learn about AER Editorial Policy, including Peer Review, Confidentiality, Editorial Handling, Disclosure, Data Availability, and Copyright

Manuscripts submitted to the American Economic Review are handled by an Editor, several Coeditors, and a staff located in Pittsburgh, using an Internet-based manuscript management software system. Papers are submitted online electronically, processed by the Pittsburgh office staff, and then distributed by the Editor to one of the Coeditors or to himself to oversee the refereeing process and to make a publication decision. Papers are assigned on the basis of field of expertise of the Coeditor, combined with a variety of other considerations including equalization of work-load and conflict-of-interest rules. Once assigned, papers are handled by the designated Coeditor throughout the decision process, without review by the Editor.

Peer Review, Confidentiality, and Editorial Handling

There are several rules that affect assignment of manuscripts. Coeditors are generally not assigned manuscripts authored by an individual at his or her institution, by an individual with whom the Coeditor has been a recent coauthor, by an individual who has a close professional or personal relationship with the Coeditor, or by an individual who has served as a graduate student advisor or advisee of the Coeditor. Papers falling into these categories are handled by the Editor or by a different Coeditor with appropriate procedures for confidentiality of refereeing. Papers submitted by a Coeditor are handled by the Editor and papers submitted by the Editor are handled by a Coeditor, again employing appropriate confidentiality procedures.

Manuscripts are reviewed in a single-blind fashion. The name of the author is revealed to the referee(s), while the referee(s) remain anonymous to authors.

Comments submitted to the Review are refereed both by the author of the article being commented on and by other referees. Replies to Comments are sent to the author of the Comment and to other referees. There is no automatic right to Reply; the author of a Reply must provide substantive and material discussion of the issues in question. Comments and Replies which appear only on the AER Web page are also sometimes considered. These papers go through the same refereeing process as all Comments and Replies, but may be judged to be more appropriate for Internet posting instead of publication in the printed AER.

Papers appearing in the May issue of the Review, the issue containing the Papers and Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, are handled separately. The President-Elect of the Association chooses the papers for publication with advice from a team of experts in the various fields.

Disclosure Policy

When submitting papers for peer review, all authors must provide Disclosure Statements, identifying potential conflicts of interest. If authors have nothing to disclose, they are obligated to submit a statement explicitly stating this. Disclosure Statements should also disclose whether IRB approval was obtained for the project, and if not, state the reason(s). For published papers, a brief summary of potential conflicts of interest should appear in the acknowledgements footnote. A more detailed account will be available on the journal's website, posted with the paper.

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Data Availability Policy

It is the policy of the American Economic Review to publish papers only if the data used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented and are readily available to any researcher for purposes of replication. Details of the computations sufficient to permit replication must be provided. The Editor should be notified at the time of submission if the data used in a paper are proprietary, or if, for some other reason, the above requirements cannot be met.

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