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 online 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 herself 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. Before giving a revise and resubmit decision to any paper (or in case of doubt), the Coeditor in charge will consult a second Coeditor of his/her choosing. He/she remains the Coeditor in charge, and is free to decide however he/she wants, but can use the input of the second Coeditor to reach a decision or to provide input in a potential revision letter. If the paper is accepted, the main Coeditor in charge will be identified in the acknowledgement note in the published article.
Peer Review, Confidentiality, and Editorial Handling
There are several rules that affect assignment of manuscripts.
Conflict of interest: Coeditor in charge
(i) Coeditors are recused from papers involving current colleagues at the same institution (regardless of department), as well as graduate students at the same institution.
(ii) Coeditors are recused from papers involving coauthors of current papers or papers published less than 2 years ago.
(iii) Coeditors are recused from papers involving untenured students that they advised.
(iv) Coeditors are recused from papers involving a family member.
(v) Coeditors must disclose any other close personal or professional relationship, even if not listed here (e.g. coauthor of a current project, former tenured student that the Coeditor is still close to, advisee of author etc.) which, in their opinion, create a conflict.
Conflict of interest: Consulting coeditor
(i) Coeditors are recused from consulting on papers involving colleagues in the same department, but can consult on papers from authors in different departments in the same institution.
(ii) Coeditors are recused from consulting on papers involving untenured students they advised, if these students have graduated less than 3 years ago, or if the paper was part of the student’s dissertation.
(iii) Coeditors are recused from consulting on papers involving a family member.
(iv) Coeditors must disclose any other close personal or professional relationship, even if not listed here (e.g. coauthor of a current project, former tenured student that the Coeditor is still close to, advisee of author etc.) which, in their opinion, create a conflict to consult on the paper.
It is the responsibility of the Coeditor to identify conflict to the editor in charge. Authors can also signal conflict in their cover letter. 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.
Given the forthcoming launch of the AER: Insights journal, the Review has discontinued the Shorter Papers section. Short papers may of course be submitted, and will be given full consideration (in fact, the AER would welcome short and impactful papers), but they will be published as regular papers.
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.
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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The author has the right to republish, post on servers, redistribute to lists and use any component of this work in other works. For others to do so requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Permissions may be requested from the American Economic Association Business Office.