Advice to other journal editors

I get asked to review journal papers almost every day, and I have to say no to almost all of them. I know it is hard to find reviewers, but many of these requests indicate very lazy editors. So to all the editors out there looking for reviewers, here is some advice.

  1. Never ask someone who is an editor for another journal. I am handling about 500 submissions per year for the International Journal of Forecasting, and about 10 per year for the Journal of Statistical Software. There is very little time left to review for other journals. You are much better off identifying someone early in their career, within 10 years of finishing their PhD. They have more time, fewer requests, and are often looking to build an academic reputation.
  2. Look at the key papers cited in the submission, especially the recent ones, and then check the web sites of their authors. Find someone who is currently working in the area. For multi-authored papers, figure out which author was the PhD student, who was the professor, etc. If there was a post-doc involved, ask him/her.
  3. If that fails, do a Google Scholar search for an author who has written on the same topic recently. That is, in the last 2-3 years, not 10 years ago.
  4. If possible, ask someone who has recently authored a paper in your journal. They owe you one.
  5. Ask someone you know rather than a stranger. They are much more likely to say yes. If you don’t know many people you shouldn’t be an editor.

IJF best paper awards

Today at the International Symposium on Forecasting, I announced the awards for the best paper published in the International Journal of Forecasting in the period 2012-2013.

We make an award every two years to the best paper(s) published in the journal. There is always about 18 months delay after the publication period to allow time for reflection, citations, etc. The selected papers are selected by vote of the editorial board. The best paper wins an engraved bronze plaque and US$1000. Any other awards are in the form of certificates. Continue reading →

What to cite?

This question comes from a comment on another post:

I’ve seen authors citing as many references as possible to try to please potential referees. Many of those references are low quality papers though. Any general guidance about a typical length for the reference section?

It depends on the subject and style of the paper. I’ve written a paper with over 900 citations, but that was a review of time series forecasting over a 25 year period, and so it had to include a lot of references.

I’ve also written a paper with just four citations. As it was a commentary, it did not need a lot of contextual information.

Rather than provide guidance on the length of the reference section, I think it is better to follow some general principles of citation in research. Continue reading →

Nominations for best International Journal of Forecasting paper, 2012-2013

Every two years, the International Journal of Forecasting awards a prize for the best paper published in a two year period. It is now time to identify the best paper published in the IJF during 2012 and 2013. There is always about 18 months delay after the publication period to allow time for reflection, citations, etc. The prize is US$1000 plus an engraved plaque. Continue reading →