What is going on?

I seem to be getting an increasing number of submissions where the author has clearly not bothered to actually check that the paper was submitted correctly. Here is a rejection letter I wrote today.

Dear xxxxx

I am writing concerning manuscript #INTFOR_16xxxxx entitled “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” which you submitted to the International Journal of Forecasting.

Thank you for this submission, but as it consists entirely of the IJF author guidelines, it is not suitable for publication in the IJF. We publish original research, not author guidelines. Perhaps the Journal for Guidelines would be an appropriate outlet.

In future, when you are asked to check the pdf of your paper, you might find it useful to actually do so, rather than just claim to have done so. That way, you might avoid this kind of mistake.

In the light of the comments above, I have chosen not to publish your manuscript in the International Journal of Forecasting. I know this will be disappointing to you, but we receive a large number of submissions and can only publish a small percentage of them.

Thank you for considering the International Journal of Forecasting for the publication of your research. I hope the outcome of this specific submission will not discourage you from the submission of future manuscripts.

Prof. Rob J Hyndman
Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Forecasting

The latest IJF issue with GEFCom2014 results

The latest issue of the IJF is a bumper issue with over 500 pages of forecasting insights.

The GEFCom2014 papers are included in a special section on probabilistic energy forecasting, guest edited by Tao Hong and Pierre Pinson. This is a major milestone in energy forecasting research with the focus on probabilistic forecasting and forecast evaluation done using a quantile scoring method. Only a few years ago I was having to explain to energy professionals why you couldn’t use a MAPE to evaluate a percentile forecast. With this special section, we now have a tutorial review on probabilistic electric load forecasting by Tao Hong and Shu Fan, which should help everyone get up to speed with current forecasting approaches, evaluation methods and common misunderstandings. The section also contains a large number of very high quality articles showing how to do state-of-the-art density forecasting for electricity load, electricity price, solar and wind power. Moreover, we have some benchmarks on publicly available data sets so future researchers can easily compare their methods against these published results.

In addition to the special section on probabilistic energy forecasting, there is an invited review paper on call centre forecasting by Ibrahim, Ye, L’Ecuyer and Shen. This is an important area in practice, and this paper provides a helpful review of the literature, a summary of the key issues in building good models, and suggests some possible future research directions.

There is also an invited paper from Blasques, Koopman, Łasak and Lucas on “In-sample confidence bands and out-of-sample forecast bands for time-varying parameters in observation-driven models” with some great discussion from Catherine Forbes and Pierre Perron. This was the subject of Siem Jan Koopman’s ISF talk in 2014.

Finally, there are 18 regular contributed papers, more than we normally publish in a whole issue, on topics ranging from forecasting excess stock returns to demographics of households, from forecasting food prices, to evaluating forecasts of counts and intermittent demand. Check them all out on ScienceDirect.

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 →