Advice to other journal editors


13 September 2015


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.