GETTING YOUR ARTICLES PUBLISHED
PROBLEMS WITH STRUCTUREÂ
1. Paper length
Please read the journal guidelines forÂ submission, which are usually explicitlyÂ stated on the webpage. Make sure yourÂ paper is no longer than the suggestedÂ length. Most journals aim for papersÂ between 7,500 and 8,500 words. TheÂ reason is that publishers impose strict limitsÂ on the number of pages in each journalÂ issue, so the longer the paper, the fewerÂ articles we can place within a single issue.Â Some journals may accept longer papersÂ under specific circumstances (such asÂ literature reviews for instance), but to be onÂ the safe side, donâ€™t send in papers longer
than what is suggested.
Also, some journals may have a minimum lengthÂ requirement. Papers too short mayÂ get desk rejected. Lastly, a few journalsÂ have no limit per se, so it is alwaysÂ important to familiarize yourself with theÂ specifics of the journal where you areÂ sending your paper.
2. Graphs and tables
If your paper contains graphs and tables,Â five things are important to remember. First,Â make sure they are your own; or if you tookÂ them from elsewhere, you obtained theÂ permission for reproduction and the properÂ reference is given. Second, for both tablesÂ and graphs, please label them properly byÂ indicating precisely in what units the
variables being depicted are measured. Â Third, unless the journal is an online journalÂ only, the vast majority of journals areÂ published in black and white and, thus, beÂ sure not to submit multi-coloured graphs.Â Fourth, it is sometimes useful for reviewersÂ to have knowledge of the actual data usedÂ to generate the graphs or tables. Our adviceÂ is to attach also an accompanying fileÂ containing the actual data set. Fifth,Â remember that each table and graph takesÂ up space. In general, the publisher assumesÂ that they take up about 300 words of space,Â each. So make sure you add that to yourÂ calculations of word-length. If your paperÂ has 10 tables or graphs, that comes up to
about 3,000 words of space, and leaves youÂ only with about 4,500 words.
3. The quality of the English
Often, papers are either poorly written orÂ the English is not sufficiently polished. ThisÂ may be the case if your first language is notÂ English and you are submitting your paperÂ to an English journal (and even whenÂ English is your mother tongue). Although asÂ editors we welcome ideas from across theÂ globe, unfortunately, poorly written papers,
will almost always receive a bad review fromÂ the referees, and in some cases, a deskÂ reject. It is not the responsibility of theÂ editors or the proofreaders of the journal toÂ correct bad writing. Some editors will offerÂ some editing advice, but it is really yourÂ responsibility to ensure the quality of theÂ English. Please, get your paper re-read byÂ someone who has a good command of theÂ English language. Also, keep in mind thatÂ if you need help with your writing, there areÂ professional editors who do this for aÂ living. It is a good investment for thoseÂ needing help with the English. WeÂ recommend reading The Elements of StyleÂ by William Strunk and E.B. White; it is aÂ great little with book with lots of usefulÂ advice.
4. Mathematical Equations
If your paper is technical to some degree,Â please make sure you revise your mathÂ equations carefully. In addition to the twoÂ reviews, some journals may get your paperÂ read by a third reviewer whose principalÂ task is to peruse the math.
Make sure that the list of referencesÂ contains all works referred to in the textÂ and that you cite all works that areÂ pertinent. You must not give the impressionÂ of being unaware of the relevant literatureÂ and perhaps even of missing out some of Â its most important pieces. And make sureÂ that you obey the criteria of goodÂ academic behavior by not plagiarizing etc.
Plagiarizing is a serious offence. ObeyÂ criteria of good academic behavior, andÂ donâ€™t plagiarize. The consequences go
well beyond publication. But there isÂ another type of plagiarizing, which is oftenÂ not discussed but is receiving increasingÂ attention: self-plagiarizing.
You must never copy and paste from yourÂ own articles. You should also referenceÂ yourself when presenting an importantÂ argument, if it has been made elsewhere.Â Note that some editors could well reportÂ plagiarism to academic authorities.
7. Only submit to one journal at a time
It is very important that you never submitÂ your paper to more than one journal at aÂ time. If found out, this can have severeÂ consequences, such as being banned fromÂ submitting to the journals in question for aÂ period of time. Editors invest time andÂ energy in managing the review process.Â So you must wait for the decision from oneÂ journal before ending it to another. Also,Â be aware of what you are signing up toÂ when making on-line submission, e.g.Â guaranteeing own work, not submittedÂ elsewhere.
8. Abstract and key words
The first thing editors and referees read isÂ the abstract of your paper. Some authorsÂ think that the abstract is somethingÂ unimportant and therefore donâ€™t investÂ much time and attention in its composition. Â They are quite wrong. The abstract isÂ representative of your work, and if theÂ former is shabby it speaks badly about the
latter. In the abstract emphasize inÂ particular the importance of the problemÂ under consideration and the novelty andÂ innovativeness of your paper.
Donâ€™t forget to add key words. This isÂ important for several reasons; chief amongÂ these is that with on-line submissions, theÂ referee search is done through key words.
9. Ensure your paper is in its final form
This may come as a shock, but someÂ editors receive papers with unfinishedÂ sentences and quotes, and even with
personal notes that the author inserted,Â intending to get to them later. TheÂ reviewers will write back that the paper is
unfinished and should never have beenÂ submitted. So, once again, take the time toÂ re-read your paper carefully beforeÂ submitting it to a journal. Donâ€™t expectÂ editors and referees to do your work forÂ you. And remember the opportunity costÂ for editors is high and you have one Â chance to impress!
10. Make sure your paper is anonymous
Most journals have a double-blind reviewÂ process. This means the authors donâ€™tÂ know who is refereeing their paper, butÂ referees do not know who the author is. ToÂ keep the anonymity, make sure your paperÂ is free of any possible ways of identifyingÂ who you are. If the paper was presented atÂ a conference, please remove the information.
Also, remove any acknowledgement. ThisÂ information can all be put back once theÂ paper is accepted.
PROBLEMS WITH ARGUMENTATION
11. Have a strong introduction
Your introduction should make your intentÂ clear. Often, reviewers will indicate how theÂ introduction has little to do with the rest ofÂ the paper. And it should stress what is newÂ compared to the existing literature on theÂ problem under consideration. Also try toÂ keep your introduction to two or threeÂ simple, succinct paragraphs. Remember an
introduction is an introductionâ€”you canÂ elaborate in the main body.
12. Make a strong argument
Remember that an academic paper is anÂ argument; your goal is to convince theÂ reader. Be very conscious about this.
Reviewers are very busy, so the easier youÂ make it for them to read your paper andÂ understand the arguments you are making,Â the better.
State the thesis clearly in the introduction toÂ give the reader an idea of how you areÂ going to support it, and stick to it. AvoidÂ tangents: no matter how interesting theyÂ may appear to you, tangents are tangentsÂ and serve to confuse your audience. DefineÂ concepts clearly and build carefulÂ transitions that leave the reader enthusiasticÂ for the next step, not discouraged by theÂ fact that they are not longer following yourÂ argument. You are not writing this paper for
yourself, itâ€™s for the readers (and refereesÂ and editors!).
A number of websites are dedicated to howÂ to write academic papers, and moreÂ specifically on how to write them for
economics. Google â€œHow to write anÂ academic paper in economicsâ€ to find aÂ number of sites.
13. Avoid redundancies
Develop your argument in a straightforwardÂ way. Donâ€™t meander around and give theÂ impression of not knowing what your taskÂ is. Avoid redundancies, which quickly tendÂ to bore referees.
DEALING WITH THE EDITORâ€™S DECISION
14. Rewrite and resubmit
It is rare that a paper will get accepted â€œasÂ isâ€, that is with no modifications. It is alsoÂ common for papers to be rejected. All of usÂ as editors have had papers rejected, so weÂ know what it is like.
In general most papers will require someÂ changes demanded either by the reviewersÂ or the editors. Editors then can still rejectÂ the paper, or ask for a â€œrewrite andÂ resubmitâ€ or an R&R. This usually meansÂ that the editor sees potential in the paper,Â but that it is not quite ready for publication.Â An R&R means that potentially, the paperÂ could be published eventually, and that theÂ editor is interested in working with you toÂ get it published. While it is not a guaranteeÂ for publication, it is nonetheless oneÂ important big step closer. It is in your bestÂ interest to rework the paper and follow theÂ suggestions made by the reviewers.
In addition, the editor may give you someÂ extra advice: it is strongly suggested thatÂ you follow this advice. The Editor is tryingÂ to help you; and keep in mind that we likeÂ what we doâ€”we wouldnâ€™t be doing itÂ otherwise!
If you choose to rewrite the paper, sendÂ along a letter with the revised versionÂ indicating point by point how you dealt withÂ the reviewersâ€™ comments. This will help theÂ reviewers considerably in assessing theÂ revised version.
Of course, if you disagree with someÂ comments made by the reviewer, this isÂ fine, but indicate in the letter why you
disagree, and how you dealt with it in theÂ paper. Maybe you need to strengthen theÂ argument.
15. Editorâ€™s decision
The editorial decision can be based on aÂ number of reasons. For instance, yourÂ paper may simply have not been
appropriate for the journal. While theÂ editor may often detect this uponÂ submission, this is not always the case.
Also, while your paper may be technicallyÂ correct, it can be considered â€˜run of theÂ millâ€™. Since acceptance rates can hoverÂ around 20-25%, decisions have to beÂ based on criteria such as innovativeness. Â For example, a paper which in effect takesÂ a model previously applied to country X orÂ Y and then applies it to country A may beÂ suitable to be included in an edited book,Â but may not make it into an academicÂ journal publication.
16. Donâ€™t argue with the editor
If the Editor gives you an answer, donâ€™tÂ argue with him/her. Yes, the review processÂ is not the best and often mistakes areÂ made. Editors have to rely on reviewersÂ who have more expertise in the sub-field ofÂ the paper than the editors. If you believe aÂ serious error was made by the reviewer, itÂ can be worth pointing this out to editor.Â But before doing so, it would be worthÂ consulting others to see whether theyÂ agree with you. If you raise the issue with
the editor, do so in a polite way, donâ€™t beÂ aggressive, and donâ€™t threaten to neverÂ send another paper again.
In the end, accept the final decision that isÂ given. Keep in mind that it is often difficultÂ for an editor to make such decisions,Â especially when dealing with friends andÂ colleagues. Editors must place the interestÂ of the journal above all else.
17. Frequency of contact with the editor
Once submitted, do not contact the editorÂ frequently in anticipation of refereeÂ decisions. Journals rely essentially onÂ volunteer work and the process mayÂ sometimes take several months. On theÂ other hand, if you have not gotten
feedback after six months, it would beÂ appropriate to ask if there are anyÂ developments, since your paper may well
have fallen through the cracks. Yes, thisÂ can happen. Finally, donâ€™t try puttingÂ pressure on the editor by saying â€˜my tenureÂ decision depends on my paper beingÂ acceptedâ€™. It is not the editorâ€™s job toÂ ensure you get tenure.
18. Ask advice
Finally, donâ€™t hesitate to ask the editor forÂ some advice, even before you submit theÂ paper, and especially if you donâ€™tÂ understand the reviews. Often, reviewersÂ will contradict each other, and the editorÂ may offer you guidance in what to focusÂ on. The editor will be more than happy toÂ help you interpret the reviews.
ONE LAST COMMENT
19. Get involved and offer to help
Offer to serve as a referee before youÂ submit to a journal: finding good referees isÂ not easy. And if you are sent an article toÂ review, do a good job and do it by theÂ deadline given to you. Of course, this wonâ€™tÂ guarantee a future paper of yours will beÂ accepted, but you always want to be on theÂ good side of the editor. Refereeing well isÂ one way to do this, and in many cases thisÂ is how we nominate people to our editorialÂ boards.
Good Luck! And we look forward toÂ reading your submissions!
VALENTIN COJANU, Â Founding Editor, Â Journal of Philosophical Economics
PAUL DAVIDSON, Â Founding Co-Editor Emeritus, Â Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics
ALICIA GIRON,Â Editor,Â Problemas del Desarrollo
JOHN HARVEY,Â Editor,Â Real-World Economics Review
ECKHARD HEIN,Â Co-editor,Â European Journal of Economics andÂ Economic Policies: Intervention
HEINZ D. KURZ,Â Co-editor,Â Metroeconomica
STEVE PRESSMAN,Â Co-editor,Â Review of Political Economy
JACK REARDON,Â Founding Editor,Â International Journal of Pluralism andÂ Economics Education
LOUIS-PHILIPPE ROCHON,Â Founding Co-Editor,Â Review of Keynesian Economics
ALLESANDRO RONCAGLIA,Â Editor,Â PSL Quarterly Review and Moneta e Credito
BARKLEY ROSSER,Â Founding Editor,Â Review of Behavioral Economics
NERI SALVADORI,Â Co-editor,Â Metroeconomica
MALCOLM SAWYER,Â Editor, International Review of Applied Economics
MARIO SECCARECCIA,Â Editor,Â International Journal of Political Economy