Letter from the Senior Editors
Advice to Authors
As Senior Editors for a number of years of the online journal Cogent Economics and Finance we thought it might be helpful if we offered some advice to authors of papers who are considering submitting work to the journal. We receive many excellent submissions that are carefully written and researched, considering very important Economics / Finance research questions. However, we also find that we receive papers that we see no alternative but to reject. The advice below might seem basic but is meant to help authors avoid quick ‘desk reject’ decisions. This advice is offered as we receive many papers that we reject because the authors may not have considered these issues.
First, think carefully about whether the paper really is one that undertakes Economics / Finance analysis or whether it would be better suited to a publication in a different discipline. If you are unsure, read through your References list. We receive many papers with few, if any, Economics / Finance references included. If the Literature Review does not include discussion of research published in Economics / Finance journals, then this is a strong indication that the research might be better published elsewhere. Similarly, just because the original research is quantitative in nature, maybe using econometric techniques, this does not automatically indicate that the research is best suited to Cogent Economics and Finance. Original research is now published in many disciplines that uses quantitative, econometric models without the analyses being specifically in the Economics or Finance domains. For example, many management and marketing research papers use econometric methods.
A point to remember, but one which will help editors and reviewers, is to highlight in the Introduction the original research contribution of the paper. If you want your paper to go through the review process, you need to discuss convincingly the motivation, aims and contribution of your research in the Introduction. Motivation should be discussed based on the achievements and limitations in the area of your research in the academic literature. One purpose of such a discussion is to demonstrate the aims of your paper. If the motivation for your research is not convincing, your paper is unlikely to pass the review process.
Related to the above point, make sure that any paper includes a Literature Review that builds on the Introduction, putting the original research in context, and explains how your research adds to this literature. Then, always check to make sure that the most recent, relevant literature is included. Editors and reviewers will wonder if the paper is of wider interest if the literature review does not refer to any relevant literature published in, for example, the past ten or twenty years.
Turning to the Data and Methodology sections. If using secondary data, always state the sources of all the explanatory and dependent variables, explaining any data transformations that were required, for example to convert nominal into real data, to deal with missing values or outliers etc. When absorbed in a research project for weeks, months or even years it is sometimes easy to forget that we need to explain the preliminary research steps to others who do not have the same detailed insight into the research undertaken. Editors and reviewers cannot simply trust that the basic research steps were undertaken, they need to be confident about the quality of any data used.
When discussing the research methodology applied, there is always a balance regarding the amount of detail to include. There is no need to explain in much detail econometric methods that are standard and readily available in textbooks. Detail on methodology should focus on techniques that are less commonly used and, of course, any relatively new and original econometric methods. Similarly, always justify why particular methods were used when others were available. Do not forget to include the relevant diagnostic test results. Again, editors and reviewers will immediately be nervous if authors do not report these in any econometric analysis.
Behavioural Economics and Finance research areas are rightly growing in popularity and we enjoy receiving submissions in these areas. However, we have one note of caution. We receive a number of submissions that rely on original data, including experimental or survey data, collected from students, typically university students. Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to use students but in other cases it is not. For example, university students may not be representative of broader populations when considering their finance or savings decisions taken to date.
Finally, before submitting your paper to Cogent Economics and Finance or any journal, check the Instructions for Authors carefully.
Make sure to follow the guidelines for including Keywords, an Abstract, a Public Interest Statement etc. Following all the guidelines helps speed up the editorial process.
We look forward to receiving your submissions in the future and hope that the advice above helps authors avoid receiving future rejection letters.
Caroline Elliott, David McMillan, Xibin Zhang