The Journal of the Canadian Economics Association
La revue de l'association canadienne d'économique

Advice to Referees

What kind of comments are most helpful?

If you are recommending rejection, you should specify the primary reason for the negative recommendation. If you think the paper is competent but just not interesting enough or not important enough for the CJE, you should say that. You do not need to find "errors" in the analysis or "flaws" in the model structure to justify a rejection. For papers where you recommend acceptance or a revision it is helpful to say what you think the key contribution of the paper is. It is also very helpful to consider what kinds of condensation might be desirable. Often a good paper contains some sections and or some pieces of analysis that are less valuable than others. Ask yourself what parts of the paper are worth publishing. Basically, the Journal is seeking high value-added per page and this can sometimes be pursued by selecting only some parts of papers for publication. If a 30 page paper contains a "nugget" of high value material that can be converted to a 10 page note, it is useful to pass that information along to the editor. Write a report that will be forwarded to the author and a separate letter that is just for the editor. You may or may not wish to make your recommendation clear in the report. However, you should be clear in your letter to the editor as to the nature of your recommendation (reject, revise, accept). If you are neutral or "close to the margin" on a paper, that is fine. Just let the editor know where you stand, even if you are standing on the fence.