Guidelines for Associate Editors
An Associate Editor will handle an assigned paper throughout the review
Your first task is to carry out an initial screening of the paper to judge
its basic suitability for the Annals of Statistics. When you receive a new
submission, please spend about 30 minutes on this process. To be judged as
suitable the paper must pass all the following criteria:
- Quality of writing and clarity of presentation: If a paper is poorly
written or unclear, it is unsuitable for detailed review and it should
be rejected on these grounds alone. There is no need for you to judge
its scientific content.
- Interest to potential readers: We expect papers to make an
interesting contribution; there is inevitably an element of subjectivity
in judging the interest of a paper, and we are confident that our
Associate Editors have the ability to do this.
- Novelty and originality: If a paper clearly does not make a
reasonable original contribution then it should be rejected at this
The ultimate acceptance rate for the Annals of Statistics is around 20% to
25%, so it is reasonable (and only fair to authors) that as many as 50% of
papers will be rejected at the screening stage.
Please carry out the initial screening within two weeks of receipt of the
paper. If you judge that the paper is not suitable for further
consideration, please recommend rejection to the Editor via the Electronic
Journal Manuscript System (EJMS); please include some rationale that the
Editor can use in their response to the author, but there is no need for
this to be very detailed. On the other hand, if you judge the paper passes
the initial screening, then move to the review stage in the EJMS.
If a paper reaches this stage, it should be reviewed carefully by two
referees, but you may, if you wish, use one referee and also write a report
of your own. The review stage should be completed in two months if at all
possible. The review should look in closer detail at the interest and
originality of the paper, and at such things as whether it makes
appropriate reference to the literature. We must do our best to ensure that
published papers are technically correct but ultimately the responsibility
for this rests with the author.
At the end of the review stage, you are asked to make one of the following
recommendations to the Editor via EJMS:
- Accept (possible subject to minor corrections). In this case authors
may be asked to make some corrections or very minor revisions prior to
sending their final manuscript to the publisher, but it will not need to
be seen again by the Editor or Associate Editor.
- Accept subject to minor revision. It is envisioned that any revisions
requested will entail not more than a week’s work for the author, but
the revised version will need to be checked by the Associate Editor
before the Editor’s final decision is made.
- Reject. Please provide an explicit rationale (via EJMS) that the
Editor can use if necessary as the basis of a report back to the
Most published papers will not exceed 30 pages. Please provide in addition
a recommendation whether part of the paper should be placed in the
Supplementary Material archive of the Annals of Statistics.
The EJMS system will allow the authors to receive the
relevant referee reports after the Editor has made the final decision.
What you are not expected to do
The categories of “Accept subject to major revision”, “Tentative reject”
and “Deferred decision” have been eliminated in order to speed up the
review process. For this reason, neither the Associate Editor nor the
referees are expected to rewrite the paper or even to suggest major avenues
for further research. Remember that your role is simply to recommend
whether or not the paper should be published.
Inevitably this may mean that the Annals may publish some papers that are
less polished than may have been the case in the past, or contain some
“loose ends”, but by speeding the process we hope that we will more than
compensate by publishing new and interesting work in a timely fashion.
Papers that are accepted for publication are then sent to a copy editor,
who (among other things) will correct minor linguistic errors. Therefore,
when judging clarity of presentation and quality of writing, please do not
pay attention to minor linguistic errors, particularly of the sort likely
to be incurred by authors whose first language is not English.