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Guidelines for Associate Editors

An Associate Editor will handle an assigned paper throughout the review process.

Screening

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Novelty and originality: If a paper clearly does not make a reasonable original contribution then it should be rejected at this stage.

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.

Review

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Reject. Please provide an explicit rationale (via EJMS) that the Editor can use if necessary as the basis of a report back to the authors.

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.

 
   
 
 

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