You Make the Call
Let’s have some fun. Pretend you’re the editor of a journal that serves a mixed readership of financial planning practitioners and academics. Consider each of the following scenarios and decide what you would do.
- One of the leading thinkers in the industry submits a research paper. It’s innovative, well-written, and accurate. Unfortunately, it’s also so theoretical and esoteric that it’s doubtful most practitioners would understand it, let alone find any useful applications for the topic. Do you:
a. reject it as not valuable to readers?
b. advise the author to rewrite it on the slim chance of finding a practical application?
c. let peer reviewers decide what to do with it?
- Later, you receive a paper that many practitioners might find practical and useful, but not very original. Similar papers have drawn similar conclusions for years. This paper’s only value is that it combines a lot of old thinking in one convenient resource. Do you:
a. send it to peer review?
b. reject it because it does not build upon the body of financial planning knowedge?
- Next day, you receive a paper back from four peer reviewers. One recommends publishing it as is. Another reviewer feels it’s worthless and should be rejected. Still another reviewer likes the paper a lot, but thinks it would be a better fit for a different journal. The fourth reviewer claims she loves the paper, but wants the authors to rewrite it and make such sweeping changes that the final result would bear little resemblance to what the authors submitted. Do you:
a. publish it because most reviewers “like” it?
b. ask for a rewrite, hoping some reviewers will change their minds?
c. reject it because a minority of reviewers recommend publication?
d. send it to more reviewers with the intent of creating a more clear consensus?
- You receive a paper by a highly regarded academic. Unfortunately, her university has a practice of publishing its faculty’s working drafts on the university’s website. Every blog, newsletter, chat group, and trade publication in the industry has already dissected the paper and commented on it. Do you:
a. reject the paper because it violates your journal’s policy of not using
previously published work?
b. send the paper to reviewers who are almost certain to guess who wrote it,
thereby negating your policy of “blind” review.
- You receive a submission by one of the foremost authorities on the chosen topic, which is so advanced, only a handful of individuals are qualified to review it. All of those people happen to be on your review board. This paper disagrees with what they’ve published on the topic. Do you:
a. send it to the expert reviewers, knowing they may be biased?
b. send it to other reviewers who are not likely to understand the paper’s nuances?
These are oversimplified examples. In many cases, other options exist. We simply wanted to give you a taste of the decisions all editors make routinely. We’re not grading your answers; you’re grading ours.