Editorial Decisions and Journal Submissions in Economics

Last registered on June 21, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Editorial Decisions and Journal Submissions in Economics
Initial registration date
April 23, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
April 23, 2021, 11:17 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
June 21, 2023, 9:21 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Wellesley College

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Wellesley College

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The aim of this research study is to shed light on the peer review process and gauge the impacts of editorial decisions on researchers. We hope that the survey results will spark fruitful discussions and potentially lead to improvements in the publication process. The survey elicits information from researchers on their submission history. After reading a fake decision letter on a hypothetical submission to a top-5 journal, respondents are asked to report their beliefs about whether the paper will eventually be published in that journal or any leading journal.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Shastry, Gauri Kartini and Olga Shurchkov. 2023. "Editorial Decisions and Journal Submissions in Economics." AEA RCT Registry. June 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7448-1.4
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Perceived probability the paper will be published in the top-5 journal
2. Perceived probability the paper will be published in any leading journal (i.e., top field or higher, including this specific one)
3. Whether or not the respondent would resubmit the paper to a top-5 general interest journal
4. Whether or not the respondent would submit their next paper of similar quality to a top-5 general interest journal
5. From how many people respondent would solicit advice on publishing this paper
6. Whether the respondent would extensively revise the paper before resubmitting it
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study employs a survey experiment, and the participants will be academic researchers from all over the globe who have submitted at least one paper to a peer-reviewed journal for publication and received at least one editor decision letter in the past five years in economics or a related field (finance, for example) and for whom we can find a publicly available email address. We collect the email addresses from publicly available sources including the articles, journal webpages, university webpages, or other public sources. In total, there are approximately 43,000 addresses on the list.

The survey has five sections: Consent, basic questions, encouragement screen, decision letter and follow-up questions, and demographic questions. We will use Qualtrics to create and distribute the survey. The duration is approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Subjects who consent will proceed to the basic question section where they will be asked about their job and research activities. After these baseline questions, respondents are asked to carefully read a sample letter from the editor of a top-5 general interest journal who is writing with a decision on their hypothetical submission. Respondents will indicate what they would do next if they were to receive such a letter. They will also answer questions about their confidence in the success of this paper at this journal and more generally at other leading journals. The survey will end with standard demographic questions. This section also includes questions about the approximate rank of their PhD institution and current institution. We will offer them the opportunity to provide a link to their website for us to glean this information, as well as their publication record, but this will be completely optional. The final screen will ask respondents for their email address if they would like to enter the lottery for a chance to win a prize of $50 value.

Experimental Design Details
Please see analysis plan.
Randomization Method
Qualtrics randomization
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We will send invitations to the survey to around 43,000 email addresses. Assuming a 5% take-up rate, we expect a sample of 2150 respondents.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We will send invitations to the survey to around 43,000 email addresses. Assuming a 5% take-up rate, we expect a sample of 2150 respondents.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We expect around 350 respondents in each treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Please see analysis plan.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Research Protection Program of Brandeis University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Analysis plan

MD5: cfe9c652e7c161feb4d756175e491ac0

SHA1: 073e5024c9c4342a152b941399df4f04145342cb

Uploaded At: April 23, 2021


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
June 30, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
June 30, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials