About the Journal of Financial Reporting
JFR is open to research on a broad spectrum of financial reporting issues related to the production, dissemination, and analysis of information produced by a firm’s financial accounting and reporting system.
Appropriate topics include accounting standard setting, firm’s behavior related to the production and disclosure of information, the relation between financial information and firm policies such as compensation and corporate governance, the role of financial intermediaries, and analysis by decision-makers such as equity investors, creditors, and analysts.
JFR welcomes research that employs empirical archival, analytical, and experimental methods and especially encourages less traditional approaches.
The target audience is financial reporting researchers.
* Two regular issues each year
The first regular issue is scheduled for late Summer/early Fall 2016 and then every six months thereafter.
* Themed issues (maximum of one per year)
The long-term goal is to publish themed issues as pressing topics and contributors are identified.
The inaugural themed issue “Defining our Content” will be published early Spring 2016.
JFR provides an outlet for research that fills two perceived gaps in the current journals:
(1) "Innovative" research: studies that examine a novel question or develop new theory or evidence that challenges current paradigms, or research that reconciles, confirms, or refutes currently mixed or questionable results.
(2) Research using underrepresented methods such as field studies, small sample studies, and analysis of survey data.
* Original discovery research
Studies can use varied methods, including analytical models, empirical analysis of archival data or data from experiments, surveys, small sample studies, field studies, and case studies.
Short Commentaries will accompany some discovery research articles to provide: 1) a balanced exposition for studies that present results or ideas that conflict with existing evidence or paradigms; 2) independent and objective insights about how the findings in an individual paper can be a meaningful contribution when viewed as part of the broader literature; and/or 3) emphasis on the limitations of an article.
* Perspectives and discussions
Thought-provoking articles about a new issue in financial reporting or suggested directions for future research (“Perspectives”) and summaries of lessons learned from existing research (“Discussions”).
* Comments on previously published papers
Not all four types of articles will be represented in every issue and the JFR will not have distinct sections dedicated to specific types of content.
JFR takes a different approach to the definition of “quality” in terms of contribution to a scholarly debate, but high standards for execution quality remain essential. At the same time, JFR recognizes that financial reporting is a social science and research compromises are required. Theoretical models must make simplifying assumptions. Archival researchers face constraints on the data they can observe, collect, and measure. Sometimes interesting natural experiments occur, but the statistical benefits of these settings can be accompanied by a loss of generality. Experiments in laboratories suffer from the opposite problem. While they can hone in on the consequences of specific factors to establish causality, they establish causality in a laboratory world. JFR assesses the quality of a study by how clearly the authors convey which goals they are pursuing (and which they are not), how effectively they pursue those goals, how honestly they report the compromises they have made, and how appropriately they draw conclusions in light of those compromises.
JFR was founded based on a belief that the two perceived gaps in the current journals - innovative research and studies using certain methods - resulted from limited space in the top-tier publication outlets. The acceptance rate of financial reporting research conditional on submissions is the lowest among the fields (based on statistics for The Accounting Review).1
Studies document that as scholarly fields mature, if the number of high-quality studies outpaces journal space in top-tier outlets, innovation decreases. The peer review process is commonly blamed. Reviewers often have reasons to push back against innovation and they obtain no benefit from encouraging it. Persistent authors have a higher likelihood of publishing their articles in a top-tier journal, but the peer review process makes it a painful process and the eventual time to publication is long. A chicken and egg problem results. Researchers anticipate the difficulties of publishing a paper with a paradigm-shifting idea or one that presents results that conflict with established beliefs, so they stop working on innovative research.
In addition, when space is limited, the most popular methods are perceived as the most publishable, and again authors (rationally) pursue the traditional paths at the expense of less popular methods such as field studies, even though these studies can make a significant contribution.
JFR hopes that by coming in from the outside as a new journal and stating a specific preference for innovative research and under-represented methods, and by having editors and a peer review process that result in publications of such research, JFR can motivate and energize researchers to take on projects that inspire scholarly debate and lead to progress and advancement in the field.
In addition to JFR’s stated preference for innovative research and underrepresented methods, JFR has an editorial structure and peer review process that publication experts suggest can overcome biases that hinder innovation.
The most important feature of JFR’s editorial structure is multiple (three) coeditors. Having multiple editors allows individual editors to invest more time in each manuscript. In addition, the three coeditors can discuss controversial editorial decisions, which can overcome the inherent bias against innovative research.
Special features of JFR’s peer review process:
1) Reviewers will be asked to comment on the paper’s merits as well as its flaws/limitations and the feasibility of overcoming the limitations. Reviewers will not be asked to weight the merits against the limitations and make an editorial decision.
2) Reviewers (and editors) will be asked to consider whether an alternative presentation style is appropriate, considering the optimal length for conveying the main idea in a paper as weighed against the paper’s perceived contribution. JFR will provide electronic space for supplemental analysis (e.g., additional tests, data).
3) Reviewers may have opportunities to write Commentaries on the manuscript. Given the nature ofJFR’s content, alternative views are beneficial. In addition, Commentaries are a tool to help mitigate some of the problems with the peer review process that research suggests stifle innovation. Time constraints make it impossible for reviewers to devote significant time to every submission they review and a reject decision is the path of least resistance. The opportunity to write a published Commentary is expected to better align referees’ incentives with those of JFR.
1 Table 3 Panel A of the 2014 "Annual Report and Editorial Commentary for The Accounting Review."