Guidelines To Write A Referee Report Harvard

Guidelines to write a referee report harvard

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TEPE Spring 2019 TF: Andrea Passalacqua
Guidelines to Write a Referee Report1
1 Structure
The most useful structure for a referee report is to order information from most important to least
important, as is the case with most technical writing. The aim is not to build to a conclusion, but
to start with the conclusion, and then justify it with increasing granularity. In other words, give the
recommendation, signpost your reasoning in the introduction, justify each individual argument in the
main analysis, keep the minor suggestions to the end. Given that, the structure of the Referee Report
should be the following:
• Recommendation
• Critical review of the paper
• Analysis - Main Body of the Comments
• Minor Comments
1.1 Recommendation (10 words):
Start with the conclusion. Are you recommending a revise and resubmit, rejection or acceptance? To help
with context, there are around 6-7 times as many papers that will be recommended “revise and resubmit”
as those which are “accepted”. In the context of an assignment, it’s probably better to say “revise and
resubmit”, since it’s going to be very hard to hit 1200 words of doting praise upon the author

1.2 Critical review of the paper (300-500 words):
Make an argument for whether the paper’s contribution to this literature is significant, in your opinion

The point is not to just summarize the paper - summarizing is easy, and well below the expertise of the
referee. The editor spent ten minutes skimming the paper before they sent it to you, so they already
have a fairly good idea of what the author aims to do and how they executed this aim. It’s your job to
determine what they did which is of additional worth to the literature which already exists. You can start
by summarize the outline of the paper in your own words. This will help you to understand the nature
of the author’s contribution better. In the process you may discover whether you agree or not with the
author’s view about specific aspect of the paper and want to recommend highlighting the significance
of a particular assumption or providing a different interpretation of the findings. Again, the goal is not
merely summarize the paper but highlight the main contribution of it. This is critical to eventually judge
whether the paper makes important contributions in the field and thus it is worth publishing it.Is their
contribution a theoretical model that is useful for understanding, a modelling toolkit that will be useful
to other authors, a new empirical strategy, a new dataset, a clever identification, or is it establishing its
own literature? In discussing the contribution, you will invariably end up providing some summary, but
the aim should always be to elucidate the contribution, not to retell

If you were asked to be a referee in the field, it is because you are an expert in the literature as it
stands, and well placed to evaluate exactly what the contribution of the paper has been. Unless you get
very lucky, this probably won’t be true this time. You don’t have to try to become one - just take what
the author wrote in the literature review as a fair representation of the status quo, and write it on that

These notes are inspired by material taught in EC2727 Empirical Methods in Financial Economics
TEPE Spring 2019 TF: Andrea Passalacqua
For the sake of clarity, you can repeat specific equations or results - refer to the key intermediate
equations or results of the theoretical model by restating them, write out the regression equation and
which parameters were important to estimate, mention the most important table/empirical result

Towards the end of this section you can signpost what you will discuss in your analysis - what particular
contribution you find novel, or what you consider to be a key limitation and how it could be improved

1.3 Analysis (700-1000 words)
Be specific about the strengths and weaknesses in the paper’s execution. This is the point to go into great
detail with your concerns and comments. Since the author has spent a great deal more time than you
thinking about the topic, they will probably only be convinced by a very incisive point

If it is a theory paper, start by listing all the assumptions (implied and otherwise) that you believe
were necessary for the key results, and evaluate their plausibility and their importance. Does violating or
generalizing the assumptions reverse their key result completely, or simply make the math more unwieldy?
If it is an empirical paper, think carefully about the implied assumptions that lie behind every regres-
sion being a valid test of causality, for the data sample itself (internal validity). Then think about whether
this regression over the dataset itself answers the question for the world at large (external validity). You
should be biased to giving comments that contain a suggestion for improvement, which in general means
you’ll speak more about internal validity than external validity. You should think about the techniques
used. Are the results correct as stated? Could they be strengthened?
Notwithstanding, do not succumb to the temptation to ask for additional extensions or robustness
checks merely because you can. You should justify any extension or robustness check with at least a
paragraph explaining why you would expect the results to change, the direction in which you believe they
would change, and what this would mean for the paper at large if it did. It is much better to ask for
one or two robustness checks or extensions which are well justified than to ask for six or seven with glib

You may want to divide your requests for revisions into two parts

• Some requests for changes are nonnegotiable: the model should be coherent; there should be no
errors in the proof; proper credit should be given to previous contributors. The structure of the
paper should be clear and its language should be free of unnecessary technical jargon

• Other suggestions for change are simply ideas for the author to think about. You leave them to the
discretion of the author. You believe that they would improve the paper, but you also see why the
author may disagree - they may give a different flavor to the results. Moreover certain features of
the paper may not be to your taste and yet be quite legitimate. In these cases you can only suggest
changes and try to convince the author of your reasons for wanting them. You cannot insist on
them. These may include the style in which the paper is written - but you cannot force your own
style on the author
1.4 Minor Comments (0-200 words)
Obvious mistakes the author made which they haven’t spotted. Have they used the wrong notation in
some section, or have they explained a point in a way which does not make sense? Is there an error in a
proof that doesn’t invalidate the paper, but needs correcting? Should a graph be presented in a different
way for clarity (e.g. a panel barplot switched to a time series line plot)?
TEPE Spring 2019 TF: Andrea Passalacqua
2 Simple FAQs
• Suggested length: 1200-1500 words
• You do not need to include a cover sheet, or any of the formalities that would ordinarily accompany
a referee report being sent to the journal

3 Benefits to You of Your Refereeing Work
Take your refereeing jobs seriously. It helps you to keep up with the literature. Next to presenting a
paper in a class, there is nothing like refereeing it to become really familiar with it. This in-depth work
will be very useful to your own research

Ec2727 guidelines to write a referee report. 2017

Varanya Chaubey. The Little Book of Research Writing. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform,

Daniel S Hamermesh. The young economist’s guide to professional etiquette. Journal of Economic
Perspectives, 6(1):169–179, 1992

Daniel S Hamermesh. Facts and myths about refereeing. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(1):153–163,

Donald McCloskey. Economical writing. Economic Inquiry, 23(2):187–222, 1985

William Thomson. A guide for the young economist. MIT press, 2001

Recommendation, signpost your reasoning in the introduction, justify each individual argument in the main analysis, keep the minor suggestions to the end. Given that, the structure of the …

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cite a report in a harvard paper?

How to cite a report in Harvard To cite a report in a reference entry in Harvard style include the following elements: Author or organization: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J.) of up to three authors with the last name preceded by 'and'.

How do you write a reference list for a report?

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a report in Harvard style: Author or organization. ( Year of publication) Title of the report. Place of publication: Publisher. Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the Harvard style guidelines in action:

What are the causes for concern about the review of referees?

Another cause for concern is the level of disagreement amongst referees, a pattern that suggests a high level of arbitrariness in the review process.

What are harvarvards referencing rules?

Here are several Harvarvard referencing rules for other source types: Refer to an edited book by putting ‘ (ed.)’ or ‘ (eds)’ after the editor name (s) If a book was translated, add ‘trans. I Lastname’ Refer to an article in any book or journal by adding an article name in quotation marks but not italicized