Appropriate Manuscripts

The Journal of Consumer Research (JCR) publishes empirical, theoretical, and methodological papers of the highest quality on topics in consumer research. The overriding criterion for publication in JCR is that the paper should advance understanding of consumer behavior or the conduct of consumer research. As a multi-disciplinary journal, JCR encourages a variety of disciplinary perspectives, methods, theoretical approaches, and substantive problem areas.

In general, there are three evaluation criteria to assess whether a paper fits the mission and quality standards of the journal. Those criteria are:

  1. Rigor: Does the paper fulfill high standards of theoretical, methodological, and empirical soundness?
  2. Relevance: Does the paper address an important aspect of consumer behavior, and may stakeholders of consumer research benefit from the paper?
  3. Contribution: Does the paper add in a significant way to prior knowledge?

There is no template for the ideal JCR paper. However, one can distinguish five types of papers, and each type requires a slightly different focus and mindset for evaluation:

To be transparent and fair to authors, it is important that consistent guidelines be established and practiced by the review team. To this end, the editors held multiple workshops with JCR Associate Editors in January/February 2021 to draft general evaluation guidelines for each type of paper. Above, please find these guidelines which entail a short description of each type of paper, evaluation criteria, and a range of exemplars from past JCR papers.


Manuscripts are evaluated in large measure on the relative magnitude of their contribution to the literature. It is imperative therefore that the editors be made aware of related research that is not yet readily known. Hence, authors submitting a manuscript for review should clearly indicate in their confidential cover letter to the editor the relation of the manuscript to any other manuscripts currently under review, in press, or recently published by the authors. The editorial office may contact you to ask to see a copy of one or more of these other papers.

Failure to provide these references in the confidential cover letter to the editor may lead to withdrawal of a manuscript under review or, if published, to retraction of the article, if the work is determined to be materially similar to submission or publication at another journal.

JCR does not publish papers that have been previously published (in almost all cases). Occasionally, an author may wish to submit a manuscript that has been published elsewhere, in whole or in part. JCR will consider such a manuscript for publication only if it meets ALL of the following conditions:

  • At the time of manuscript submission, JCR receives written authorization from the holder of the copyright to publish any portion of the material in question.
  • The other outlets for the material in question are sufficiently inaccessible to the general JCR readership such that JCR will perform a real service to its readership by making the material more readily available.
  • The form of the potential JCR article differs substantially from the other forms in which the material is available in terms of length, positioning, type of analysis (if any), and/or the nature of the discussion. That is, the JCR article must offer some “value added” over and above the other presentations.
  • The manuscript is submitted on a timely basis (i.e., not long after the appearance of the material elsewhere and preferably prior to actual publication elsewhere).
  • The manuscript is accompanied by the other versions of the material available to allow editorial judgment of the three preceding points.
  • The manuscript is clearly intended to make an independent contribution to the consumer research literature and can in no way be construed as a mere promotional vehicle.