Overview of the Review Process

All submitted manuscripts are evaluated by an editor to determine suitability for review at JCR. However, we do not preview abstracts or provide pre-submission assessments of the suitability of manuscripts for possible publication.

Our review process is double-blind. Authors do not know the identities of the associate editor and reviewers. Reviewers do not know the identities of the associate editor and authors. The editor and associate editor know the identities of the authors and reviewers

The general review process is as follows:

  • The managing editor reviews the submission for adherence to requirements
  • The editor in chief assigns an editor; each editor (including the editor in chief) handles approximately one-fifth of all submissions
  • The editor assigns an associate editor (AE) and selects three reviewers
  • The AE has 24 hours to confirm the assignment and suggest reviewers to the editor
  • The manuscript is sent to the reviewers who evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, make recommendations to the editor, and provide comments for the authors
  • The AE prepares a report to the authors assessing, integrating, and prioritizing the reviewers’ concerns, and makes a recommendation to the editor
  • The editor determines the final disposition of the manuscript and prepares a decision letter
  • The editor’s decision letter is emailed to the authors and reviewers (the blinded AE report and the blinded individual reviews are attached)
  • If the paper is invited for a revision, it is recommended that the author(s) prepare a response that describes how the editor’s, AE’s and reviewers concerns were addressed.

Reviewers advise the editor and the AE about potential weaknesses in the manuscript, but the editor and the AE decide whether the reviewers’ concerns are serious or not. Reviewers are asked to make a recommendation for disposition of the paper, but their recommendations are not “votes.” For example, a reviewer might recommend acceptance but also note a shortcoming in the work that the AE and editor believe deeply undermines the contribution of the research. Or, a reviewer might recommend rejection based primarily on a legitimate shortcoming for which another member of the review team might propose a workable solution. As these examples illustrate, specific comments on the work are the key component of each review, not the reviewer’s recommendation per se.

By following this process, we expect to make sound decisions on all manuscripts and provide consistently thorough, constructive, and fair reviews of all manuscripts. We seek to provide authors with an understanding of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their manuscript, the basis for the decision, and advice on how to proceed.

Our instructions for reviewers contain additional information about the review process.


Editors cannot discuss the review process directly (by email, phone, or in person) with authors. Email all correspondence about your manuscript to the editorial office.

The submitting author should communicate with the editorial office on behalf of all authors during the review process and is expected to coordinate with co-authors as necessary.

Decision Categories

The Journal of Consumer Research currently offers the following manuscript decision categories.

Conditional Accept

The contribution of the manuscript is largely in place, and only minor, easily accomplished, low-risk changes are required. The editor’s decision letter will use language along the lines of “I am happy to accept the paper subject to some important conditions.”


The contribution of the manuscript has not yet been achieved but the AE and editor can specify the steps needed to achieve the requisite contribution. The editor’s decision letter will use language along the lines of “This is a good paper with the potential to achieve a substantial contribution and I am pleased to invite a revision.”

Risky Revision

The manuscript seems to hold good promise but either a) the steps needed to achieve the contribution carry substantial risk or b) the steps needed to achieve the contribution are unclear (the problems are apparent but the means of solving them are not). Procedurally, risky revision invitations and revision invitations are similar in that the next submission is sent back to the same review team in most cases. The editor’s decision letter will use language along the lines of “This manuscript has potential but the reviewers have identified important shortcomings. I would like to give you a chance to remedy these problems so I invite a risky revision.” Unlike a standard revision invitation, the AE report may not provide crisply specified changes, and this inability to spell out the details is the source of the risk. Alternatively, we know what is needed but the prospects are uncertain, e.g., gathering additional data or remedying what appears to be a logical inconsistency.

Straight Reject

The manuscript was deemed unlikely to make a contribution to JCR. We hope to provide thoughtful comments for authors who have done us the courtesy of sending us their work. The comments may refer to changes the authors could make to move forward with the work, but unless an editor specifically invites a revision, the expectation is that authors will not submit the revised manuscript to JCR.

Desk Reject

The most common reason for a desk rejection is a poor fit with the mission of the journal. JCR is primarily a journal of theoretical advances and empirical support for these advances.

“Desk Revise”

Occasionally an editor desk rejects a manuscript they believe has merit and should be sent for review once a critical element or serious flaw that would lead to a rejection decision is corrected. The editor’s decision letter will explain the reasoning.