Critical Finance Review
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The CFR publishes leading academic research in all areas of financial economics. It is a high-prestige peer-reviewed free "boutique" journal.

The CFR publishes only 10-15 papers per year, but with paper quality comparable to the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies. The CFR's ultimate goal is to publish 15-25 papers per year, never 100—and to publish some more unconventional and interesting papers. In some ways, the CFR seeks to be as good as its peers, but be different from other outlets. It wants to be more eclectic and unusual.

Although the CFR publishes many non-critique papers, its special niche are critiques.

The editor believes that the hallmark of a science is not replicability but critical replication.

Longer Discussion

The CFR seeks to publish top finance papers, just like the JF, JFE, RFS, and JFQA. It differs in that it prefers more controversial, unusual, and critical papers. The CFR wants to take more chances.

  • The CFR tilts towards empirical work.
  • The CFR is more friendly towards critiques (and reponses thereto).
    • submissions that point out that previous papers and/or literatures are wrong;
    • submissions that are considered correct but obvious by half of the profession and obviously incorrect by the other half;
    • submissions that document what referees describe as "everyone already knows that X was wrong" but which has never been articulated in print.
  • The CFR is more friendly towards submissions that will upset many readers in the profession. This is a plus, not a minus.
  • The CFR encourages a quick "presubmission." We can provide editorial feedback whether we think a manuscript is a good or a bad fit.

The CFR insists that authors make their programs and/or data available to (data-licensed) researchers upon request.


The hand-collected per-paper citation rankings of the CFR are near the top-3 now. However, citation rankings are not the correct metric for the CFR. About half of the papers in the CFR critique other work. Some of the CFR's publication are influential not because they grow literatures, but because they reduce them. This means their impact is not well measured by cites. (If anything, their impact should be measured by their impact in reducing cites, including to themselves.)

A better metric for the CFR influence in the profession are the number of papers assigned on PhD class reading lists. For papers published in the last 5 years, casual observation suggests that the CFR is at least as good as the top-3 journals per paper already.

Elsevier's scientific citation site SCOPUS has accepted the CFR into its set of journals. Thomson's Web of Science has now created an "Emerging Sciences Citation Index," which makes citation tracking easy, too. (The CFR is also covered in Cabell's International, EconLit/JEL, Electronic Journals Library, Google Scholar, INSPEC,and RePEc/IDEAS.)

Peer Review

The CFR is peer-reviewed, just like any other good academic journal. It is not an editorial journal. The CFR is a peer-reviewed and refereed journal—in the same sense that Nature and Science are. Referees help improve and assess papers. The referees make the decision of whether a paper is correct or incorrect.

However, compared to the other three top finance journals, the editorial decision of whether a submission is interesting is made relatively more by the editor and less by the referee. All finance journals do this; the CFR just does it a little more.

Thanks for the shoutout: and the Boston Arch Diocese.

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