This is a strictly technical question on peer-review systems currently employed in the mathematical literature, not a subjective discussion of merits/drawbacks of such systems, so I think/hope it's suitable for MO.

I have noticed that some journals (e.g. PNAS, CRAS, Nonlinearity...) always publish papers with the name of the editor who supervised the refereeing process ("Presented by X", "Recommended by X", "Communicated by X"). Most other journals, while having editors listed explicitly for each area (and hence in theory one could also know in most cases who supervised what), do not make this explicit.

I was wondering was difference it makes, as a junior author, to have an editor's name on a paper:

  • is that a strong endorsement of the paper?
  • a way to say that the journal is ultra-strict about the refereeing process?
  • simply a full-disclosure practise of the journal?
  • an incentive to publish there (when some editor is a "big name", or to make sure a specific person read your paper) ?

It's really not clear to me.


Journals of scientific societies (such as PNAS, CRAS) were, once upon a time, records of meetings and a member of the society would actually present the papers he accepted to the other members, so in this case I believe it's just a tradition. In the case of Nonlinearity it's probably just an affectation. Pay no attention to this stuff.


I actually think these "communicated by" lines are very useful: they let young authors know which editors publish which topics. It's not always clear to me which editor is the right one to submit to, but I can look up similar papers and find editors that way.

  • $\begingroup$ +1, with the proviso that it does depend a bit on the journal and on the editor. One rule of thumb is to submit to an editor who you may know or who may have seen your past work, but who isn't so close that there's a conflict of interest. $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Feb 20 '10 at 19:21

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