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Advice for referees

Refereeing is a vital task. It can vastly improve the quality of a paper, and contributes to improving the science as a whole. The editors of JFP greatly value the work done by referees: Thank you.

Prompt refereeing is very important to JFP, and we ask that referee reports be completed in six weeks. If you cannot make that deadline, please return the paper now. If you can, please confirm now that you'll referee the paper. (Electronic mail is best.) If it takes more than six weeks, we'll contact you to find out what's wrong. We've noticed that referees tend to delay over less good papers - rather than delay, please write a quick and short report explaining why the paper is unappealing.

As a small recognition of your services, we will send you an issue of JFP. If the paper is accepted, we'll send the one in which it appears. With it will go our thanks and appreciation. If you don't receive your free issue please contact the JFP Editorial Assistant.

Your report

Referees reports for JFP should contain three main sections:

Recommendation and comments to editor.

Please give one of the following recommendations:

  • Accept
  • Accept with revisions (but need not be seen by a referee again)
  • Revise (and referee again)
  • Reject

This section is also the place for comments that you wish to make to the editor but not the author.

The report
  • A summary of the paper, stressing what in it is new and interesting (or not!).
  • Your judgement of the overall quality of the paper.Please consider the following questions:
    - Is the topic of the paper interesting, and in scope for JFP?
    - Does the paper make a significant new contribution? Or is it a good tutorial?
    - Is the paper clearly written?
    - Is the paper of an appropriate length?
  • General suggestions for improving the paper, including suggestions about the overall approach or structure of the paper, and for additional work that might be required. If you are recommending acceptance, please clearly distinguish those things that you judge must be done before publication from those that you suggest might be done.
  • Detailed suggestions for improving the paper. Feel free to mark small suggestions directly on the manuscript and return it to us; we will pass it on to the author.

A wise man once gave the following advice: spend the most time refereeing the best papers. If a paper is awful, please don't spend a great deal of time on it. If a paper is good, please do spend a little time to make it better.

We highly recommend Ian Parberry's short paper "A guide for new referees in theoretical computer science'', SIGACT News, 20(4):92-109. JFP will gladly provide a copy on request.


The paper has has been submitted to JFP in confidence. Please do not otherwise cite the paper, or pass it on to others, except with the author's explicit agreement. You are welcome to consult your colleagues about your review, or invite a suitably-qualified colleague to do the review, but please remind them of the restrictions above.

Journal of Functional Programming
  • ISSN: 0956-7968 (Print), 1469-7653 (Online)
  • Frequency: 1 volume per year
Journal of Functional Programming is the only journal devoted solely to the design, implementation, and application of functional programming languages, spanning the range from mathematical theory to industrial practice. Topics covered include functional languages and extensions, implementation techniques, reasoning and proof, program transformation and synthesis, type systems, type theory, language-based security, memory management, parallelism and applications. Special tracks are devoted to tools and applications, commercial uses and education; pearl-type papers are encouraged.