The role of journal editors

  • Decides if a submitted paper meets a quality threshold to go out for peer review    
  • Seeks out peer reviewers (referees) of relevant expertise    
  • Reminds the referees that their reports were due 3 weeks ago    
  • Facilitates communication between authors and referees, in the case that the paper is resubmitted with revisions    
  • Makes an executive decision, nominally based on the referee reports, about whether to accept the paper or not
  • They helps set-up the direction of the Journal
  • Editor(s)-in-chief interacts with the Society’s permanent stuff in terms of budget, etc.
  • Editor(s)-in-chief manages the Associate Editors. For example, he may organize special Issues, add/remove Editorial topics of interest
  • An editor should endeavor to be a leader in the specific field of practice underpinning journal content as it helps the journal development, presence and standing within the international community.
  • An editor should also familiarize themselves with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) ‘Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors ’. This has a large resource on the topic of ethical conduct of journal editors, authors and reviewers.
  • Depending on how the journal is managed and how it is structured, an Editor may have to make all the decisions regarding which articles to accept or reject for publication. However many journals will have Associate Editors, Assistant Editors or Section Editors to help them with making those important decisions. For example, any decision involving unethical practice, will often involve the publisher or their representative alongside the Editor and a Section Editor who has discovered the issue.


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