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Journal Administration

Editorial board #

An editorial board, also known as the editorial team, is a group of people who work on the publication and production of the journal. Members should have clearly defined roles, and each role is responsible for distinct stages of the process. For an introduction to the editorial process, see Module 1 Unit 5 of PKP School’s “Becoming an Editor” series.

The 2016 Editorial Standards guide, published by Editors Canada, contains information about editorial processes and conventions, as well as standards for structural editing, stylistic editing, copyediting and proofreading.

Look around at other journals or publishers for descriptions and examples of their boards (such as Springer and Wiley) to help with the creation of the journal’s board. These slides provide a breakdown of the board structure at the University of Toronto Medical Journal, a student run journal founded in 1923. Including term lengths and how often the Board may meet, in addition to the responsibilities, is a good idea.

Another aspect for consideration would be the diversity of the board. Scholarly publishing traditionally has not been very diverse or inclusive, and there is a movement to change this. The Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications has released a statement of principles that can help guide you.

University Affairs published an article in 2017 that discusses the benefits of participating on a journal’s board and can provide people with an idea of what to expect. Likewise, here is an article from 2016 by Devoney Looser from the Chronicle of Higher Education that provides insight into the editorial process.

Roles and responsibilities #

The titles of these positions may differ between journals, and smaller journals may have one person in all or some of these roles. The following are brief summaries of Board positions with sample job postings, but descriptions should be flexible to accommodate the needs of the journal.

Editor-in-chief #

The Editor-in-chief is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the editorial process. For information on the Editor-in-Chief role, this interview with Dr. Helle Goldman, Editor in Chief of Polar Research, provides some insight.

Sample job description for Editor in Chief of an Open Access Journal #

[X journal] is seeking applications from students for the volunteer position of Editor in Chief for a 2-year term. [Description of journal taken from “About the Journal” page]. [X journal] is a student-run, open access, peer-reviewed journal based at [x institution]

Responsibilities

The duties of the editor-in-chief include:

  • Leading the editorial team in the production of 2 issues annually
  • Providing strategic direction for [x journal] in collaboration with the editorial team
  • Promoting the journal to authors and readers across [x institution / department / field of research]
  • Recruiting new members for the editorial team as required.

Benefits

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in scholarly publishing, editing, web design, and project management while collaborating with a team of colleagues to enhance the [x] field by publishing quality work written by [students, etc].

Requirements

  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks and manage deadlines
  • Ability to work in a highly collaborative environment with a team of volunteers
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Some knowledge of current research trends in [x field]
  • Experience with the peer review process is an asset
  • Experience with Open Journal Systems (OJS) and / or content management systems is an asset.

Application procedure

Please apply with a current cover letter and resume to [email address] by the deadline of [date].

Managing editor #

Reports to the editor-in-chief, and oversees the operations of the journal, keeping the team on schedule. With section editors, makes decisions on submissions, and may be the point of contact between the journal and authors.

Sample job description for Managing Editor of an Open Access Journal #

[X journal] is seeking applications from students for the volunteer position of Managing Editor for a 2-year term, with approximate hours of 8+ per week throughout the semester. [Description of journal taken from “About the Journal” page]. [X journal] is a student-run, open access, peer-reviewed journal based at [x institution].

Responsibilities

The duties of the Managing Editor include:

  • Reports to the Editor in Chief
  • Supervision of editorial team: assigning articles, overseeing publication schedules
  • Making decisions, in collaboration with editorial team, on submissions
  • Oversees the daily activities of the journal

Benefits

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in scholarly publishing, editing, web design, and project management while collaborating with a team of colleagues to enhance the [x] field by publishing quality work written by [students, etc].

Requirements

  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks and manage deadlines
  • Ability to work in a highly collaborative environment with a team of volunteers
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Some knowledge of current research trends in [x field]
  • Experience with the peer-review process is an asset
  • Experience with Open Journal Systems (OJS) and / or content management systems is an asset

Application procedure

Please apply with a current cover letter and resume to [email address] by the deadline of [date].

Section editor #

Reporting to the Managing Editor, a Section Editor (or Associate Editor) manages the progression of articles from submission to publication by communicating with authors, peer reviewers, and copy editors regarding article reviews and revisions. Will often have the final decision whether a submission is accepted or rejected.

Sample job description for Section Editor of an Open Access Journal #

[X journal] is seeking applications from students for the volunteer position of Section Editor for a 2-year term, for approximately 4-6 hours per week throughout the semester. [Description of journal taken from “About the Journal” page]. [X journal] is a student-run, open access, peer-reviewed journal based at [x institution].

The duties of the Section Editor include:

  • Reports to the Managing Editor
  • Point of contact between peer reviewers, editorial team, and authors during the publication process
  • Makes decisions, in collaboration with editorial team, on submissions.

Benefits

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in scholarly publishing, editing, web design, and project management while collaborating with a team of colleagues to enhance the [x] field by publishing quality work written by [students, etc].

Requirements

  • Ability to work in a highly collaborative environment with a team of volunteers
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Some knowledge of current research trends in [x field]
  • Experience with the peer review process is an asset
  • Experience with Open Journal Systems (OJS) and / or content management systems is an asset

Application procedure

Please apply with a current cover letter and resume to [email address] by the deadline of [date].

Layout editor #

Layout editors prepare the manuscript for publication by formatting the article in accordance with journal policies and style guide. Academic journals typically publish in PDF and/or HTML, but other formats such as XML and EPUB may be used.

Sample job description for Layout Editor of an Open Access Journal #

[X journal] is seeking applications from students for the volunteer position of Layout Editor for a 2-year term, for approximately 2-4 hours per week, concentrated later in the semester. [Description of journal taken from “About the Journal” page]. [X journal] is a student-run, open access, peer-reviewed journal based at [x institution].

Responsibilities

The duties of the Layout Editor include:

  • Preparing manuscripts for publication
  • Designing layouts for editors
  • Providing guidance and assistance in choosing photos, graphics, and fonts
  • Creating files in multiple formats (e.g. PDF, HTML).

Benefits

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in scholarly publishing, editing, web design, and project management while collaborating with a team of colleagues to enhance the [x] field by publishing quality work written by [students, etc].

Requirements

  • Familiarity with Open Journal Systems [or other content management software], Adobe InDesign, and [software] is an asset
  • Knowledge of manuscript layouts is an asset
  • Able to collaborate with colleagues and writers
  • Punctual and capable of working under pressure and with short deadlines
  • Strong attention to detail

Application procedure

Please apply with a current cover letter and resume to [email address] by the deadline of [date].

Peer reviewers #

Provide constructive feedback on the manuscript, including recommendations on whether the article is ready for publication. The Journal BiNET provides guidelines that may be helpful for new reviewers.

Sample job description for Peer Reviewers for an Open Access Journal #

[X journal] is seeking applications from students for the volunteer position of Peer Reviewer for a 2-year term, for approximately 2-4 hours a week, concentrated mid-semester. [Description of journal taken from “About the Journal” page]. [X journal] is a student-run, open access, peer-reviewed journal based at [x institution].

Responsibilities

The duties of the Peer Reviewers include: Provides constructive criticism of articles and recommendations on publication decisions Provides unbiased comments that should assist the author with revisions Maintains confidentiality of the review process during and after publication.

Benefits

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in scholarly publishing, editing, web design, and project management while collaborating with a team of colleagues to enhance the [x] field by publishing quality work written by [students, etc].

Requirements

  • Strong written communication skills
  • Knowledge of current research trends in [x field]
  • Experience with the peer-review process
  • Experience with Open Journal Systems (OJS) and / or content management systems is an asset
  • Punctual and capable of working under pressure and with short deadlines
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Familiarity with [citation style AND journal style].

Application procedure Please apply with a current cover letter and resume to [email address] by the deadline of [date].