Editorial board members are people with expertise in a field (or a number of fields) who are committed to the advancement of their field by reviewing for a journal or a specific section of a journal. Members of an editorial board are expected to participate in a structured peer review of a minimum of 8 to 10 manuscripts over the course of the year. Usually, editorial board members review the manuscripts sent by a single, specific editor. However, they are sometimes expected to review assignments from multiple editors in order to balance the workload across the journal’s different sections. Editorial board members are also expected to have prior experience with reviewing manuscripts and a strong commitment to high-quality reviews for the journal that they serve (ASHA, n.d.).
There are a number of different positions for editors who sit on the editorial board. First, there is the lead editor of the journal, also known as the editor-in-chief, who oversees the entirety of the journal and directs the strategy of the journal. The editor-in-chief is expected to make all the final decisions, especially when it comes to reviewing and selecting the manuscripts that make it to publication (Hamburger, 2020).
The associate editor usually assists the editor-in-chief and focuses on creating a steady flow and overseeing the publishing process. Although the associate editor’s responsibilities often depend on the specific journal, they are usually expected to coordinate peer review and collaborate with people submitting to their journal, other section editors, and board members. This person is also expected to be an expert in the field of the journal and have expertise in the editing and reviewing process (Hamburger, 2020).
Section editors are not always present in an editorial board, as this role is highly dependent on the specificity of the journal. The editors in this role have a much more narrow role and are often just responsible for book reviews, opinion pieces, or an academic section. Section editors need to look at their journal’s comments and must stay on top of competitors in order to constantly adapt to a changing editorial world (Hamburger, 2020).
An editorial board is generally a collection of experts in the field and is responsible for two major things. It must work with experts in the field to find new topics and issue calls for publication. This also includes identifying conferences and conventions that the editors can attend and working on increasing the journal’s visibility. Depending on the specific journal guidelines, editorial board members sometimes write articles or editorials (Hamburger, 2020).
Depending on the journal, sometimes a guest editor is invited for either a special issue or through a formal proposal from the researcher or a direct invite from the journal. The special issue must be in the guest editor’s area of expertise, so that specific editor is responsible for that issue’s manuscripts and the other content in the journal. Guest editors work closely with the editor-in-chief in order to ensure that the submissions adhere to the journal’s guidelines. This is usually a great way to try out editorial work and perhaps start a career in that field (Hamburger, 2020).
Read more about how an editorial board is structured here!
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