A new editor’s thoughts and impressions

Phil Martin, Editor, Surface and Coatings Technology

Phil MartinPhil Martin | CSIRO Materials Science & Engineering, Australia | Editor, Surface and Coatings Technology

I joined Elsevier as an Editor for Surface and Coatings Technology in January this year and so I am relatively new to the EES system, at least from the Editor perspective.

I have been a member of the Editorial Board since 1987 and also a reviewer for several other Elsevier journals, so have had some exposure to the system. Having now been in the deep end of the pool for two months I am still on a learning curve but maybe some early impressions and experience may be of interest to others starting out as Editors.

Elsevier provides an excellent on-line introduction to the EES system, which Editors can try at their leisure and familiarize themselves with the aspects that are new to them. The real-time training is invaluable and I would say critical in getting up to speed. There is quite a lot of information to absorb first up and it is necessarily hypothetical, of course, until you are actually working in the EES system for real.  I had a second session using my actual Editor’s work list and practised on real cases, which then closed the loop on many questions that I had.

The main task essentially reduces to finding appropriate reviewers, of course, and this can be a little daunting for the first time.  However, the Scopus system is excellent and my experiences with the searching process to date have been very positive. The system as it works for SCT has some foibles though.  For example, if a potential reviewer is identified and emailed with the standard automated invitation there is no guarantee that the email address is still valid.  By the time you find out that it isn’t, at least five days have been lost. Apart from this issue, which I understand from the EES support office is an internal setting at the journal end, the system works extraordinarily well.  Reviewers that decline are generally very helpful and suggest alternatives although one did suggest the actual author?  When the numbers start to build errors can occur and I have invited an author to review their own paper on one occasion also!

It has been a rewarding experience to date and a great insight into the other side of the fence for a publishing scientist.  The main message I would like to convey to my colleagues in the scientific community is the importance of participating in the reviewing process for scientific journals in order to maintain the high standards we all expect for published scientific literature.

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