The role of an Editor

Your role as editor is to maintain and develop wherever possible the journal’s profile and reputation. You have final responsibility for the journal’s content. You should ensure that the journal’s aims, scope and content respond to any changes of direction in the field of study to incorporate newly-emerging work. You will work closely with the journal’s publishing staff to ensure that it is strategically developed in line with market evolution. Both you and the publishing staff will make recommendations in this regard, based on your complementary expertise and sources of information.

Responsibilities of an editor

In your role you should:

  • Ensure a supply of high-quality manuscripts to Elsevier in quantities that are able to maintain the publishing schedule of the journal. If insufficient manuscripts are being submitted, then you should discuss how to address this with your publishing contact.
  • Ensure that the subject matter of the manuscripts reflects any changes of direction in the field of study to incorporate newly-emerging work (this may necessitate inviting articles or special issues).
  • Conduct your activities in accordance with generally accepted industry standards for integrity and objectivity and with the policies of the journal and the publisher. We further recommend that you consult the COPE short guide to ethical editing.
  • Select the Editorial Board, in co-operation with your publishing contact.
  • Continually engage the Editorial Board on the progress of the journal and update and include them on ideas for editorial development. The Editorial Board should be involved formally through an annual Editorial Board meeting or informally in ad hoc meetings and discussions.
  • Provide strategic input into your journal’s development. Your publishing contact will be in touch regularly to report on the journal’s performance and suggest possible strategies for development, as well as discuss your suggestions.
  • Highlight commercial advertising, supplement, and reprint opportunities, if these form important sources of income for your journal.
  • Promote the journal to peers and colleagues.

Additional editors

In general, a journal will have multiple editors if it is:

  • Very large, and the number of submissions is too great for one editor to handle, and/or
  • The scope of the journal is so broad that it is not possible for one editor to make informed decisions about submissions in all subject areas.

Multiple editors may sit between the Editor(s)-in-Chief and the Editorial Board, and can also be referred to as:

  • Co-Editors
  • Associate Editors
  • Section Editors
  • Editorial Advisors
  • Editorial Committee Members

If you are working with additional editors, then papers may be divided between you on the basis of:

  • Geographical origin.
  • Specialization.
  • Type of contribution, such as original articles or reviews.
  • Equal division of labour.

Multiple editors may have different roles, depending on the journal. Your publishing contact will be able to advise you on these.

Guest editors

Guest editors play a vital role in acquiring content and leading the review process for special issue publications.

Read more about the role and responsibilities of guest editors here

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