The role of an Editor

Your role as an editor is to be responsible for the overall quality of the journal's intellectual content, maintain and develop to the best of your ability the profile and reputation of the journal, and oversee the review process to ensure it is thorough and fair and timely. You must ensure that the journal's purpose, scope, and content respond to any change in direction in the field of study to include newly emerging work. Editors select co-editors, editorial board members, reviewers, and other editorial positions as needed in developing content for the journal. The editor serves as chairman of the editorial board and oversees its work. Editors can write editorials, request manuscripts on particular issues, and assign guest editors to these special issues. Editors seek opportunities to hold annual editorial board meetings and prepare yearly reports for publishers. Editors can also fire other editors by voting based on their performance during publication.

Responsibilities of an editor

In your role you should:

  • Ensure a supply of high-quality manuscripts to ITALIC 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 cooperation 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 labor.

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.