Editorial Boards

October 1, 2012

Obviously it is an academic career credit to be selected as the Editor in Chief of a journal, no matter how humble that journal may be.

And I would tend to say the same for Associate Editor appointments, i.e. those positions with the authority to manage review and make accept/reject decisions.

The role of Editorial Board membership is less obvious. This is a nebulous category for which your name is formally listed but your only responsibility is to promise to do reviews when asked. Probably not even that for some of these gigs. The other “responsibility”, I surmise, is simply to lend your name and reputation as a seal of approval to the journal.

This latter is the only reason that makes sense when a list of BSD types appears on the Editorial Board of what is generally regarded as a lowly, but still somewhat respectable, journal in your field.

How many of these Boards should you be on? When you are on zero, then presumably you should take whatever is on offer. But after that? How many? 2? 10?

Is there a point at which Editorial Board participation just looks like ego gratification? Should you gently suggest the EiC ask someone younger, browner and/or female-er?

I happened to be looking over an Editorial Board of a journal recently and was thinking they really could stand to refresh with some younger and less majority-in-science names. Perhaps I shall send the EiC a list of suggestions….

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No Responses Yet to “Editorial Boards”

  1. Pinko Punko Says:

    Ed Board is to stock up on biggies that can support status quo in status journals- the “we didn’t send you paper out for review but it was looked over by a qualified ed board member and was not glamorous enough”- that is at big journals. At other ones, not all, it is to just be deluged with manuscript reviews.

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  2. qaz Says:

    Editorial board is (1) a recognition from the journal that you are a prominent researcher in that field and (2) an endorsement from you that the journal is a real journal in that field. It is a mutual recognition deal.

    As a manuscript author, if you are unsure whether your work is going to fly at some journal, you can check the editorial board to see if you are likely to get sympathetic reviewers. As a mid-range professor being considered for promotion or for an award, you can list the journals you are on as part of your CV.

    In my experience, editorial boards do not increase the number of reviews I get beyond what I was getting before. I tend to be more likely to accept reviews from journals on which I’m on the editorial board. But generally, I haven’t seen it change much.

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  3. AcademicLurker Says:

    My favorite Editorial Board story is when a colleague of mine discovered that he was on the EB of a journal only when he was looking through a copy and saw his name listed.

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