Golden rules for scholarly journal editors
[This post is co-authored by Sylwia B. Ufnalska, freelance science translator and editor, Poznan, Poland; and Arjan K.S. Polderman, editor of Pharmaceutisch Weekblad, Den Haag, the Netherlands. The content in this post is reproduced by courtesy of the The European Association of Science Editors (EASE). The original publication can be found here.]
As editors, all of us tend to be utterly busy, so we may sometimes be lost in details and leave behind about crucial things. Thus it seems useful to draft a list of golden rules to keep in mind what is essential in our work. Editors can stick it on their notice board and learn the rules by heart.
Our initial draft, composed of 7 rules, was discussed on the EASE Forum in May 2014. Consequently, Three fresh rules were added (#Two, #9, and #Ten), while Five rules were specified more clearly (#Three, #Four, #Five, #6, and #7), and we supplemented them with references to further reading. The resultant amended draft was introduced at the EASE Conference in Split, Croatia, in June 2014. We are very grateful to all contributors to the discussion of both drafts: Richard Lorch, Ed Hull, Marcin Kozak, Irene Hames, Angela Turner, Norman Grossblatt, Mary Ellen Kerans, Eva Baranyiova, Armen Gasparyan, and other editors.
The final version, endorsed by EASE Council soon after the conference in Split, is shown in the table below. The keywords are marked in bold and we did our best to keep the golden rules brief, as we want them to be as ordinary and useful as possible.
Any comments and remarks are very welcome.
Golden rules for scholarly journal editorsNotes1. Be aware of your target audience. 2. Make instructions to authors ordinary and understandable, and review them regularly.In the instructions, authors can be asked to go after EASE Guidelines1 (available in >20 languages)Trio. Ensure a fair peer review process (usually with 2-3 reviews, or more if necessary).See section Four of Science Editors’ Handbook2 and The golden rules and the peer review good practice checklist34. Pay due attention to ethical issues: data fabrication or manipulation, plagiarism, authorship, conflict of interest, copyright, legislation, etc.See section Five of Science Editors’ Handbook2, page Ten of EASE Guidelines1 (publication ethics checklist), and COPE flowcharts45. Respect others; inform authors about progress and delays as soon as possible; do not overburden reviewers and authors. 6. Do your best to ensure that publications are accomplish, concise, and clear, with suitable methods and correct citations.See sections 1-2 of Science Editors’ Handbook2, reporting guidelines (eg in EQUATOR Network5), and San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment67. Make sure that abstracts decently summarize essential information (usually: background, objectives, methods, results, and conclusions) and contain major keywords.See pages Two & 7 of EASE Guidelines18. Ensure safe long-term storage of publications and documentation of the editorial process. 9. Develop your journal.See sections Three & 6 of Science Editors’ Handbook2 and European Science Editing710. Perfection is unlikely to reach, so common sense is necessary.
Further reading: International Standards for Editors and Authors8, Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors9, etc.