The purpose of the paper is to consider the principal issues and responsibilities of Journal Editor.
One of the key role of a Journal Editor is to promote scholarship in the specialist field associated with the journal. For any journal the Editor will need to encourage new and established Authors to submit articles and set up a reliable Panel of Expert Reviewers.
The Editor should familiarize with the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors and has to adhere the Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.
The Editor has to make all the decisions regarding rejection or acceptance of articles for publication. However, they may have Associate Editors, Assistant Editors or Section Editors to help them with making those important decisions.
The Editor of the scientific journal has a lot of responsibilities toward
• the Authors
• the Peer Reviewers
• the journal’s readers
• the Publisher of the journal.
Besides, the Editor has several principal groups of people to contact on a regular basis:
• the Publisher Team
• the Authors
• the Reviewers.
The publisher team works with the Editor to coordinate the publishing process of the journal. For example, the Publisher’s Team agrees with the Editor the content of each issue and sends the Editor information concerning all articles in their various stages of the editorial process.
Editor’s responsibilities toward Authors
The Editor should normally check the articles to see if they meet the minimum criteria for publication in the journal. The Editor mays sometimes reject manuscripts without peer review. Reasons for this practice are usually that the paper
• is beyond of the journal scope
• does not meet the quality standards of the journal
• is not sufficiently novel
• is of limited scientific merit.
Editors’ decisions to reject or accept a manuscript for publication should be based on the importance, originality and clarity of the manuscript and its relevance to the remit of the journal.
In general, the Editor is looking for essential characteristics in an article in order to maintain the quality of the journal.
Editor’s responsibilities to Authors are:
• Providing Authors with Quality Guidelines/Instructions on the process of preparation and submission of manuscripts, which describe everything that is expected of them.
• Providing Authors with the Journal’s Policy and Ethics.
• Providing a description of peer review processes.
• Informing Authors that the submission is evaluated according to the standard procedures of the journal.
• Establishing a system for an effective and timely peer review.
• Making editorial decisions timely.
• Informing Authors of manuscripts that it is inappropriate to manipulate citations.
• Establishing a procedure for reconsidering of the editorial decisions.
• Communicating all other editorial policies and standards clearly.
Editor’s responsibilities toward Reviewers
It is always an issue for a journal to have a good Panel of Reviewers. One of the ways is to invite Reviewers with expertise in the subject areas related to the journal. The other way is to invite Authors who have published in the journal. Invited Reviewers should be mindful of the total time spent on the review and giving prompt feedback to the Editors. They should also communicate with Editors regularly so that they can quickly provide feedback.
Editor’s responsibilities to Reviewers are:
• Providing Quality Guidelines for peer reviewing of manuscripts.
• Establishing a process for Reviewers to ensure that they consider the manuscript as a confidential document and complete the peer review promptly.
• Assigning papers for review according to each Reviewer’s area of interest and expertise.
• Providing the Journal’s Policy and Ethics for Reviewers.
• Requesting that Reviewers identify any potential conflicts of interest and asking that they disclose it to the Editor when responding.
• Allowing Reviewers appropriate time to make their reviewer’s reports.
• Requesting reviews at a valid frequency.
• Finding ways to recognize the contributions of Reviewers.
Editor’s responsibilities toward Readers
Editors have the responsibility to inform and educate the readers. Making clear and rational editorial decisions will ensure the best selection of content that contributes to the scientific knowledge.
Editor’s responsibilities to Readers are:
• Providing literature references and authors’ contact information so interested readers may pursue further discourse.
• Creating mechanisms to determine if the journal provides what readers need and want.
• Disclosing all relevant potential conflicts of interest of those involved in considering a manuscript or affirming that none exists.
• Providing a mechanism for a further discussion on the scientific significance of a paper, such as by publishing letters to the Editor, article blogs or other forms of public discourse.
• Stating the journal policies regarding ethics, embargo, submission and publication fees, and accessibility of content.
Citation manipulation refers to any practice that pressures Authors to cite material with the primary goal of boosting citation rates. The world’s scientific community considers all such practices unacceptable.
The next forms of citation manipulation have to be reported:
• Editors request that Authors add citations from their own journal or a disproportionate number of articles from their own journal are cited.
• Authors cite a large number of their own articles.
• Reviewers suggest citing their own papers.
• A group of colleagues regularly cite each other’s articles.
Considering appeals for rejected manuscripts
Editor makes the best efforts to solicit unbiased peer reviews to evaluate manuscripts fairly and to make decisions that are in the best interest of the journal and its readers. Despite of these Editors’ best efforts Authors may still want to dispute editorial decisions. A lot of journals allow Authors to write a rebuttal letter explaining why the decision is viewed as unfair.
Editor should have a policy in place to address appeals and help resolve these issues:
• Determine whether the decision was clearly explained to the Author and whether it may have been based on wrong or questionable information.
• Reconsider rejected papers if the Author provides justified reasons why the decision may have been wrong.
• Encourage re-submission of papers that are potentially acceptable but were rejected because major revision was required. Explain precisely what is necessary to make the paper potentially acceptable.
. The Council of Science Editors. Editor Roles and Responsibilities. Available at: http://www.councilscienceeditors.org/resource-library/editorial-policies/white-paper-on-publication-ethics/2-1-editor-roles-and-responsibilities/
. The Role of an Editor – Elsevier. Available at: https://www.elsevier.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/95117/SC_FAQ-Role-of-an-Editor-22092014.pdf.
. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors. Available at: http://publicationethics.org/files/Code%20of%20Conduct_2.pdf.
. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Flowcharts. Available at: http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts.