Info for editors of journals

Code of conduct

Public policy


The role of editors

The editor of a journal is the person responsible for its entire content. Owners and editors of medical journals have a common endeavor—publication of a reliable, readable journal produced with due respect for the stated aims of the journal and for costs. Owners and editors, however, have different functions. Owners have the right to appoint and dismiss editors and to make important business decisions in which editors should be involved to the fullest extent possible. Editors must have full authority for determining the editorial content of the journal. The concept of editorial freedom should be resolutely defended by editors even to the extent of their placing their positions at stake. To secure this freedom in practice, the editor should have direct access to the highest level of ownership, not to a delegated manager.

In iMedPub we encourage editors to go further. We encourage editors to take the strides of their journal to drive it through the way of success. Thus, editors are responsible of the contents, but also of promoting the journal, recruiting manuscripts and spreading the diffusion.

 

Responsibilities of the Editorial Board Members

The Editorial Board should assist in a variety of aspects of running the journal. Their responsibilities may include (but are not limited to):

  • Providing scientific credibility for the journal
  • Submitting articles
  • Administering peer review or serving as a peer reviewer
  • Advocating the journal at meetings and conferences
  • Advise you on policy matters
  • Commissioning non-research articles
  • Following iMedPub's code of conduct

Structure of the Editorial Board

The journal's Editorial Board should consist of 25 to 50 members. Depending on their level of responsibility, you may wish to allocate the following roles: Deputy Editor, Executive Editor, Associate Editor, Managing Editor, Section Editor, Research Editor, Statistical Advisor or Advisory Board Member (note that this list is in hierarchical order).

Monitoring and maintaining the Editorial Board

An Editorial Board should not be static; it is good practice to review the contributions and performance of each Board member every couple of years, and then take the opportunity to:

  • Restructure the Board giving more active members increased responsibility.
  • Give less productive members the chance to retire, creating vacancies for new members (this is common practice and should not cause offense).
  • Thank all continuing members for their ongoing contributions; you may also wish to ask them to suggest new colleagues who might be suitable for the Board.

Recruiting new Editorial Board members

When identifying new members to join the Board, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Recruit a 'steering group' who will actively assist in the day-to-day work (peer review administration), such as a Deputy Editor or a Managing Editor.
  • Invite a mix of ‘big names’ who will bring credibility to the journal, and established but junior colleagues who are likely to be able to take on a greater workload.
  • Divide the field into its major subdivisions and ensure each there is representation of each area on the Board.
  • Involve people from the leading research centres in the field.
  • Involve people of various nationalities and/or languages, and both genders. 

When recruiting new Editorial Board members you should clarify the type and amount of work you expect them to contribute. It is also important to quantify each aspect - for instance, you might ask them to suggest two non-research articles to commission each year, and to referee an average of one research article each month.

 

It is also important to keep the Editorial Board involved in the journal and up to date with the latest developments, not least to foster enthusiasm for the journal. We recommend sending regular updates on journal performance to your Board. This can range from details of the submission/publication rates, to information on particularly highly accessed articles or a specific article you would like to highlight.

 

Editorial workflow

The following is the editorial workflow that every manuscript submitted to the journal undergoes during the course of the peer-review process. 

The entire editorial workflow is performed using the online at Journals' OJS site. If you wish to learn how to use OJS as an editor, please visit the PKP School, OJS for editors. Once a manuscript is submitted for publication, the manuscript is checked by the editor in chief to ensure that it is suitable to go through the normal peer review process. Once this is done, the manuscript is sent to a number of Editorial Board Members based on the subject of the manuscript, the availability of the Editors, and the lack of any potential conflicts of interest with the submitting authors. The manuscript may also be sent to a number of external peer reviewers to participate in the peer review process. The journal's editors will have around two weeks to provide either a recommendation for the publication of the manuscript, along with a written commentary detailing any changes that the authors can make to improve their manuscript before final publication, or a written critique of why the manuscript should not be published.

If the majority of the editorial evaluations that are received by the end of this first round of review recommend the manuscript be rejected, the manuscript will be rejected. If all the editorial evaluations that are received recommend that the manuscript be accepted for publication, the manuscript will be accepted. Otherwise, all the received editorial evaluations will be anonymously communicated to all of the Editors who participated in the first round of the review process. Each Editor will be given an additional week to review the feedback of the other Editors and to either confirm or revise their earlier editorial recommendations. If the majority of the editorial evaluations that are received by the end of this second round of review recommend the manuscript be accepted for publication, the manuscript will be accepted. Otherwise, the manuscript will be rejected.

The editorial model is designed to provide fast peer review for each manuscript while at the same time ensuring that only manuscripts that are both rigorous and provide a useful contribution to their field of research are accepted for publication. Since the Editors have direct review responsibilities in this editorial workflow, the identities of the Editors participating in the peer review of a particular manuscript are not revealed during the course of the peer review process. If the manuscript is rejected, the identities of the Editors will remain confidential.

 

Finding referees / reviewers

Editors should always ensure that at least two full reports are received before making a decision, and the manuscripts undergo re-review where appropriate.  Difficulties in finding referees can be a cause of delay during the peer review process. In this document we aim to provide you with some advice on finding reviewers for the journal.

Author suggestions

Upon submission, all authors have the option to suggest up to five suitable referees for their manuscript. We can amend the journal’s settings so that this step is mandatory and you can specify the minimum number of reviewers that should be suggestion. It is worth bearing in mind that there can be a potential for bias with author suggestions.

Indexing suggestions

You may wish to use select key terms to perform your own search in PubMed or other indexing services such as Scopus and Google Scholar to find authors of related articles who may be suitable reviewers for a particular manuscript. Specially designed search engines like the Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) and Peer2ref, Publons and Peerageofscience.org

Using the Editorial Board

The Editorial Board can serve as both a valuable source of reviewers for the journal, and also suggest new reviewers. You may wish to divide the journal’s scope into sub-sections and appoint Editorial Board member with expertise in the specific areas, to each section. Once a manuscript is submitted relevant to that section, the relevant Editorial Board member can then provide referee suggestions.

The article's reference list

Authors mentioned in the reference list for the manuscript under review, may be a useful source of reviewers.

Medicalia.org

Medicalia.org runs a group of reviewers. Just register and contact them. Also in Spanish.

iMedPub's reviewers database

iMedPub runs a database of reviewers (outside of OJS) who kindly gave us their data through a form to be contacted as reviewers of iMedPub Journals. If you are an editor of any iMedPub journal and want to gain access to the database, please contact us (info@imed.pub).

This document details the marketing strategies that can help promote a journal. Whilst these will certainly help to raise awareness, personal advocacy from both yourself and the Editorial Board is usually the best advertisement for the journal.

 

We run our journals using the system OJS. You can find the OJS documentation here.