This short guide aims to summarise the key principles, tasks and relationships of the journal editor role. Becoming an editor of a journal is an exciting but daunting task, especially if you are working alone without day to day contact with editorial colleagues. You may have encountered several different processes, systems and ways of working in your experiences with journals, as author, reviewer, editorial board member on your way to becoming an editor.
These guidelines offer a systematic framework to organise your approach to your new editorial position, understanding the current status, familiarising yourself with current practices, beginning to build relationships with key members of the editorial and wider community and assessing the needs for development. COPE Guidelines are formal COPE policy and are intended to advise editors and publishers on expected publication ethics practice.
Familiarise yourself with the journals current workflows, policies and practices – the COPE Journal Audit provides a framework to help with this.
Refer to COPE’s Core Practices to establish the journal’s infrastructure, editorial policies and ethical processes.
Establish relationships with the journal community; outgoing editor, editorial board, reviewers, authors, to learn from their experiences, establish expectations and guidelines, and identify areas for development.
Build a relationship with the publisher of the journal and your editorial, production, marketing contacts, to understand their processes, establish expectations and the support they can offer for your role and editorial activities.
Review the journals peer review process to ensure it reflects the best current practices, meets the needs of the journal, and is consistent with the Instructions to Authors.
Ensure the journal has procedures in place to address and respond to complaints, and cases of possible misconduct/inappropriate behaviour.
Follow discussions on new publishing models, new models of peer review and changing practices, and be continuously thinking about ways your journal might develop.