Recently a member of the AuthorAID community asked for my advice about how they should respond to an invitation to join the editorial board of a journal. I thought my answer might also be helpful to others so I’m sharing it here. Please do add your advice in the comments too.
Before anything else, if you get an invitation like this I advise that you check that it is from a journal you can trust and want your name associated with. There are, unfortunately, worldwide, many journals that are not trustworthy. Use the checklist at Think. Check. Submit. and resources on the AuthorAID website for advice. Beyond checking it is trustworthy, check that it is relevant to your research area.
Assuming you are happy with the journal's integrity and scope, I asked my husband, who is a senior academic at a UK university, what he advises. He noted three things that researchers need for participating in a journal editorial board:
- Time – it is time consuming finding reviewers and engaging with editorial discussions about a journal. The exact role of the editorial board can vary between journals, and the workload can depend on the size and frequency of the publication and the number of other people involved. Check with the journal what role they expect you play and how much time they are likely to require from you.
- Knowledge of the subject area and the people in this area - you need to be able to decide if a paper is within the journal's scope and who to send papers to for review.
- Awareness that you may at times be unpopular - editors have to reject papers that are out of scope or not good enough quality to publish and so this can make authors unhappy.
These are serious considerations to make. However, there are positives of being part of a journal’s editorial board too. If it is a journal in your area that you trust and you are confident that you have the time and relevant knowledge, it is an opportunity to help your research field and the researchers in it. It is also something that will bring you new experiences and learning opportunities. It can help you in being more connected with your field and is something you can put on your CV.
Do you have any advice to add? Do you have any good or bad experiences of being part of a journal’s editorial board that you would like to share? Please comment below.