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Engaging your editorial board

You’ve created your editorial board and they’re coming up with some great ideas to progress your journal. But that’s just the beginning. As editor-in-chief you need to continually review the effectiveness of the board and tackle any areas that need improvement.

Two key ways to keep your board creating new and fresh ideas is to continually engage with the board, and if necessary, to change the board members.

Engaging your editorial board

As editor, you are responsible for creating the editorial board, and for engaging with the board once it is in existence. A good editorial board should be valued and feel they have ownership over the journal. They should feel a sense of community between them. This isn’t always easy with geographic and time zone differences, but these steps can help:

  • produce an editor’s digest to let board members know about new journal developments
  • create an online forum for discussion about best practices and future improvements
  • arrange an annual board meeting – learn how to run a successful editorial board meeting
  • meet and discuss the journal at conferences that board members are attending

Changing editorial board members

It’s also important you ensure a regular injection of fresh and diverse perspectives to keep the board effective. When considering an editorial board refresh, you should consider:

  • board member activity on your peer review site to see who is contributing to the journal
  • participation in journal discussion and activities
  • responsiveness to all forms of communications, including email

When you set up your board or add new members, you may want to consider instituting an initial term of service. This can give you a useful review point to make sure the role is still working for both of you. You may also want to review who is serving on your board to:

  • provide extra support to board members handling lots of submissions
  • remove any inactive or retired board members
  • cover new subject areas not previously included in the Aims & Scope
  • cover new geographical areas

Should anyone choose to resign from your board, make sure you send a letter of appreciation for their work.

The secret to a successful editorial board

Ultimately you should aim to create an engaged and collaborative board community. In return your board should strive to create an excellent journal that publishes impactful research. And while you should review processes regularly, it is the human interaction with your board that will improve your journal. Share ideas and opportunities with all board members and ensure that all members feel valued and listened too.

These tips will ensure that you and your board have a good working relationship, that will improve and drive your journal forward.

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