Professional development for editors


Pippa Smart, UK


Pippa Smart, PSP Consulting, UK
Clarinda Cerejo, Editage, India
Sioux Cumming, INASP, UK
Maria Kowalczuk , BioMed Central, UK

What skills does an editor need, and how can you be sure that you are maintaining currency with a changing publishing environment? Increasing ethical awareness and exposure of fraudulent publishing practices have led to criticism of editorial practices and increased the need for editors to pre-empt problems before publication. How do editors maintain up-to-date knowledge of their environment and ensure that they are working optimally?This session aims to provide a snapshot of available support in different regions of the world. Speakers will discuss available resources and development opportunities, and reveal if editors are aware of what is available, and how willing they are to invest time and effort in taking advantage of the opportunities.


What editors want and what they get

Pippa Smart, PSP Consulting, UK

Reporting on the results of a survey undertaken in early 2014, this talk will provide a summary of what professional training editors receive, what they want, and what they are aware of. The survey was completed by over 150 editors from around the world and will provide feedback on topics they would like to know more about, and how much support is provided by their publishers, editorial (and other) associations, and how much time they are willing to invest in developing their editorial skills and knowledge. The survey also reports on what publishers provide to their editors, to identify if there is a mis-match between what the publishers think their editors want, and what the editors themselves report.

Education resources by editors and for editors

Clarinda Cerejo, Editage, India

The internet, with its all-you-can-read-for-free offerings, has made learning and development exceedingly easy. Yet, few online platforms allow learning and information exchange among editors. Given the surge in publication volumes, the demand for the highest standards of ethical publication practices, and divergent views on the way forward for the publication industry, the pressure on journal editors to increase their reach and be transparent about their processes is immense. While editor-exclusive forums like WAME and EASE certainly help journal editors exchange ideas for their professional development, there is a distinct lack of forums allowing editors to share ideas and information with both authors and other editors.

This segment of the professional development section will discuss how Editage Insights, an online learning and discussion platform for authors and journals, developed and run by authors’ editors, can help journal editors increase their journal’s reach and recommend journal best practices through interviews, exchange ideas on new developments in the industry through thought-provoking articles, and understand the pain points authors encounter in the publication process through case studies and questions submitted by authors themselves. Since Editage Insights is available in English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean, it enables editors to reach out to authors and other editors throughout the world.

How INASP helps strengthen the quality and visibility of developing country research
Sioux Cumming, Programme Manager, Journals Online, INASP, UK

INASP is an international development charity working for 20 years with a global network of partners to improve access, production and use of research information and knowledge, so that countries are equipped to solve their own development challenges. Support for journal editors in developing countries is a vital component of this work and is achieved in a variety of ways. The Journals Online platforms were developed for journals which had previously been available only in print and which had therefore been largely invisible to the global research community. During the process of moving online, the editors have been offered a series of workshops which provided training in the use of the Journals Online (JOL) websites, but which also included training on editorial best practice.

More recently our focus has been on assisting the editors to meet the international publishing standards for their journals. This is being achieved through the provision of resources, workshops, small grants and individual mentoring. Recent workshops in Sri Lanka, Honduras and Nepal have already led to improvements. We are also collaborating with African Journals Online to develop a set of journal seals or tiers which will indicate different tiers of publishing quality for the journals on the JOL sites. The AuthorAID project at INASP also provides support to editors by providing a service for their authors so that the submitted manuscripts are of a higher quality.

How can a publisher support its Editors? A perspective from BioMed Central

Maria Kowalczuk, Deputy Biology Editor, BioMed Central, UK

BioMed Central is a publisher of over 250 online, open access journals across the fields of biology and medicine. Many of the journals are managed by in-house teams, but most are managed by external academics in various roles: Editors-in-Chief, Section Editors and Associate Editors. BioMed Central provides support for these external editors in a variety of different forms. Editors have access to a dedicated website that includes resources such as Editorial Policies; advice on using our systems; handling manuscripts and making editorial decisions; developing journals and our Code of Conduct for Editors.

We have also recently launched an online distance learning course with five modules: Editors’ role and editorial policies; Dos and Don’ts of peer review; Peer review: how to make a decision; Post publication issues; and Publication and research ethics and misconduct. Each journal has a dedicated in-house contact for external editors who are able to answer most of the queries of their day-to-day work. More complex or problematic issues can be escalated to the Publisher or to the Biology and Medical Editors. The latter are a team of five experienced editors dedicated to maintaining best practice in peer review across all journals, as well as consistency in advising on all aspects of research and publication ethics. The Biology and Medical Editors are responsible for defining BioMed Central’s editorial policies and work closely with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) to ensure that the journals’ editorial processes are consistent with recognized best practice in scholarly publishing. All BioMed Central journals are members of COPE and OASPA.