Peer Review Best Practice Part III: Selecting and Utilizing the Editorial Board

By Jennifer Stephenson, Peer Review Specialist, SAGE US

The editorial board is a key component in the functioning of a journal and when managed and utilized effectively, can significantly enhance the efficiency of the peer review process.   With board members’ busy schedules, it can be quite a challenge to organize and make requests of the board, but when well utilized, the editorial board can decrease the time editors spend searching for reviewers and enhance the pool of reviewers available to the publication for peer review. Below are a few tips for success for how a journal’s editor can work with SAGE to effectively select and utilize an Editorial Board.

When an editor is building a journal’s editorial board, it is important that the members reflect the aims and scope of the journal and that they are willing to participate in journal activities, including peer review and soliciting manuscripts.  The members of the board should also represent the range of topics published in the journal so that the editor has experts in a variety of topics that can be called upon as needed.  Additionally, it is important that the editorial board is geographically diverse in order to enhance the interest of potential readers, authors, and reviewers across the globe.  To assist editors in selecting editorial board members and help get the word out, SAGE can post a call for editorial board members on the journal website including a description of what the editor is looking for. SAGE can also pull reports of authors who have submitted to the journal for the editor’s review – frequent contributors can make great editorial board members!

In terms of the board’s involvement in the peer review process, the editor should set clear expectations that board members will complete reviews and assist in identifying potential reviewers for the journal.  By setting the expectation that editorial board members complete at least three reviews annually, for example, the editor has a built-in group of reviewers who will complete high quality reviews at a quicker turn-around time.  This will also mean that the editor will spend less time looking for reviewers, reducing the time it takes to reach a decision on a given manuscript. When the editor is having a hard time finding reviewers for a paper, members of the editorial board familiar with the topic in question can be called upon to make suggestions.  In addition, editorial board members should always be recruiting strong reviewers who can actively review for the journal. For efficient communication with board members, journal editors can use SAGEtrack, our online peer review system powered by Scholar One Manuscripts. Members of SAGE’s peer review team are more than happy to help editors navigate the SAGEtrack system.

If you have any of your own peer review-related questions or ideas, SAGE is here to help! Leave a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

For more on peer review best practice topics, check out my previous posts on the practice of inviting reviewers and making reject without review decisions:

5 Tips for Getting your Article through Peer Review Quickly and Successfully

Peer Review Best Practices Part I: Inviting Reviewers

Peer Review Best Practices Part II: Reject without External Review

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