Process Improvement Manager
Sheridan Journal Services
Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Director of Publications
Botanical Society of America
Managing Editor, American Journal of Botany
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
American Academy of Neurology
Director of Publications
American Meteorological Society
Symbiosis with Your Vendors
Nancy Devaux, Process Improvement Manager for Sheridan Journal Services (SJS), discussed the various roles production vendors perform. A journals program may need assistance with a single service or task (e.g., graphics processing, copyediting, or proofreading), with multiple services aligned in a process (e.g., article composition, author proofing, and revisions), or with a more comprehensive level of service (e.g., peer-review management or full issue production). There are three primary considerations for a journal publisher or managing editor when seeking assistance from a vendor: effort, cost, and control. Devaux analyzed each of the service categories in terms of levels of effort, different kinds of costs, and to what extent editors want (or need) to maintain control “in the weeds.” Devaux also shared her direct experience (and that of the SJS staff) as to what makes for a great relationship between managing editors and production editors. Via many examples, she made it clear that being in sync on expectations, on the staging and scheduling of processes, on working through changes, and on communication styles and needs allow the relationship to succeed. Discussions between journals and their vendors are critical, particularly regarding anything that will affect schedule, quality, or the journal’s reputation. Finally, journals’ managing editors should rely on their vendors for their expertise.
Understanding Your Editor, Reviewers, and Authors
In this presentation, Denis Baskin, Executive Editor of the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry, helped participants learn how scientists view publishing and how publishing fits into the professional life of a scientist. He addressed the potential conflicts that can arise as a result of editorial office personnel working with editors, authors, and reviewers that often have limited knowledge of the process of scientific publication, whereas editorial office personnel are often unfamiliar with the different perspectives of editors, reviewers, and authors, and what these individuals expect in their interactions with an editorial office. This presentation focused on the attitudes and expectations that editors, reviewers, and authors bring to their roles in the publication process.
Baskin discussed the problem of image fraud in scientific misconduct in this presentation, and he focused on the available tools an editorial office can use for detecting image manipulations. The presentation explained the differences between acceptable and unacceptable alterations in images and suggested policies an editorial office can follow in dealing with cases of image manipulation and suspected image fraud.
What Does a Managing Editor Do?
Amy McPherson, Director of Publications of the Botanical Society of America and Managing Editor of the American Journal of Botany, spoke about the myriad tasks and central role of the managing editor in an editorial office. This person handles a lot of responsibilities, some of them technical in nature, but the most important ones involve working with other people: staff; authors, reviewers, editors, and readers; society members and boards; publishers and vendors; and colleagues that one meets through professional meetings and interactions. She discussed various ways managing editors can handle these relationships successfully, drawing upon her many years of experience. These include treating everyone with respect, developing processes and policies that help the authors’ work, for example, making manuscript submission simple, encouraging data sharing, and structuring metadata so work is discoverable; being supportive and flexible with reviewers and editors; planning productive editorial board meetings; and forging relationships with freelancers, society members, vendors, publishers, and colleagues in publishing-related groups (Council of Science Editors, Society for Scholarly Publishing, International Society of Managing and Technical Editors, etc.). In the end, the managing editor brings everyone to the table to collaborate on serving science through publications—and aspires to smooth day-to-day running of the editorial office, making it seem effortless (when we all know there is a lot of effort that goes into it!).
Mastering Peer Review Systems (Or at Least Understanding How They Function!)
Shari Leventhal, Managing Editor of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), provided a brief overview on the concept of peer review, followed by an explanation of how peer-review systems work and how they can be utilized beyond the scope of peer review. Peer-review systems enable editorial teams to manage multiple manuscripts in varying stages of peer review simultaneously, based upon the specific customizable needs of a journal (or multiple journals). Additional benefits of peer-review systems include the ability to check for plagiarism and exporting reporting metrics.
Help: How Can I Find Qualified Reviewers?
In this presentation, Leventhal recognized the difficulty editorial teams have in identifying reviewers and provided examples of how her editorial team at CJASN uses their peer-review system to find reviewers. The first example she provided is identifying areas of expertise among the editorial board members and searching for these specific terms within a field in the peer review system. Leventhal then demonstrated how the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) journals use Clarivate’s Referee Locator to identify potential reviewers based upon which authors have recently published on similar topics. Finally, she discussed how showing appreciation and recognition of reviewers can help encourage them to review again.
Ethics 101: Basic Scientific Integrity for the Editorial Office
Nuts and Bolts: Influencing Innovation in Your Journal
Patty Baskin, Executive Editor of Neurology Journals, presented these topics, which are critically important in today’s scientific publishing world, from the perspective of her many years as an editor and manager.
Heideman noted, “Good work does not make for happy employees; happy employees produce good work.”
We Can All Manage To Lead
Ken Heideman, Director of Publications at the American Meteorological Society, made this presentation. The main theme was how important effective leadership is in an organization as small as 1 person or as large as 1000 and beyond. Heideman emphasized that leadership is not just for those in “leadership positions” but for all of us, no matter what organization we work for. The concept of “low-hanging fruit” was introduced, where dozens of simple but often overlooked leadership and interpersonal principles can be used in the workplace that require little energy and no cost but make a world of difference to the morale and productivity of teams of all sizes. Heideman noted, “Good work does not make for happy employees; happy employees produce good work.” In fact, these principles are so basic it is amazing how many managers fail to even think about them, much less apply them. But it is precisely because the bar is so low for many supervisory staff that we can all be management superstars simply by implementing what is right in front of our eyes.