People discussing

Your editorial team

A guide to the tasks and responsibilities of you as the editor, and your editorial team

Woman talking

Your role as a journal editor

At Emerald, we work closely with our editors to manage and develop your journal.

In that partnership, there are some tasks that fall to the Emerald publishing team and others that sit with you as the editor. 

Below, we run through the editor responsibilities, which your publisher will be happy to discuss with you in more detail.

Group discussion

Additional editors

If a journal’s scope is too broad, or the workload too heavy for a single editor, you may need to recruit additional editorial staff.

  • A regional editor can help your journal penetrate a new geographical area, or ensure it is represented in locations where the field is experiencing growth.
  • An associate editor can help strengthen coverage of specialised subject areas; especially useful if your journal has a wide-ranging scope. They can also provide a fresh perspective.

Both roles can help enhance the reputation and visibility of your journal – they can also bring new networks and skills to the team. Your publisher will be happy to discuss the options with you.

Finding the right candidates

Woman group talking

Editorial advisory board (EAB)

Editorial board members are usually selected by you from your network of contacts – with input from your publisher. 

We recommend you appoint people on a fixed term-basis only, e.g. for two years, so that your EAB is regularly revitalised by the influence of new members.

Building an effective EAB

Library open book

The editorial review board (ERB)

The role of the ERB is to review papers for the journal – this can be a huge benefit if you're struggling to source reviewers from your usual networks.

What are the key responsibilities of the ERB?

You will decide on the full list of tasks, but the most important thing is that members perform reviews of papers in their subject field and complete and return those reviews in the agreed format and timeframe.

Building an ERB

Guest editors of special issues

Special issues are devoted to a single theme and are often edited by a guest editor; a subject expert who takes the reins of the journal for that one issue only.

Special issues frequently start life with a subject expert approaching you with a suggestion. If that happens, it’s important they complete our special issue proposal form, to help you and your publisher make an informed decision. On other occasions, you and your publisher may identify a theme you’d like to explore in more detail via a special issue.

The responsibilities of a guest editor are very similar to those of a traditional journal editor.

Taking on the role offers researchers valuable first-hand experience of editing a publication; a good trial run for those ambitious to edit their own journal one day. Producing a good special issue can also provide a valuable boost to the guest editor’s academic or professional standing.

You can find out more about the role and value of special issues in our run a successful journal section.

We have also developed a guide to support guest editors as they navigate each stage of the process.

Guide to publishing a special issue

Related topics

Develop and monitor your journal

Our practical guide looks at how the publishing process works, special issues, submissions, peer review, and more.

Develop your journal

Journal promotion

Explore the steps we take to promote your journal, as well as ideas and advice on how you can get involved. 

Promote your journal

Publishing ethics guidelines

Understand the ethics responsibilities of editors, authors and reviewers, and the steps you should take if an allegation of misconduct is made.

View our guidelines