The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is an international community of individuals and associations from diverse backgrounds, linguistic traditions and professional experience in science communication and editing.

Golden rules for scholarly journal editors

As editors we are all extremely busy. So much so that we can become lost in the details and forget about crucial things. Thus it seemed useful to draft a list of golden rules to remind us of the essentials of our work. Rules that editors can stick on their notice board and learn by heart.

The rules have been endorsed by the EASE Council. Keywords are marked in bold and they are as short and simple as possible.

Any comments are very welcome. Please contact Sylwia or Arjan if you have any suggestions.

Sylwia B. Ufnalska, freelance science translator and editor, Poznań, Poland; sylwia.ufnalska@gmail.com

Arjan K.S. Polderman, editor of Pharmaceutisch Weekblad, Den Haag, the Netherlands; a.k.s.polderman@pw.nl

Downloads

The original text was first published in the EASE journal European Science Editing Issue: 40(3) August 2014, as is available to download as a free access pdf. The rules have been summarised into a flyer, and are also available in Korean and Russian.

This version of the Golden Rules includes updated links to resources which have moved since being included in the original article.

Golden rules for scholarly journal editors Notes
1.  Be aware of your target audience.
2.  Make instructions to authors simple and understandable, and review them regularly. In the instructions, authors can be asked to follow EASE Guidelines(available in over 25 languages)
3.  Ensure a fair peer review process (usually with 2-3 reviews, or more if necessary). See section 4 of Science Editors’ Handbook2 and The golden rules and the peer review good practice checklist3
4.  Pay due attention to ethical issues: data fabrication or manipulation, plagiarism, authorship, conflict of interest, copyright, legislation, etc. See section 5 of Science Editors’ Handbook2, and page 10 of EASE Guidelines(publication ethics checklist) and COPE flowcharts4
5.  Respect others: inform authors about progress and delays as soon as possible; do not overburden reviewers and authors.
6.  Do your best to ensure that publications are complete, concise, and clear, with appropriate methods and correct citations. See sections 1-2 of Science Editors’ Handbook2, reporting guidelines (eg in EQUATOR Network5), and San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment6
7.  Make sure that abstracts properly summarize essential information (usually: background, objectives, methods, results, and conclusions) and contain major keywords. See pages 2 & 7 of EASE Guidelines1
8.  Ensure safe long-term storage of publications and documentation of the editorial process.
9.  Develop your journal. See sections 3 & 6 of Science Editors’ Handbook2 and European Science Editing7
10. Perfection is impossible to reach, so common sense is necessary.

Further reading: International Standards for Editors and Authors8, Core Practices9

References


1 European Association of Science Editors. EASE guidelines for authors and translators of scientific articles to be published in English. 2014. Available from www.ease.org.uk/publications/author-guidelines-authors-and-translators (accessed 12 May 2018).

2 European Association of Science Editors. Science editors’ handbook.2nd ed.Smart P, Maisonneuve H, Polderman A, editors. 2013. Available from www.ease.org.uk/publications/science-editors-handbook (accessed 12 May 2018).

3 Appendix I to Hames I. Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals: Guidelines for Good Practice. Oxford (UK): Blackwell Publishing & Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, 2007. Available from http://media.wiley.com/product_ancillary/94/14051315/DOWNLOAD/app1.pdf (accessed 12 May 2018).

4 Cope Flowcharts. Available from https://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts (accessed 12 May 2018).

5 EQUATOR Network Reporting Guidelines. Available from www.equator-network.org/home (accessed 12 May 2018).

6 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). Available from https://sfdora.org/read (accessed 12 May 2018).

7 European Science Editing. Available from http://europeanscienceediting.eu/issues (accessed 12 May 2018)

8 Committee on Publication Ethics. International Standards for Editors and Authors. Available from https://publicationethics.org/resources/international-standards-for-editors-and-authors (accessed 12 May 2018)

9 Committee on Publication Ethics. Core Practices. Available from https://publicationethics.org/core-practices (accessed 12 May 2018)