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.

Sylwia B. Ufnalska, freelance science translator and editor, Poznań, Poland;

Arjan K.S. Polderman, editor of Pharmaceutisch Weekblad, Den Haag, the Netherlands;


The full text is available in pdf format and the rules have been summarised into a flyer. They are also available in Korean and Russian.

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 >20 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)
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: Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors9, etc.


1 European Association of Science Editors. EASE guidelines for authors and translators of scientific articles to be published in English. 2014. Available from /publications/author-guidelines(accessed 24 June 2014).

2 European Association of Science Editors. Science editors’ handbook.2nd ed.Smart P, Maisonneuve H, Polderman A, editors. 2013. Available from /handbook/index.shtml(accessed 24 June 2014).

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 24 June 2014).

5 (accessed 24 June 2014).

7 /resources/journal/archive (accessed 24 June 2014)

9 Committee on Publication Ethics. Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors. Available from (accessed 24 June 2014)