Build a strong editorial board

A strong Editorial Board is made up of a broad mix of researchers who contribute in different ways to the success of your journal. Depending on their areas of expertise, Editorial Board Members may be called upon to help advocate for and promote your journal within their field, manage the peer review process, act as a reviewer, serve as guest editors of special issues, and contribute journal content.

A journal’s Editorial Board is one of its greatest assets, but it should not be seen as static. The Editorial Board should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it represents the breadth of the field, and that members are motivated to contribute to the journal. 

Springer Nature is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and we strive for diverse demographic representation of our Editorial Boards. To help support this, we have developed best practice recommendations for the recruitment of Editorial Board Members. We strongly encourage you to use this framework to ensure that values of diversity, equity and inclusion are taken into consideration for your journal.

A good editorial board will consist of:

  • A broad mix of members who contribute in different ways to the success of the journal
  • A team which is diverse in terms of both expertise and levels of seniority, with members providing balanced representation from different geographical regions, gender identities, racial/ethnic groups, and other groups
  • Members with expertise that covers the breadth of the journal scope 
  • Members whose expertise aligns with research output in the field
  • Members with appropriate statistical expertise for the field

Recruiting new editorial board members: 

Whether you are building anew, expanding or refreshing your Editorial Board, recruiting new Editorial Board Members can benefit the journal in a number of ways:

  • Improving author service. Establishing a wide and diverse Editorial Board is vital to ensuring a timely peer review process and delivering a high level of author service. 
  • Increasing visibility. The Editorial Board are a great way to bring the journal to new audiences, particularly in new topics or geographic regions. New Editorial Board Members can be encouraged to tell their colleagues about the journal at conferences or talks
  • Increasing submissions. Editorial Boards can be encouraged to recommend that their colleagues submit to the journal. They could also be encouraged to submit their own manuscripts, or recommend ideas for commissioned articles
  • Expanding scope. If your journal is planning on expanding its scope, you will need to ensure that there is enough expertise on the Editorial Board to handle any new submissions in these areas
  • Recruiting new Editorial Board Members. View our “How does Recruitment benefit your journal?” infographic

Editorial board building checklist: 

  • Divide the field into its major subdivisions, and ensure there is representation from each area on the Editorial Board

  • Consider the publication history of potential Editorial Board Member’s and their expertise in specific subject areas or methodology.  Invite researchers whose content would fit in the scope of your journal 

  • Review their peer review experience. Are they well-informed on topics related to what researchers submit to your journal?  

  • Invite experienced researchers in your journal’s field that can offer a depth of knowledge. Although it is also worth considering whether they will have the time available to commit to the role

  • Invite Early Career Researchers who may have new ideas and more time to share

  • Involve individuals who have a good network of contacts in the field

  • Involve researchers working within hot or emerging fields 

  • Ensure that your journal is represented in geographic regions that have a significant research output in your field, paying careful attention to emerging regions. If you seek to attract more research from a particular region, it will be beneficial to ensure that there are Board Members located in this region

Expectations and responsibilities:

  • Set clear expectations on the the level of involvement and time commitment you expect of your Editorial Board Members 

  • Aim to spread the workload evenly across your board: subject areas that attract a high volume of submissions should be well represented on your board to avoid over-reliance on a small group of board members

  • Plan for at least one Editorial Board meeting per year. It will not always be possible to organise in-person meetings (especially with an international board). We advise that you consider options for video conferencing that will allow greater flexibility for meetings

  • Discuss ideas for thematic series and guest editor assignments

  • Encourage members to sign- up for article alerts and updates from Springer Nature so that they are well informed on the journal’s latest content and publisher resources

  • Consider term limits to ensure your journal’s board does not become stagnant