Editorial excellence: recognizing and nurturing good editors

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Thu Jul 13 2023

Author: Guest contributor

At Springer Nature, we are honoured and pleased to annually recognize Editorial Excellence within our incredible community of editors. Our editors are vital for the success of our journals and their continued contribution of impactful, quality scholarship to the academic publishing landscape. 

Join me in exploring how Editorial Excellence is recognized, what are some elements that contribute to it, and how editors can be supported in achieving it. Because we believe that Editorial Excellence can – and should be! – developed, nurtured, and supported.

Journals are evaluated and measured on their credibility, impact, and reputation within their academic community, and editors have a vital role in building and maintaining each of these factors. They ensure that the published scholarly work commands the utmost quality and rigor, but also that the authors of said scholarship have an empowering and beneficial publication experience. 

We value and cherish the hard work of our journal editors and editorial board members. We are grateful and appreciative of the essential contribution of editors to the quality and value of Springer Nature’s journals. Recognizing and encouraging Editorial Excellence reinforces our values and standards, and by acknowledging and celebrating editors’ excellence, we foster engagement, motivation, and inspiration.

How to recognize Editorial Excellence

Editors are recognized as having Editorial Excellence when their journals receive high rankings from authors who published in them. These rankings are taken from Springer Nature’s Journal Author Satisfaction Survey, in which authors of primary research articles have the opportunity to provide feedback on their publishing experience.

In this survey, authors from across the Springer, BMC, Nature Research, and Palgrave Macmillan brands can share about their publishing experience. Journals identified for Editorial Excellence receive high rankings on statements that refer to editorial advice throughout the process that helped the author improve the paper, and management of the peer review process by the editor.

What makes a good editor?

Editors serve their authors and community with more than “just” their subject matter expertise. In their role as journal editors, they are the gatekeepers of new research in their disciplines: Their contribution as journal editors ensures that good quality research in their field is published. 

But they are also strategically placed to make the decisions and set the tone for their authors’ publication experience. Editors’ work – both organizational and thematic – has an immense impact on how the journal publication procedure is perceived and experienced by the contributing authors. 

When I consider the Editorial Excellence of our leading journal editors and what we aspire to represent in theory and practice of journal editing, three specific elements come to my mind: Editors’ responsibilities as representatives of their communities; their influence on shaping the publishing experience of their authors; and the management of the essential and exceptional peer review

  • Editors are, first and foremost, representatives of their communities.

As custodians of the journal they edit, they should strive to publish content that their community is eager to read. When judging the suitability of a potential paper, they must view it through the lens of the broader community, rather than their own personal research interests. 

At the same time, good editors should be aware of – and seek to address – the tendency of research communities to prefer scholarship from dominant groups, such as the historical publication bias towards research from the Global North. The editor should be committed to publishing the interests of a global, diverse community, and to broaden representation in research, for the creation of a more inclusive and equitable publishing landscape.

  • As editors, they are responsible for their authors’ publishing experience.

Providing good author services is crucial to the experience of publishing authors, and editors are uniquely positioned to ensure authors’ satisfaction throughout their publication journey.

Journal editors know well from their own research publishing experience the value of speed and speed of service when submitting and publishing an article. 

Editors that make it a point to maintain a reasonable timeframe for editorial decisions and procedures, and regularly update and inform authors on their manuscript throughout the process, ensure that the publication experience is positive and empowering.

  • Peer review management – finding, recruiting, directing reviewers – is an essential part of editors’ accountability for the journal’s scientific integrity and rigor.

For journal readers to trust what they read, the editor must uphold the rigor and integrity of published content. The peer review process is essential for publishing robust scholarship and finding the right peer reviewers is an indispensable – and laborious – editorial endeavour. 

But finding the reviewers is not the end. Editors adjudicate over the peer review process, they don’t count votes but look at what each reviewer is saying, collate responses and ensure what is being requested is reasonable. Thereby, adding value of their own to the procedure.

Nurturing Editorial Excellence at Springer Nature

Editors have very full plates, and in their editorial role they manage a complex and multi-faceted process: manuscript evaluation, finding suitable peer reviewers, adjudicating the review process, and supporting and guiding the authors.

Springer Nature is committed to supporting our editors in their important work and offering them the resources they need to achieve Editorial Excellence. Springer Nature offers an array of various tools, training, and services tailored for journal editors’ work and the unique challenges they face. These resources are intended to support editors in their work and help them become the best editors for their journal and research community. 

It is important to us to nurture and recognize Editorial Excellence. We see it as aspirational and motivational and strive to live up to the standards set by our editors. And most importantly, we are grateful to work alongside excellent, committed, and ambitious people, who make the academic publishing landscape more rigorous, impactful, and inclusive. 

Discover the exceptional Springer Nature editors that have been recognized for their Editorial Excellence. 

Read more insightful posts and the best advice on Springer Nature’s The Source for Editors, and get the tools, training, and services that will help you excel as an editor. 

About the author

Ritu Dhand © springernature 2023
Ritu Dhand is Chief Scientific Officer at Springer Nature. She is responsible for championing our editors, focusing on promoting and driving external editorial excellence, in partnership with all the journal publishers across Springer and BMC journals. 
Before taking on the role of Chief Scientific Officer in January 2022, Ritu served as VP Nature Editorial, overseeing editorial strategy and management of Nature, Nature Communications, and the Nature Research and Review Journals. 
Ritu holds a PhD in cancer research from University College, London.


Author: Guest contributor

Guest Contributors include Springer Nature staff and authors, industry experts, society partners, and many others. If you are interested in being a Guest Contributor, please contact us via email: thesource@springernature.com.