Editorial board meetings, typically held annually, are vital to the continued editorial development of any journal. They offer the journal board the opportunity to make key decisions, share ideas, and discuss the journal’s progress. Taylor & Francis can often help with editorial board meeting arrangements but planning and chairing a meeting is often a responsibility that falls to the editor-in-chief.
We asked some of our editors about the steps they take to ensure the journal editorial board meeting is a success. Here’s what they said:
Graham Walton, Editor-in-Chief, New Review of Academic Librarianship
“When organizing the editorial board for the New Review of Academic Librarianship, these are the approaches I take:
- Link the editorial board to a presentation/ discussion on a broader issue that people are interested in. This takes place prior to the meeting but with a break for people to recharge their batteries. The topic has to be something that covers the academic discipline as well as something relevant to the journal’s development.
- Ensure there are two or three agenda items which would benefit from input and discussion from the board. These are usually topics of strategic relevance rather than operational.
- Ensure that discussions about the journal’s performance are based on quality data and evidence. Manage the discussion so that practical actions come from the discussion as a result of the metrics.
- Discuss with the publisher what is wanted out of the editorial board meeting and how this is best achieved. Ensure that the board is a collaborative experience, with input from the publisher as well as the other board members.”
Gary Downey, Editor-in-Chief, Engineering Studies
“I organize editorial meetings at annual meetings of professional societies. I typically organize the meetings at these conferences over lunch. I put in the meeting program that all board members are invited. Taylor & Francis has always prepared a thorough and detailed report for consumption and discussion by the board which has proved most useful. I distribute that well in advance before the meeting and then deliver a twenty-minute presentation describing the state of the journal first from my perspective, then following the publisher’s data, looking at editorial processes, different genres of publication, citations, upcoming special issues, areas where I’d like to see expansion, etc. I emphasize the low cost of the journal and the linkage to relevant workshops, which also provide opportunities for collaboration. I then take questions. The whole thing lasts about an hour.”
And here are some of our top tips
- Communicate regularly with your editorial board
Maintaining close contact with your board members throughout the year ensures they remain up to date with journal progress and feel part of the wider community. Supporting and motivating board members encourages them to remain engaged, contributing ideas, soliciting submissions, reviewing papers, and – most importantly – retaining a passion for driving the journal forwards.
- Consider tying a board meeting in with a conference where the journal community convenes
Board meetings at international conferences can work particularly well for journals with a wide geographical distribution of members. If you do arrange a board meeting at a conference, conference organizers can usually provide a suitable venue, so it is worth speaking with them in advance.
- Make the most of the tools available
There are some free online tools, such as Doodle polls, that are simple to use and can help you to find out the availability of board members for a meeting. Skype, or other online meeting tools, can allow those editors who are not able to be physically present to actively contribute to a meeting.
- Plan, plan, plan
Having a strong agenda is vital for any meeting. Typically an editorial board meeting agenda would include:
-Welcome and introduction, including mention of new members, retiring members, members not present.
-Review of previous minutes, notes, and actions.
-An editor’s report, with an update on the current status of the journal, papers recently published and in peer review, progress of special issues, etc.
-A report on journal performance from the publisher.
-Discussion on milestones, anniversaries, events, and achievements.
-Any other business – gives all board members an opportunity to raise additional points and shape the discussions.
- Take notes
It is important that full and accurate Notes and Actions are drawn up and disseminated. Try to assign a board member or another willing volunteer this task. Ensure Actions are clearly labelled for each board member, or Taylor & Francis. Once you’ve agreed the Notes and Actions with your Managing Editor, disseminate them to the board, and follow-up on pertinent Actions as appropriate.
- Think ahead
Set aside some time at the end of the meeting to pencil in a date for the next one.