Editors already play a crucial role in journal development; they send signals to the readership through their selection of papers and appointment of board members, for example. But the pace of change in the world of journals is immense, and there are a number of other strategies that an editor can employ. Here are just a few to consider:
1. Revise the Aims & Scope
The journal’s Aims & Scope form its mission statement, and might be the first thing that potential authors look at when deciding what to read or where to submit. They are often out of date, however – perhaps even written by a previous editor. Think about new areas of interest that you might want to attract. See here our advice for writing a compelling Aims & Scope statement.
2. Refresh the editorial board
Another area that is frequently neglected is the journal’s editorial board. It is important to ensure that the board represents the right geographical areas—perhaps Mexico is an emerging area in your discipline? You might also want to include a spread of researchers at different points in their careers.
3. Consider appointing a social media editor
Taylor & Francis makes great use of social media channels, but you could go one step further by identifying someone in your field to act as a social media editor for the journal. Normally an active researcher, this person would blog / tweet about journal articles, generating interest amongst the larger research community. This can be a great way to help people engage with your journal.
4. Make special issues ‘special’
Special issues are normally grouped around a theme, sometimes arising from a conference. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, though: the editors and editorial board could designate one issue per year (perhaps the first) which brings together invited articles they consider to be of exceptional quality. As well as potentially attracting citations, this issue would send a message about the calibre of articles you hope to publish in the coming year.
5. Exploit Altmetrics
Taylor & Francis now displays Altmetrics—a measure of an article’s digital reach—on each article page. Make the best use of this by encouraging authors to tweet (or otherwise share) their research. Realistically, not every article is going to be summarized in 140 characters or fewer; you will know when an article has that X-factor, and your managing editor and marketer are always on standby to help with promotion.
6. Make articles shine
For most readers, the article—not the journal—is the base unit of scholarly publication. It is therefore vital to ensure that the article is as attractive and relevant as possible. Encourage your authors to include images and videos in their papers, either in the main body or as supplemental files. In addition, carefully consider the abstract and article title – are they accessible to a wide audience and likely to attract readers and/or citations?
7. Attract early-career authors
Today’s postdocs are tomorrow’s keynote speakers. A journal needs to attract them now and keep them coming back as their careers develop. A prize for early-career authors is a great way of showing appreciation for their hard work, and could well be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
8. Listen to your authors
Authors can be good judges of your journal. For most journals, Taylor & Francis surveys authors after their article is accepted. Ask your managing editor to see what authors think about your journal - they might have some interesting ideas.
9. Let us know about hot topics
Taylor & Francis works hard to identify articles touching on hot topics, but the real expert is, of course, the editor. During peer review, if you spot an article which could go far, pass the details on to your Managing Editor. And if you know that a particular subject area is going to heat up over the next few months and years, that’s something we definitely want to hear about as well.
10. Utilize publishing reports
Taylor & Francis will be happy to provide you with a detailed analysis of your journal’s performance, usually on an annual basis. The data in these reports can provide numerous insights into how your journal is doing, perhaps pointing to areas of success that can be built on, or areas that need some work. Discuss any specific requirements for these reports with your managing editor.