April 23, 2014 | Fiona Townsend, Publishing Editor - Journal Development

Engaging with the journal community

If your journal adequately represents and supports the interests of its subject community of researchers, authors, reviewers, and Editorial Board members, the community will in turn support the journal. Showing engagement with the community encourages positive sentiment for the journal, motivates future submissions, creates active enthusiasm for the content, and can be a useful way to gather feedback from your readership. We encourage all editors to work with their Managing Editors in order to maximize the potential of this.


1. Who are (or could be) your key contributors?

  • Who are your highly cited/most downloaded authors?
  • Who has published in closely related journals?
  • Who are the high-impact authors in the field?
  • If there are several key authors within a sub-discipline, does this highlight the possibility of publishing a group or sequence of papers on a hot topic?
  • Gap spotting: which areas are you currently missing - submissions from different subject areas or more diverse geographical locations?
  • Who are your most prolific/helpful/experienced reviewers?
  • How significant are the profiles of individual members of the Editorial Board/editorial team?

2. How does the community communicate?

  • Through a conference website or during certain annual events?
  • On blogs or resources sites?
  • Via subject ListServs?
  • Through a Society members’ website or forum?
  • Through the journal: Letters to the Editor, Comments, etc.?
  • Via the electronic submissions site during the peer-review process?

3. How can the journal position itself to be a true resource for the community?

  • Showing a commitment to publishing hot-topic/cutting-edge articles.
  • Engaging with discussions the community is having online about the evolving subject area.
  • Helping to promote events and conferences.
  • Sponsoring community activity and prizes.
  • Building new relationships with related organizations, bloggers, and resources sites to enhance visibility of the journal.
  • By better supporting authors and reviewers.


1. Author experience:

  • Keep them informed about submissions (during and after peer review).
  • Make author resources/instructions and guidelines available, such as the Author Services website to help to guide authors through the publication process from submission to post-publication (particularly beneficial for new authors).
  • Direct them towards the Author Services twitter account and Facebook page to keep up to date with developments for T&F authors.

2. Contact with reviewers:

Know your reviewers:

  • Regularly update referee affiliations.
  • Maintain a good database of potential reviewers.

Expand the referee pool:

  • Try to benchmark invitations to review at the right level.
  • Invite referees to join the Editorial Board – with provisos: a minimum number of reviews expected per year?

Support your reviewers:

  • You might also consider incentivizing the contribution made by key referees or Editorial Board advisers in some way. For example: formally thanking reviewers for their contribution/publishing a list of names annually.

Supply referee guidelines and resources – this really helps new referees to make sure their review is as useful to the editor and author as possible, and helps them to understand what is expected of them, particularly when dealing with a specialist type of article.

Editorial Board engagement:

  • Encourage Board members to contribute their own work to the journal (which will obviously be subject to peer review) and to solicit articles from their colleagues.
  • Ask your Editorial Board for their opinions on key papers - gain feedback, involve them as adjudicators.
  • Approach them to act as Guest Editors for Special Issues within their subject specialism.
  • Ask for feedback on journal strategy and development - ideas for hot topics and authors for Review papers.
  • Ask that they actively promote the journal and liaise with Taylor & Francis to provide them with the tools to do this (supply flyers and other promotional material and regular access to the journal).
  • Ask that they tell you if they are attending meetings or conferences and to be ambassadors for the journal in these situations.

Create a campaign…

Some suggestions:

  • Communications from the editor:

One way of connecting with various members of the journal community is via a regular Editorial/Letter. For example, you may wish to send out a letter to a large group of authors and reviewers with a view to soliciting new submissions. The letter may contain an update on new developments around the journal and within the subject more widely. This can be a great way of raising visibility of yourself, as editor of the journal, and new members of the editorial team, and to gather community feedback about the journal.

  • Recognize/reward your reviewers:

Publish a “Thanks to Reviewers” listing all the reviewers for a particular year and extend “special thanks” to those reviewers who have reviewed for the journal on more than three occasions. 

  • Thanking significant “super” authors:

A small, but effective, gesture can be to identify the top 20 most cited authors on an annual basis and send them a personalized thank you for their high-impact contribution. This can be an opportunity to bring authors up to date with developments happening around the journal and a way to solicit future submissions from a significant name in the field. A personalized thank you tends to be well received and many authors like to add a note of their ranking as a high-impact author on their professional C.V. 

  • Using the electronic submissions site:

The welcome page of any journal submissions site can be a good place to include images and links, which can help encourage traffic to the site. There is also the option of sending out a broadcast email message, independent of tasks or documents, to a large group of users. This can be an effective way to:

  • encourage users to update their accounts with current research areas and speciality keywords;
  • circulate news (e.g. announce Impact Factors);
  • communicate peer review amendments and updates (e.g., contact editors about configuration changes);
  • inform people about strategic developments (e.g., year-end emails to the Editorial Board or information about expectations of reviewers);
  • send Calls for Papers (e.g., for a Special Issue).

Any changes to a journal’s submissions site would need to be discussed with your EES contact.

Published: April 23, 2014 | Author: Fiona Townsend, Publishing Editor - Journal Development | Category: Managing my journal | Tagged with: