Joining an editorial board

Hyndsight

Being on the editorial board of a journal is a lot of work. I’m currently Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Forecasting and previously I’ve been Theory & Methods Editor of the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Statistics. Although it is time-consuming and often goes un-noticed, there are some important rewards that make it worthwhile in my opinion.

  1. You are forced to read carefully a lot of papers in your area of interest. Everyone intends reading the papers published in their area, but this activity often gets neglected for more urgent activities. When you are an editor or associate editor, you have to read the papers, and you have to read them thoroughly. That way you are forced to keep up-to-date with new ideas.

  2. You become better known in your field. This tends to lead to invitations to speak at conferences, write invited papers, etc.

  3. You get to shape the discipline to some extent, at least once you are a managing editor. For example, you can arrange a special issue or a review paper on a topic that you think needs addressing.

  4. It brings with it some prestige.

  5. You get to see a lot of the latest research before everyone else, although these days, that is becoming less of an issue as most people put their papers online in repositories such as RePEc or arXiv.

I sometimes get emails from people asking to join the editorial board of the IJF (usually accompanied by a resumé which shows the person has little experience in forecasting research). One such email prompted this post today. I will never invite someone to join the IJF editorial board in this way. Please don’t ask. Instead, if you want to join an editorial board, there is no substitute for the following approach:

  • write good papers that are published in the relevant journal (if you’ve never published in the IJF you are unlikely to be considered for the editorial board);

  • write good papers that are published in other journals on the relevant topic (e.g., publish good forecasting papers in JASA, JRSSB, JF, etc.);

  • regularly attend any conferences associated with the journal (that’s the ISF);

  • provide high quality referee reports for papers submitted to the journal (almost all our associate editors were people who did a sterling job as referees first);

  • work in an area where we need additional associate editors (every year we consider what areas we need new associate editors, and then we find the appropriate people).

Being on an editorial board gives you a position of leadership in your research community. But you don’t get to be a leader until you’ve proven yourself by writing papers, attending conferences, writing referee reports, etc.

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