Guidelines for Editors
Editors serve OBM journals are divided into two major groups according to affiliation difference: the external and internal editors. The structure of OBM editor positions is shown below:
All Academic Editors, the key of scientific quality, are external editors. Internal Editors, the editorial staff, mainly organize, maintain and improve the systematic publishing procedures. Both external and internal editors should follow an ethical manner and professional courtesy in the publishing activities.
Ethical Guidelines for Editors
We strictly adhere to the criteria specified by COPE, OASPA, WAME and DOAJ for an ethical scholarly publishing with maximum transparency. Therefore, at each stage of the editorial process, all editors should follow the ethical requirements:
- Be accountable and responsible for the content they publish;
- Protect the confidentiality of authors’ material and remind reviewers to do so as well;
- Ensure the selected reviewers are appropriate for the submissions;
- Protect reviewers’ identities unless they wish to disclose their names;
- Organize a fair peer review and make unbiased decisions independently;
- Adopt reasonable editorial policies that encourage maximum transparency and complete, honest reporting;
- Pursue potential authors’ research and publication misconduct as well as reviewers’ and editorial misconduct; take appropriate measures once misconduct is suspected or proved;
- Avoid potential conflicts of interest;
- Maintain clear communication with authors and reviewers, and keep them informed of the status of each submission in a timely, honest and unambiguous manner.
We recommend editors to refer to Responsible Research Publication: International Standards for Editors when judging manuscripts and controlling the editorial process.
Responsibilities of Academic Editors
All Academic Editors are closely assisted by the editorial staff in OBM. Academic Editors do not need to do editorial work, e.g., layout manuscripts, edit paper language, etc. Academic Editors monitor the editorial process, safeguard the publications’ scientific quality and represent the journal in academic communities. As a result of team work, sometimes, the responsibilities of different editor positions would overlap.
Editor-in-Chief is the most senior position in Academic Editors. With the assistance from Managing Editor, Editor-in-Chief leads the journal with the responsibility to:
- Determine scope and direction of the journal;
- Recommend Editorial Board members;
- Provide feedback timely and to launch the journal with editorial team’s assistance;
- Supervise the journal in technique and to improve its scientific content;
- Pre-check and make decision on manuscripts and to ensure quality of publications;
- Decide development strategy of the journal each year;
- Be actively involved in promoting the journal development and public awareness.
Editorial Board is the think tank of the journal that are constituted by a group of prominent experts who support the journal with the responsibility to:
- Provide suggestion to the Editor-in-Chief regarding to the scope and direction of the journal;
- Provide technical support and professional advice to promote scientific content of the journal;
- Recommend other experts to join Editorial Board;
- Review certain number of manuscript, especially when reviewers provide conflicting recommendations;
- Make decision on manuscripts, especially when Editor-in-Chief or other Academic Editors have conflicts of interest with authors;
- Be actively involved in discussion and finalization on strategic plan and long-term achievement of the journal with Editor-in-Chief and other Editorial Board members;
- Be actively involved in promoting the journal development and public awareness.
Advisory Board, e.g., Ethics Advisory Board, is the group of experts equivalent to the Editorial Board in academic standing but are not extensively involved in the above mentioned duties. They provide expert advices on certain technical aspects of studies.
Guest Editors are leading scholars in the research field of a topical issue, the Special Issue, which gathers the state-of-the-art reviews and research articles from distinguished scientists as well as active young scholars. Guest Editor(s) of a special issue have the responsibility to:
- Define the scope and prepare a brief introduction of the special issue;
- Be actively involved in article invitation and selection;
- Pre-check the manuscripts that submitted to the special issue;
- Make decision on manuscripts of the special issue based on reviewers’ comments;
- Be actively involved in promoting the special issue and public awareness.
Decision to accept or reject a manuscript can only be made by Academic Editors. Academic Editors are independent from internal editors, meaning that internal editors can never influence Academic Editors’ decisions; likewise, independent from reviewers, meaning that reviewers’ recommendations assist but not determine editors’ decisions. Academic Editors can make a decision that conflicts with the reviewers based on their own understanding on the manuscript’s importance and contribution to the field. However, in this case, a justification are compulsory. Any conflicts of interest should be disclosed to handling editors immediately when receiving a decision request.
Normally, in the process of a manuscript, the handling editor would ask for an Academic Editor’s decision at one or two stages: before reporting back to authors and after authors’ revision. At the first stage, Academic Editors need to generally review the manuscript and carefully check the review reports, making sure that the reviewers are qualified and suitable, the manuscript is reviewed in depth and the review comments are pertinent and courteous. At the second stage, Academic Editors need to carefully check whether authors have properly also courteously addressed the review comments and whether the manuscript have been improved to the publishable level. If Academic Editors have additional comments that help to further improve the manuscript, they can provide detailed comments at either stage, trying to limit major revisions no more than twice.
Sometimes, reviewers, or reviewer and author would have different opinions. Academic Editors needs to look into the case as an adjudicator based on their own knowledge, review the controversial points in person, provide a conclusion, then make an objective decision.
If an Academic Editor is not convenient to make a decision within the expected timeframe, he/she should notify the handling editor timely, so that handling editor could turn to another editor who might be available.
A manuscript might be declined from a special issue but transferred to another (or to regular section) if it is unsuitable for the special issue due to its theme but acceptable based on its scientific merits.
Responsibilities of Managing Editors and Assistant Editors
Managing Editors propose journal development plan for Editor-in-Chief’s consideration, execute the plan after it is approved by the Editor-in-Chief, prepare journal development reports to the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board, identify important and interesting topics in the journal’s research field, commission high-quality articles, pre-screen new submissions before sending it to Academic Editors for pre-check, call Academic Editors’ attention to potential author/reviewer misconducts, draft short news and research highlights. Managing Editors assist all Academic Editors, monitor assistant and production editors, and overall push forward the journal.
Assistant Editors liaise with authors, reviewers and Academic Editors on manuscript basis, do light copyediting, organize peer review, report any suspected author/reviewer misconducts to Managing Editors, assist Managing Editors in journal data collection.
Responsibilities of Production Editors
After a manuscript is accepted by an Academic Editor, production editors will collaborate in layout, language correction and polishing, conversion to other formats, then finally publish the paper online. At each stage, production editors could only adjust its looking pattern and style, but should faithfully maintain the content in the form of which it was accepted. If any editing would influence the expression or meaning, e.g., editing on units, grammar, etc., production editors should notify the authors for a final confirmation before publication.