FAQs from the Associate Editor open call

The British Ecological Society are looking for active researchers to join the Editorial Boards of all our journals. We gave applicants a chance to question the current Associate Editors over a series of live Twitter Q&A sessions and have summarised some key highlights below.

I am concerned about the time commitment. What is the workload like?

Communication is key.

The BES journals aim to keep it to 1-2 manuscripts per Associate Editor a month but you can always inform the editorial offices of busy periods. Being an Associate Editor may require a few hours a week and some editors block out specific times for these duties rather than deal with requests as they come. Some tasks such as looking up reviewers take only 10-15 minutes and can easily fit anytime during the day.

“I’d say that when I started I’d spend about 4 hours per paper that I was handling (not reviewing), but now I spend significantly less. I typically have a “load” of 1-1.5 papers per month from either Journal of Animal Ecology or Journal of Ecology, but I also note that whenever I’m busy (e.g. grant deadlines) or doing fieldwork, I put on my “out of office” and I am not assigned to any new papers. The editorial staff of the BES are super friendly, humane, approachable, and extremely professional.”Rob Salguero-Gómez, Journal of Ecology & Journal of Animal Ecology


What are the criteria for selection?

Your expertise should fit the scope of the journal and previous editorial experience is great, but not necessary. We take into consideration your experience given your current career stage and for we also consider ecologists with equivalent practical experience. If you are a practitioner, you can find more advice here.

Each journal has a preferred list of expertise from applicants as we look to fill those gaps in our editorial boards, but it is . We also keep your applications on file if we need to fill a gap in your area of expertise in the future.


What kind of person are you looking for?

“BES loves diversity”Paul Kardol, Journal of Ecology
We are holding this open call to encourage researchers from all backgrounds to apply. We fully value the benefits that diversity brings, and we are always looking to increase the diversity of our board in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexuality and all other protected characteristics. English , and the role can be an excellent opportunity to improve your language skills. We are also happy to delay the start date for applicants who have extra responsibilities due to the current pandemic.


What are an Associate Editor’s key responsibilities and what support is available?

Reviewers take a deep dive into a manuscript, assessing it on scientific rigour and merit. An AE oversees the whole reviewing process, selecting reviewers based on our own consideration of the paper… AEs also have to be much more cognisant of journal scope and aims. Jane Catford, Journal of Ecology.

Associate Editors assess the suitability of manuscripts for publication in their journal. This involves selecting appropriate reviewers and making a recommendation, based on the reviewer feedback and your own professional opinion.

Our Associate Editors are part of the wider publications team! Our journal editorial teams and Senior Editors are there to offer support, whenever you need it. We can also provide guidance for handling tricky manuscripts/reviews. All our Associate Editors have access to a dedicated Support Centre, containing training, tips and advice.


What are the benefits of becoming an Associate Editor?

As an Associate Editor, you will be the first to read exciting new science, allowing you to stay at the cutting edge of your own field, but also learn about discoveries that you may not have read otherwise. You will play a major role in shaping the field, helping authors to improve their manuscripts by providing constructive feedback.

The Associate Editor role also offers a variety of other opportunities. You will have the rewarding experience of ensuring high quality ecological research is communicated widely through publication in one of our journals. You will act as an ambassador for the journal, and can contribute to new initiatives such as Special Features and Virtual Issues.

You will have the opportunity to widen your circle by becoming part of the BES community, learning from other editors, being supported by the BES staff and getting to know reviewers in different fields. You will receive a year’s free membership to the BES, with a 50% discount for subsequent years, as well as free journal access and registration to our Annual Meeting.


How to Apply

We’ve made the application process very easy and streamlined. You just need to answer a couple of brief questions and upload your CV! What have you got to lose?

Click here to find out more and to submit your application.