Research Creative   My Account   Submit My Manuscript
Letpub, Scientific Editing Services, Manuscript Editing Service
Career Assets

Career Advice on Forging a Path to Becoming an Associate Editor


Dr. Vern Hart, LetPub Editor

December 2022

As with other professional positions, journal editors are selected from a group of people who are well established in their fields. These are typically experts whose achievements are constructed over many years; a process that can seem daunting to early-career researchers. However, it is important to remember that such accomplishments require time and are simply the result of small habits exercised regularly. Below is a description of practices that I have watched others successfully implement in their own careers, and which I have endeavored to adopt in my own.

1. Find Your Niche

I often speak with graduate students who identify their research in vague terms (i.e., cosmology, machine learning, robotics, etc.). They may describe a certain problem they are solving as part of their dissertation, but they typically lack the experience to correctly identify their area of expertise. This can be difficult early in your career, especially if your focus changes slightly as you move between postdoctoral positions or other employment. However, within a few years of securing a permanent position, you should begin to formulate an identity as a researcher. Perhaps you have worked on four or five different problems, but what is their underlying theme? Your specialty should narrow from, for example, AI or robotics to something specific in which you can be a leading expert (e.g., the development of novel machine learning algorithms for improved flight planning in remote sensing applications).

2. Find Your Community

Identifying your area of expertise will inevitably lead you to a community of researchers working on similar projects. Finding this group of people will provide you with chances to collaborate, network, and even make friends. As part of this process, you should identify the professional activities common among this group. Which conferences are your peers attending? To which journals are they submitting their work? From where does their funding originate? While your work should be original (and new opportunities often come from unexpected places), having a foundation that includes other people with similar interests can help you succeed.

3. Network

In my experience, scientists can have a reputation for being introverted, intimidating, or even unfriendly, and they sometimes allow themselves to act this way as a result. However, this stereotype is frequently inaccurate, even among those who are highly respected and accomplished in their field. Some of my most cherished friendships have resulted from professional associations. As such, when attending a research conference or similar event, never miss an opportunity to meet other people in (and outside of) your field. Don’t be afraid to say hello and introduce yourself. Stepping beyond your comfort zone can be frightening but is well worth the risk. In my experience, if you are welcoming and friendly, others will be also.

4. Build A Reputation

After identifying your field of expertise and its associated community of researchers, begin regularly participating in scholarly activities of high impact. There will likely be a professional scientific organization associated with your research, which can provide you with the tools to establish yourself as a high-quality researcher. Take advantage of these opportunities. Become a member of the organization, attend and present at the sponsored conferences and events, and submit your research to affiliated journals. In addition to developing your professional profile, this will help you get noticed by others in your field.

5. Volunteer

When time permits, volunteering can be a great way to become more recognizable among your peers. In addition to journal article reviewers, professional organizations rely on contributions from those in voluntary leadership and governance roles (e.g., treasurer, sub-committee chair, conference organization council, etc.). Service and outreach activities are also readily available and can typically be found on the organization website.

6. Identify Potential Journals

While publication in any journal can be beneficial (especially in the early phase of your career), you should eventually identify 3 to 5 journals in which your work fits most appropriately. These journals should align well with your primary research focus and should regularly publish articles similar to your own. In addition to reaching the intended audience, this will help you to establish a reputation and could lead to opportunities within the organization that publishes the journal, including an editorial position once you are sufficiently established.

While there is no right or wrong way to forge a path to becoming an Associate Editor, the above tips can serve as guide toward that goal. Like many things in academia, this process takes time. Don’t get discouraged and focus on taking small steps toward your goal each day.

 Previous Article Next Article 

© 2010-2024  ACCDON LLC 400 5th Ave, Suite 530, Waltham, MA 02451, USA
PrivacyTerms of Service