Editorial Office Guidelines Part 2

Our guidelines to managing an editorial office are intended to provide a helpful overview for Wiley editors. If you have further questions or concerns that are not addressed here, your Wiley representative will be happy to help you.

Production: Learn about the interactive process between production and editorial offices.
Editors and Board: Find out more about the roles within an editorial office.
User Database Best Practice: Read Wiley's advice on best practice for maintaining data integrity and protection.
Author Communication: Read some top tips for communicating with authors and the appeals process.
Special Issues: Guidelines for publishing a special issue or section of a journal.


The Production Process  

The editorial office is typically responsible for handling manuscripts from submission (or pre-submission) to acceptance. Manuscripts are then passed to the production office for copyediting and typesetting. Though handled by two separate offices, this is a unified process and so the intersection (and interaction) between editorial and production offices is important.


Working with Production Editors

At most publishers like Wiley, a production editor (PE) is responsible for each accepted manuscript. Their responsibilities include:

  • Organizing the copyediting and typesetting for each manuscript.
  • Sending proofs to authors and editors (as applicable) and implementing corrections.
  • Checking revised proofs and compiling an issue.
  • Management of copyediting, typesetting, and the dispatching of proofs.
  • Ensuring a consistent quality of articles published.
  • Maintaining print and online schedules.


Copyright & Permissions

Copyright licenses detail the rights for publication, distribution, and use of research. Include details on your journal's specific copyright agreement in your author guidelines or instructions to authors.

Authors must sign a license agreement before publication. For an example of how this is handled at Wiley, please visit Licensing.


Production Checklist

Checking the manuscript and details provided at the submission and revised submission stages ensures that your editorial office is not allocating a lot of time asking the author for further information once a manuscript is accepted.

At acceptance, your office should check the following:

Manuscript files are in an editable format.
Figures are at the correct resolution in TIFF for photographs and EPS for line art.
All necessary elements are included in the manuscript files. If any parts were removed for double-blind peer review, ensure these are included in the export.
Author information is included.


It is also important to check that the production editor has all the relevant information regarding the manuscript. This might include:

Article type and/or TOC heading
Companion papers and running order
Issue assignment


Editorial Board Structure  

Every journal depends upon its editor(s) and board for its success. One essential task for every editorial office is to develop good working relationships with their colleagues and to assist them in their editorial office tasks. It is also important to stay informed of changes to the editorial board and to ensure that updates are made to editor and editorial board listings online and in print. The editorial office administrator is often a key contact for new editors and/or board members who may need assistance in learning the journal’s workflow and the editorial office system.

  The editor-in-chief is the lead editor and ultimately responsible (usually by a contractual arrangement) for the academic content of the journal. His/her primary responsibilities usually include:
  • Directing the overall strategy of the journal (in cooperation with the publisher and the society, as applicable).
  • Reviewing and deciding upon submitted manuscripts to ensure sustainable and timely copy flow.
  • Acting as an ambassador for the journal, commissioning content and fielding submission enquiries as appropriate.


Associate Editors  
  Depending on the size of a journal and its topic breadth, a journal may have one or more associate editors. The editor-in-chief delegates work to these associates and may deputize some decisions to them. The exact role of the associate editor will vary from journal to journal, and manuscripts will often be assigned to them based on the topic or country of origin.  


Section Editors  
  A journal may also appoint section editors, who are responsible for reviewing only specific manuscript types, such as book reviews or brief reports. Often, these editors make final decisions on their assigned manuscripts, but the editor-in-chief may wish to review decisions for all sections.  


Editorial Board  
  The composition of a journal’s editorial board may have various objectives:
  • to bring together a range of key individuals within the field who can advise on journal strategy.
  • to act as a ready team of potential reviewers with an active interest in the success of the journal.
  • to add credibility to the journal and/or celebrate important experts in the field. (in this case the editorial board member’s position is largely honorific).
Individuals should be made aware of their responsibilities when invited to join the board.


Editorial Board Meetings  
  Members of the editorial board meet periodically to evaluate the journal’s health and to discuss overall goals. The frequency of these editorial board meetings varies depending on the specific needs of a journal. Attendees of the meeting also vary from journal to journal.  


User Database Best Practice  

Editorial offices will keep a database(s) of user details. This might be a simple list of potential reviewers or part of the data stored on an electronic editorial office system. Such databases might be used to store author details or to assist selection of reviewers or for other purposes. Whatever the purpose of the database, it stores personal information and will therefore be subject to data protection law.


Data Protection

Personal data is information regarding a living individual who can be identified directly or indirectly by that information. This includes names and contact details. All such personal data comes under data protection legislation.

Personal information:

  • Must be stored securely and not divulged to unauthorized individuals.
  • Must not be passed on to any third party.
  • Cannot be used for marketing purposes, without the prior consent of the individual.


What Data?

When considering what information to collect and store, it is important to consider how the information will be used. For example, when collecting author information, which may be printed in the journal, it is important to ensure the author affiliation and contact details are accurate; when collecting review information, the area of expertise is probably of greater importance.

Check that the following details are correct:

  • Salutation: e.g. Professor rather than Dr., Ms. rather than Mrs.
  • Email Address: this will probably be your primary means of communication, ensure that the email address is valid.

As your database is likely to contain many entries, it is useful to have ways of clustering users together. For example, it is useful to mark all members of the editorial board so that they are easily identified.


Data Integrity

It is important to maintain data integrity. Potential issues include duplicate records and expired data. It is good practice to regularly check for duplicate records. Before merging two accounts it is important to check that they are the same individual, not two distinct individuals of the same name—this can be checked by comparing other information (middle name, location, etc.). When merging accounts, make sure you preserve the most up-to-date information.

Expired data is less easy to check for. If a specific field, such as editorial role, is changed then a report could be run to identify which users are affected by the change. If individual data is changed then it is not possible to check—you may only become aware of it when alerted by another user.


Communicating with Authors  

Verbal and written communication should be professional, encouraging, and supportive of authors who choose to submit. The aim is to ensure the authors retain a high regard for the journal, regardless of the outcome of their submission.

Here are some points to bear in mind when contacting an author whose paper is under review:

While rejection is unpleasant, negative feelings after rejection can be minimized by ensuring the communication is polite and professional, and quick. Check out our guide to communicating decisions to reject.
A personal touch can be applied when using an electronic editorial office; your standard letters should be polite and respectful, whether accepting or declining manuscripts.
Monitor your time to first decision and set goals for fast turnarounds, especially for papers which will be 'triaged' (i.e. not sent out for external review). Authors appreciate a rapid speed to first decision about their manuscript, particularly if it is rejected.
Aim to maintain a high quality of reviews. Authors appreciate well-reasoned and thoughtful responses to their work. If you receive an unnecessarily rude or offensive reviewer report, remove those comments before sending to the authors. Tips on how to get the best from your reviewers are included in our guide to peer review.
Leave authors of declined papers with a positive regard for the journal. Do not discourage them. Assuming a mentoring position for these authors (even if declining to publish) and showing a 'friendly face' to them can mean that they return later in their careers, read the journal, cite the journal, and/or recommend the journal to colleagues.
Try to avoid the term 'rejected' in relation to papers when communicating with authors. Instead, use 'declined' or 'deemed unsuitable for publication'.


Wiley Author Services

Wiley's Author Services enables authors to track their article—once it has been accepted—through the production process to publication online.

Authors can:

  • Check the status of their articles online.
  • Choose to receive automated emails at key stages of production.
  • Access the PDF offprint of their article and have free online access to the article in perpetuity.
  • Nominate up to 10 colleagues each to receive a publication alert and gain free access to the published article.

Authors are responsible for:

  • Adding all co-authors to the Author Services system to ensure that they receive their PDF offprints
  • Completing the license agreement for their articles through Author Services.

Because articles cannot be published until a license agreement is signed, it is important to include instructions for registering for Author Services in the acceptance letter, as well as on the journal site with author guidelines.


Other Resources

Author Services also includes resources such as editorial policies on ethics, retraction of articles, author rights and benefits, and help for authors whose native language is not English. These features are available to all visitors and new features will be added over time.


Appeals Procedure

There will be occasions when an author wants to appeal against the decision made. We cannot eliminate the possibility of bad reviews or reviewer misconduct, so you may like to consider having an appeals procedure in place to address these concerns. Such a procedure may help reassure authors that a rigorous process has been followed and might also draw attention to poor reviewers.

The appeals procedure is something that should be agreed to by the editor(s). You should also decide whether to advertise the appeals procedure to authors or not. A few other issues worth considering:

Should there be a deadline after which appeals will not be considered (e.g. 28 days after notification of the decision)?
How formal should the appeal be? How much detail is necessary for the appeal to be considered?
Should the appeal be handled by a different editor than the one who made the original decision?
How is the appeal to be assessed? Some journals will invite a third reviewer to assess the paper.
If the appeal is successful and the original decision is overturned, should that trigger an internal review of the process to ascertain if changes are needed?


Guide to Publishing Special Issues  

Many journals will publish special issues or special sections. These may be themed around a topic that is particularly current, to coincide with some event or conference, or to mark a significant individual.


Why publish a special issue?

Special issues usually attract more attention than regular issues, perhaps because the articles may be commissioned. As a consequence, the articles are often read more and highly cited. Special issues can also be good for the discipline, drawing attention to a particular topic. However, too many special issues can lead to copy backlogs if not carefully managed because they add an issue worth of content on top of the usual flow of submissions.

Ideas for new special issues may come from a variety of sources. They may arise from editorial board meetings, come from someone in the field, or be solicited with a call for proposals.

Remember to keep colleagues, like your marketer, production editor, and publisher contact, informed about special issues. In the same way, ensure that you are kept in the loop by asking the guest editors to copy you into relevant emails.


Guest Editors

Special issues may be handled by the journal's editor(s), but often they are handled by one or more guest editors. For some guest editors, this will be their first experience of editing a journal, so you may want to provide guest editors with extra support and advice:

  • Make them aware of the standards used by the journal, including expectations for rigorous peer review and ethical behavior.
  • Write a set of guidelines that can be sent to guest editors when they are appointed.
  • Offer a demo of the EEO system, if applicable, and make any relevant user guides available to them.


Call for Papers

Guest editors may choose to directly commission papers from colleagues in the field or they may choose to put out a call for papers. You may be asked to send the call for papers to previous submitters via a broadcast email. Be careful that this communication is worded appropriately. A call for papers is open to everyone; you do not want to give the impression that one individual is being singled out for special invitation. The call for papers should also clearly state that papers will be peer-reviewed and may be rejected.

If the guest editors are soliciting proposals for submissions, you may be asked to keep track of these. Be sure to keep a record of which proposals the guest editor accepted so you know which submissions to accept.


Keeping to Time

Unlike standard submissions, where the article is assigned to an issue only after acceptance, special issues may be assigned to a fixed issue. This means special issue articles may have to meet specific deadlines. If this is the case, then it is important to monitor special issue submissions. Remember that guest editors may be unfamiliar with publishing and may have unrealistic expectations about how quickly papers can be turned around. If the special issue is slated for publication in a particular issue, make the guest editor aware of the production deadline for that issue very early in the process.

Ensure that the reviewer database can cope with the number of papers being submitted on just one topic and that existing reviewers will not be overwhelmed by the number of papers in their area. Consider asking the special issue editors to provide a list of reviewers who are specialists on the topic and check that those reviewers are happy to review.



Supplements are additional issues of the journal, which may be published separately or with a regular issue. The majority of supplements are for Health Science journals, less common for Life Science or Physical Science journals, and rare for SSH.

There are three types of supplements: abstracts, commercial and non-commercial. While supplements will be available to subscribers of the journal, they may also have a much wider dissemination. Though the sponsor may have a certain interest in supporting a supplement, supplements are not advertisements. Supplements are subject to the approval of the editor-in-chief of the journal and supplement articles are subject to peer review, copyright, and the same ethical standards as normal articles. If your journal works with a professional publisher, much of the process around supplements will be handled by them.

For some supplements the articles will be reviewed independently by the guest editor and approved by the editor-in-chief, so you may never be involved. For some supplements the articles follow the same peer-review workflow as standard articles. If this is the case, then the editor should receive a full contents list for the supplement, so you know which articles to accept.

An abstracts supplement, say for a conference, will usually bypass the editorial office and go straight to the supplements team.

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Editorial Office Guidelines Part 1
Editorial Office Guidelines Part 1

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