The Work of a Journal Editor

[Over the next several weeks, ATP Editor, Staci Zavatarro has agreed to discuss how she has guided ATP over the last four years. Her insights in the process of getting the journal indexed and massively extending the journal’s reach are a valuable resource. -Nuri Heckler-]

Before I became a journal editor, I had a basic understanding of the academic publishing process: write a manuscript; format and send it to a journal; editor decides if it warrants peer review; if so, reviewers provide feedback; a decision is made. If the piece is rejected, I washed, rinsed, repeated at another journal until the manuscript found a home (though sometimes projects never did land anywhere I admit).

But stepping into an editor position opened a whole new side to the publishing model people do not often talk about. Though the metaphor is a bit overused, it really is sometimes like a black box to those not serving in an editorial position.[i][1] Thanks to the Public Administration Theory Network allowing me this space on their blog, I am going to answer some frequently seen questions and critiques about academic publishing. To be sure, I do not pretend to have all the answers or provide a big-T Truth about journal editorship. Even after three years as the editor-in-chief of Administrative Theory & Praxis, I am still learning.

On the contrary, my aim with this blog series is to detail stories that often go unknown and untold about academic publishing in our discipline of public administration. Indeed, some people might raise questions about my advice or wonder why I did not talk about another topic. If you have comments, please do email me or tweet them to me (@StaciWithaZ).

In the series, I will cover the following topics: 1) What does an editor do anyway?; 2) What is the role of associate editors and editorial board?; 3) The reality of finding peer reviewers; 4) Responding to reviewers; 5) The challenges of making decisions; and 6) All the hidden work we do for free or a really small stipend.

Stay tuned to this blog as the information rolls out, and if you have a topic you would like to see addressed in this series, please let me know.


[1] For a more detailed discussion, Baruch et al (2008) have put together an excellent primer on journal editorship.


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Public Administration Theory Network

1 Comment

  1. Margaret Stout on February 8, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    What a great blog idea!! Thank you, Staci!

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