Investigating the Editorial Role of an Associate Editor (AE)

By IGI Global on Apr 22, 2021

When examining the editorial board of an IGI Global journal, it may be noticed that reviewers can hold different titles. From Editorial Review Board Members (ERBs), to Associate Editors (AEs), to Managing Editors (MEs), to International Advisory Board Members (IABs), these positions all play different, yet important roles within the development of the journal.


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Associate Editors (AEs) are an essential role in the double-blind peer review process of journal article manuscripts, yet the unique role they play within the journal and the differences in their position are not always fully understood.


What is an Associate Editor’s Responsibilities?
Associate Editors (AEs) are one of the highest-ranking reviewer roles of a journal’s editorial board and are key in supporting Editor(s)-in-Chief with making a well-formulated decision on each submitted article manuscript. An AE is in charge of completing roughly at least three (3) evaluations of manuscripts per year. They are also expected to be advocating for the journal to their peers and universities to support with subscription and submission numbers. There are typically between 8 and 10 AEs serving on a journal’s editorial board.


Where Do AE’s Fit in the Process?
First, once manuscripts are submitted to a journal, following a desk review by the Editor(s)-in-Chief, a minimum of three (3) Editorial Review Board Members (ERB) complete manuscript evaluations. Once this first layer of peer review is completed, an Associate Editor will be contacted to perform their careful and constructive assessment of the manuscript. They are given all three of the ERB Members’ completed evaluation forms as well as the full manuscript to review.


This is where the ERB Members and AEs differ in their responsibilities: the ERB provides the initial review feedback, which is then passed to the AE. The AE examines the manuscript plus investigates each of the ERB reviews and each of their respective recommendations to compose a summary report which they present to the Editor(s)-in-Chief, along with their formal recommendation. The AE’s recommendation to the Editor(s)-in-Chief will either be to accept, reject, or accept pending revisions. Once the AEs evaluation and formal recommendation is submitted to the Editor(s)-in-Chief, the Editor(s)-in-Chief will determine whether the manuscript is ultimately accepted, requires revision, or is rejected.


If the manuscript is accepted, then the author will be provided with the formatting guidelines for final submission. If the manuscript requires substantial revisions, then the author will be expected to follow the reviewers’ commentary and AEs summary report and recommendation, and also the formatting guidelines for the re-submission of the manuscript. Once the revised manuscript is received it will be sent back to the AE for evaluation, and then the AE’s feedback and recommendation will be sent to the Editor(s)-in-Chief. This process may repeat itself several times before a final decision is reached. For any manuscript that is rejected, the process ends, and the Editor(s)-in-Chief may recommend another outlet if appropriate.


The Editor(s)-in-Chief ultimately has/have the final decision on all manuscripts, but the AE is a trusted individual who has the expertise and necessary abilities to provide the Editor(s)-in-Chief with sound advice and guidance. Some Editor(s)-in-Chief will even consider promoting some AEs to Managing Editors for the journal upon good standing to help them lead the journal.


Becoming an AE on an IGI Global journal takes time, perseverance, and a strong commitment to both the journal and ethical publishing. In most cases, to become an AE, reviewers must first start as an Ad-Hoc Reviewer and prove their dedication and hard work to the Editor(s)-in-Chief. Please fill out and submit the Become a Reviewer form if you would like to apply to become a reviewer for an IGI Global journal.


About IGI Global

Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing process. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 100,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. To learn more about IGI Global, click here.


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