American Sociological Association

How to Apply for an Editorship

May 27, 2010

How to Apply for a Journal/Book Series Editorship

The Committee on Publications of the American Sociological Association is charged with the selection of editors of its journals and series.

In consultation with the ASA Executive Office and with the approval of Council, the Committee on Publications issues calls, evaluates applications from potential editorial candidates, selects editors, and assists the editors-elect in the transition.

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Editor Selection Guidelines 

Journal editors serve to give leadership to publishing in an area consistent with the mission of the journal. Although the quality of a journal ultimately depends on the quality of submissions, outreach, an openness to communicating with scholars about diverse ideas, and a zest for building new bridges and connections by the editor can enhance the significance and breadth of work published in a journal.

Appointment to an ASA journal editorship requires skill in reviewing, processing, making publication decisions, and following accepted manuscripts through their publication in the journal. In addition, editors are required to name an editorial board in line with policies of the ASA and the history of the journal. For a full description of editorship responsibilities and expectations, download the letter of agreement (PDF).

Each year, the editor will hold a board meeting at the annual meeting of the ASA. Each editor will have a meeting with the Committee on Publications before the beginning of his or her term, may attend meetings of the Committee on Publications during his or her term, and will meet with the Committee on Publications at the completion of his or her service. These meetings are designed to assist both the editor and the Committee on Publications in maintaining the high quality of publication in ASA journals, in providing input, in alerting both editors and the Committee on Publications to any problems that may arise, and in fostering positive communication between the journal and ASA's elected Committee charged with overseeing the journals.

Eligibility: Candidates must be members of the ASA and hold a tenured position or equivalent in an academic or non-academic setting. Applications from members of underrepresented groups are encouraged.

Selection Criteria: In accordance with ASA's mission to publish high quality scholarship, the following criteria are considered in selecting editors:

  • established record of scholarship;
  • evidence of understanding the mission of the journal/series and its operation, indicated by experience with the journal/series across any of a wide variety of activities (e.g., publication, reviewing, editorial board experience);
  • assessment of the present state of the journal, its strengths and challenges, and a vision for the journal's future;
  • openness to the different methods, theories, and approaches to sociology; and
  • record of responsible service to scholarly publishing and evidence of organizational skill and intellectual leadership.

The time demands associated with these responsibilities vary from week to week, but, in general, require one to two full days per week.

ASA encourages applications for both sole editorships and co-editorships. In order to minimize conflicts of interest if you are chosen as editor, if you do choose to apply, we ask that you do not submit any of your own work to the journal for which you apply after December 31 until the decision has been announced.

Deadline for receipt of applications: November 1.

Selection Process: Applications are received by the Committee on Publications and are reviewed at their meetings (typically held twice a year, at the ASA annual meeting and a mid-winter meeting). It is possible that prospective editors may be contacted to clarify issues raised in the deliberations. A list (which may be ranked or unranked) is then sent forward to the ASA Council. The Council appoints the editor. The editor is contacted by the ASA Secretary.

Preparing the Application Packet

Given that the Committee on Publications receives a number of qualified applications, appointment to the editorship of an ASA journal is highly selective. The guidelines below offer suggestions to streamline the application process for applicants and the Committee.

The Application Packet should be no more than five pages (approximately 2,500-3,000 words) and should include:

Vision Statement: Set forth your goals and plans for the content of the journal. This may include an assessment of the current strengths, weaknesses, or gaps that you plan to address and how you will implement your plan.

Editor/Co-Editor Background Information: The name, affiliation, and other important information about the potential editor and, if applicable, co-editors is required. Describe the qualifications of each person that supports her/his inclusion. Evidence of the ability and experience of the editor and editorial team to provide sound judgment and guidance to potential ASA authors is central to the application. Provide a clear description of and justification for the structure of the editorial office and responsibilities, as you envision them at this point. Name only those individuals who will serve as editor/co-editor. Please do not include names of individuals that you would like/plan to include on the larger editorial board. Contacting potential editorial board members can be a time-consuming task that should be done only after an editor is selected.

Institutional Support: It is important for candidates to consider and address the feasibility of serving as editor in light of the resources ASA can provide, and other resources likely to be available to the candidate. The ASA is not able to pay for office space, release time, or tuition, but does provide financial support for office resources as necessary to journal editors. This support may include funds for editorial assistance, office supplies, postage, and telephone beyond what will be provided by the editor's home institution. In addition to the staff determined necessary for the work involved in processing and reviewing manuscripts (including copyediting), incoming editors have the opportunity to request additional funding or staff support for special initiatives or extra features (although most do not choose to do so). Since the support offered by different institutions varies widely, candidates are encouraged to contact the ASA Executive Office as necessary to determine the level and type of ASA support that is available. At this point in the submission process, letters of support from deans or other appropriate institutional officials are not required. Specific arrangements with a potential new editor and with that individual and his or her institution will occur after the ASA Council makes a selection and the ASA Secretary, with support from the ASA Executive Officer, works out the final agreement with the candidate.

Please include a vita or resume for the proposed editor and/or co-editors. Vitae are not included in the five-page limit, and no standard form is required.

The Application Packet should be sent to:

Jamie Panzarella
Publishing and Employment Services Manager
ASA Executive Office
1430 K Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005

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