Training and staff development

Topic lead: Alex Mendonça, Andy Nobes
Last updated: 05/10/2023

After a journal’s editorial team is formed, training and skills development have to be pursued to ensure that all the core responsibilities can be covered and that the journal follows best practice in scholarly communication. As online journals are based on digital tools and infrastructure, it is especially important to remain up to date with the latest developments and upskill staff as required.

Authors have a set of expectations when they submit their articles to journals, including a quick, comprehensive and fair evaluation process, accurate editing, fidelity to the text, speed and academic impact. These expectations fundamentally depend not only on the quality of the article submitted, but also on the quality of the journal’s editorial processes. Submission platforms, tools for quicker assessment, editorial quality and a well-trained journal staff are crucial editorial elements to meet authors expectations. This highlights the key role of training, awareness raising and upskilling, including because technology and platforms may change or be updated as a journal grows.

Awareness of the journal’s policies authors guidelines

All staff members and members of the editorial board must be fully aware of the journal’s policies and submission guidelines, which must be publicly available on the journal’s website. Many individuals are involved in the peer review process, from the very moment a new submission is made until the final decision: therefore, it is particularly important to make sure there is a consistency throughout the entire workflow and that everyone abides to a consistent and transparent set of rules.

Knowledge of the journal’s submission system

Once the journal has chosen a submission system, all staff should know how to operate it. In particular, editors must be familiar enough with the system’s workflows, tools and capabilities. It is highly recommended that staff undertake training on the submission platform when they start.

When the budget is limited, one or more individuals can be tasked with learning in detail how the platform operates, in order to later provide training and/or support to the rest of the team. Journals may find it helpful to create their own set of customised documentation targeting their staff, reviewers or authors. Should this be the case, keeping documentation updated and easily findable by its intended users is essential.

Upskilling and continuous professional development

Submission platforms are frequently upgraded to include enhancements (which sometimes include new tools and features) and bug fixes. As a result, it is crucial that the journal promotes new training sessions, which could be focused on specific topics or cover the entire publishing workflow. It is likely that training, help pages and/or videos are made available by the chosen software provider, and this should be the preferred source of training materials as it is likely to be kept up to date as new features are introduced or old features are phased out.

Share this article

Download this article