Today I received my first email addressed to “Dear Dr Marley…”
And as if that wasn’t enough of a buzz, the email itself was to welcome me onboard as a new Associate Editor for the scientific journal Austral Ecology!
Most scientific work is published in an academic journal. The idea is that a piece of work is reviewed by your peers, who can either reject it as unacceptable or recommend it for publication (often after implementing some improvements). So everything that appears in academic journals has generally been vetted by at least two experts in the field through this ‘peer review’ system. This is to ensure the quality of work being published, as researchers are judged by their publications when applying for jobs and grants. In some cases, the survival of whole university departments depends on their publication records.
But it’s not just about churning out article after article. There are thousands of journals out there for different scientific fields, each of which with its own level of prestige. And your success as a scientist depends on getting your work published in good-quality journals.
Austral Ecology is the official journal of the Ecological Society of Australia (ESA), and is the premier journal of basic and applied ecology in the Southern Hemisphere. This includes experimental, observational or theoretical studies on terrestrial, marine or freshwater systems. ESA is the main professional association for ecologists in Australia, with over 1,500 members across the country.
As an Associate Editor, I will be responsible for managing several manuscripts per year. This involves finding suitable peer reviewers for each article, and making recommendations of the suitability of that article for publication based on the reviews received.
From my own experience, I know that a good editor makes all the difference. When publishing my first paper, I received excellent support from the journal editor, who guided me through this overwhelmingly daunting process. I have also received support from an editor in the past when a peer reviewed behaved less-than-professionally when assessing my work. I believe having a good editor can make all the difference for authors – and I look forward to contributing to this process.