Module 2: Organizing and Setting up the Editorial Office


In this lesson, participants will examine the establishment of the editorial office, including where it should be located, and how to equip it for the needs of journal publishing. The establishment of effective recordkeeping and reporting processes are also discussed, as are some of the challenges of staffing the editorial office.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

  • Successfully set up an editorial office
  • Discuss to benefits and challenges of virtual offices
  • Acquire and implement the necessary hardware and software for journal operations
  • Develop appropriate recordkeeping and reporting practices
  • Effectively manage the editorial staff and/or volunteers


All journals need an efficient office environment, editorial processes, and effective editorial teams. However this does not mean that there are established systems which all journals follow. Many journals develop policies and systems as required, and although this can work effectively in the short-term, it can also build up problems over time. There may also be problems when the editor changes, and the editorial office moves to the location of the new editor – suddenly systems, processes, and archival information are lost, and the new editor has to re-develop and re-invent the systems all over again.

The administration of a journal, including the setup of its operating infrastructure (the “office”, whether virtual or physical) as well as its policies, procedures, and workflows, is essential to the success of the publication. No matter how good the editors are at making decisions or how knowledgeable they are in their fields of research, if all of these details are not well established and effective, there will be delays, errors, and mistakes. It may take some additional time at the beginning, but in the long run, attention to these important aspects of operating a journal will provide important benefits.


Case Study

The Hamdan Medical Journal is a truly international journal. The Editor-in-Chief is based in Vienna, Austria. The editorial office and the design/production department is based in Aberdeen, Scotland, within a company that offer editorial services to a large number of journals. The owner and publisher is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (where the journal is printed), and the website is managed in Kerala, India in a company that manages several websites (but only one journal website).

What do you think are the benefits and disadvantages of this international arrangement? What do you think some of their most significant challenges might be? Please add your thoughts at the bottom of this page.

4 Comments on "Module 2: Organizing and Setting up the Editorial Office"

  1. WOW! It is truly impressive. As an Editor I would be very nervous as to whether such an international arranegement woyld work in the day-to-day operation of the Journal.
    I work in a small University and Fuera de Campo (the journal I edit) is a one man operation. I know it is not the most suitable situation, but that is my reality and I have to accept it. I will keep you up to date as to the success of my enterprise!!

  2. While it’s great to distribute responsibility and free up editors for actual editing rather than admin/tech tasks, it might be expensive, not to mention difficult to make yourself heard at companies managing several clients.

  3. Profile photo of Greg Chan Greg Chan says:

    Fascinating infrastructure.

    While Hamdan Medical Journal’s international set-up likely broadens its readership, it could also create cross-cultural obstacles related to policies, protocols, and language/expression. What makes sense to the publisher in Dubai might take on a different meaning to editors in Scotland. Perhaps once copy reaches the editor-in-chief in Vienna, even more has been lost in translation.

    However, such a rich, international collaboration surely outweighs these negotiables.

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