Editor’s Perspective

Although I have served as a reviewer for various conferences (e.g., AERA, CSSE, ICLS, CSCL) and journals (e.g., Computers & Education, Discourse Processes), I only recently had the pleasure of overseeing the submission review process from the other side, from the perspective of the editor who oversees the journal article publication process.

I used open journal system (OJS), a journal management and publishing system developed by the Public Knowledge Project, a project that I considered working on as a doctoral student (read more about that here). I’ve used OJS before as a reviewer, but not as a section editor. It is pretty easy to use. I could easily invite reviewers to review the manuscript via email, send reminders, archive communications, upload files, etc.

The only glitch I ran into was that one of the reviewers had difficulty navigating to the screen that I saw because what s/he saw and what I saw were entirely different. In the end, we ended emailing comments back and forth. I noticed, too, that OJS worked better with certain browsers than others (e.g. at one point, OJS didn’t work well with Chrome, but worked well with Firefox; I think it works ok now). I hope that I can iron out some of these difficulties before going through this process again to reduce frustration for reviewers, who kindly take time out of their busy schedules to participate in the blind peer review process.

Most of us have heavy commitments (teaching, research, supervision, service, travel, family, etc.). It is exciting to read stellar submissions that are obvious accepts and difficult to read ones that we will ultimately reject. It was a great experience for me to see things as they are from the editor’s perspective. While authors are often impatient to receive the decision, it takes time to take a manuscript through the review process and for the editor to put together an action letter to send to the authors. Reviewers and editors are doing this work on top of whatever else they are working on already. It may be thankless work in some ways, but I have to say I enjoy it. But then again, I did work in publishing in a past life, and I may actually enjoy working to deadlines.

Speaking of which, I must get back to working on a book chapter that I promised my book editors that I will finish. I was supposed to work on it upon my return to the university this month, but I’ve extended my parental leave a few more weeks to spend as much time as I can with my little one because I won’t have this time with her again. The guilt of not delivering the chapter on time weighs on me, especially as the book is to be published for next year.


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