Peer review in AMS Journals is carried out by volunteer reviewers, Associate Editors, Editors, and Chief Editors.
Each AMS technical journal (i.e., all AMS journals except for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) is governed by an Editorial Board comprising a Chief Editor or Co-Chief Editors and the journal's Editors. Supporting the editorial boards of each journal are Associate Editors and a pool of expert peer reviewers. Their roles and responsibilities are defined below. Also below is information on how to let us know you are interested in volunteering for one of these roles.
Both the AMS technical journals and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society rely on volunteer peer reviewers; their careful and prompt evaluation of manuscripts is a vital part of the process of communicating research ideas, accomplishments, and progress in the sciences covered by AMS journals. Reviewers are invited by a paper's handling Editor based on the Editor's assessment of what areas of expertise are needed.
Associate Editors support their journal by providing a large number of high-quality reviews and by providing special assistance to handling Editors.
- may review as many as 6–12 papers a year for their journal (depending on the journal size);
- should accept most review invitations from their journal;
- may be called upon by handling Editors or the Chief Editor to provide quick reviews (e.g., within a week in cases where an original invited reviewer fails to complete the review on time);
- help make decisions on controversial or conflicted cases (e.g., other reviewers have recommended two minor revisions and one reject);
- provide rigorous, thorough, and prompt reviews (i.e., within four weeks for an article);
- disclose conflicts of interest (real or perceived) to the handling Editor.
Terms and Service
Associate Editors serve one-year terms, renewable on an annual basis (both parties willing). As an indication of the time commitment involved in being an Associate Editor, the average time that reviewers at Monthly Weather Review took to perform a review was 9.6 hours, with 75% of respondents spending 3.5–12 hours per review (Fig. 4 in Golden and Schultz 2012).
Benefits of Being an Associate Editor
The benefits of being an Associate Editor include:
- developing experience and familiarity with contributing reviews to AMS journals;
- developing a record of service to a journal;
- potential consideration for the volunteer Editor position.
Learning to read others’ papers, to see the strengths and the flaws, and then to write a critique is an essential part of being a scientist. It is a skill that can be developed most easily through practice, by performing many reviews. Being on an Associate Editor roster is a way to gain recognition for your reviewer service to the community.
Associate Editors are entitled to a free one-year subscription to the AMS Journals Online for the journal on which they serve.
How are Associate Editors Appointed?
Associate Editors are selected by a journal's Chief Editor after consultation with the journal's Editors. We encourage those interested in being considered to submit an application. Associate Editors are usually selected because of their previous service to the journal through distinguished, high-quality, prompt reviews. The number of Associate Editors at a journal roughly depends upon the number of submissions to the journal. The ratio of Associate Editors to Editors ranges from 2:1 to 5:1.
Editors handle the peer review process for manuscripts assigned to them by the Chief Editor.
- select reviewers, oversee the peer-review process, and make decisions;
- make recommendations to the Chief Editor for Associate Editor candidates;
- nominate individuals for the Editors Awards for excellence in reviewing;
- advise the Chief Editor on issues pertaining to the operation of AMS journals to address with the Publications Commission;
- may need to provide comments or full reviews on manuscripts they are handling;
- identify if there is a conflict of interest (real or perceived) and discuss with the Chief Editor.
Terms and Service
Editors handle 20–50 papers a year depending on the journal size. Editor terms are an initial three years with subsequent renewals (both parties willing) for two-year terms. Editors receive administrative and technical support from AMS Peer Review Support Assistants (PRSAs), who help Editors manage the Editorial Manager submission system and assist with keeping the peer review process timely.
An Editor's work includes reading manuscripts, assessing their suitability for publication, and identifying and inviting reviewers. Communications are handled within the submission system and via email. AMS editors have found that, especially for newer editors, significant time can be spent when a difficult decision has to be made and a decision letter written (e.g., a paper received three quite divergent reviews). With more experience, making decisions becomes easier and takes less time, so the time commitment will tend to decrease slightly after the first year.
Benefits of Being an Editor
The benefits of being an Editor include developing experience and familiarity with managing the peer-review process at AMS journals, developing a record of service to a journal, and being considered for the Chief Editor position. Because of their position handling manuscripts, Editors also become more visible members of the community, experience first-hand the variety of research that is published, as well as what gets rejected, and learn how best to communicate during the peer review process through reviews and responses to reviews. These experiences are beneficial to an Editor's career as a scientist. Because of their exposure to the peer review process and the necessity of handling difficult situations within the process, Editors are also afforded opportunities to develop professionally as leaders in their field.
Editors are entitled to a free subscription to AMS Journals Online for all AMS journals and a free subscription to the print copy of their journal during each year of service as Editor.
How Are Editors Appointed?
Editors are nominated by a journal's Chief Editor and are approved by the Publications Commissioner. Editors are usually selected from Associate Editors who have a history of providing thoughtful, professional, and prompt service to the journal. Before a nomination, the Chief Editor and the Commissioner will determine a candidate’s promptness in returning reviews, biases in reviewing (e.g., do they consistently reject all papers they review?), professionalism in their reviews and interactions with others, and willingness to perform reviews. Current Editors and Chief Editors, with guidance from the Commissioner, can make conscious efforts toward diversifying the pool of Editors across gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality when choosing candidates.
The number of Editors at a journal roughly depends upon the number of submissions to the journal. Typically, the ratio of number of manuscripts submitted each year to Editors ranges between 10:1 and 40:1.
The Chief Editor is responsible for the scientific quality of the journal and the operation of its editorial process.
The Chief Editor:
- receives all submissions to the journal;
- decides whether submissions are appropriate for the journal;
- decides whether submissions meet minimum standards for possible publication at the journal;
- checks that manuscripts adhere to the AMS Policy on Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism;
- assigns manuscripts to handling Editors;
- will themselves act as handling Editor for some papers;
- nominates Editors for the Editorial Board;
- selects Associate Editors;
- supports the Editors, helps mentor them, and guides their decision-making process;
- is responsible for monitoring the performance of the Editors and intervening when necessary to keep manuscripts moving smoothly through the review process;
- serves on the Publications Commission and works with the Publications Commissioner;
- is responsible for nominating individuals for the Editors Awards for excellence in reviewing;
- attends the yearly Publications Commission meeting in late May or early June in Boston, or sends a representative from the journal;
- may be called upon to serve on subcommittees of the Publications Commission.
Terms and Service
Depending upon the journal, the Chief Editor may receive 40–800 manuscripts a year. In some cases for journals with large submissions or with distinct subgroups, two Co-Chief Editors may be appointed. Chief Editors have terms that last an initial three-year period with subsequent renewals (both parties willing) for two years. Chief Editors receive administrative and technical support from the AMS staff of Peer Review Support Assistants (PRSAs) who help Chief Editors manage the Editorial Manager submission system and assist with managing the Associate Editor roster and with keeping the peer review process timely.
The work as Chief Editor includes reading incoming manuscripts, assigning handling Editors, and handling a number of manuscripts themselves. Communications are handled within the submission system and via email. The biggest time commitments come in the rare situations when a conflict has arisen between an Editor and author, and the Chief Editor needs to work with the parties to resolve it.
Benefits of Being a Chief Editor
The benefits of being a Chief Editor include developing leadership experience for an AMS journal and being considered for the Publications Commissioner position.
Chief Editors are entitled to a free subscription to the AMS journals online for all the journals and a free subscription to print copies of any journal during each year of service.
How Are Chief Editors Appointed?
Appointments of Chief Editors are made by the AMS Council. The Publications Commissioner recommends candidates to Council. Because Chief Editors are responsible for managing the journal and handling sometimes difficult situations, Chief Editors must possess maturity and professionalism. The Publications Commissioner solicits candidates for Chief Editor from the existing pool of Editors whenever possible because the Editor’s record of performance is available and Editors are already well versed in the AMS editorial process. If no candidate is available from the Editors, the Commissioner—in consultation with the current Chief Editor, other Chief Editors with expertise in the area of the journal, and/or other scientists who are experts in the field—solicits the names of senior individuals as potential candidates. These individuals are selected based on solid records of publishing, reviewing in the area of expertise required for the journal, and professionalism in management. When an individual is identified, the AMS Council is provided with the nominee’s CV. The Council is responsible for appointing the individual or asking the Commissioner for alternate candidates. If the Council believes the process of choosing the candidate was not fair, or that the process does not meet AMS goals for diversity, or has concerns for any other reason, the Council can reject the nomination, recommend alternative candidates themselves, or request that the Publications Commissioner seek a new nomination.
Associate Chief Editors
Chief Editors have the option of appointing one of the journal’s Editors to serve as Associate Chief Editor to handle submissions where a Chief Editor may have a conflict of interest, or for covering Chief Editor duties when needed. Associate Chief Editors serve for no more than 12 months and terms expire on 31 December of the appointment year. Associate Chief Editor appointments are approved by the Publications Commissioner.
To be considered for a role as an Associate Editor or Editor, please submit your name and expertise below. Your name will be included in a database of volunteers that Chief Editors will consider when looking for Associate Editors and Editors.
Please note that the Editorial Manager submission system used by AMS journals allows Editors and Chief Editors to track the status of submissions and oversee the peer review process. Editorial Manager also provides Editors and Chief Editors with reviewer performance statistics, including number of reviewer invitations, number of completed reviews, number of reviews turned in on time, number of manuscripts recommended for rejection, and the average number of days for late reviews.
Before an appointment, a Chief Editor and the Commissioner will assess a candidate’s own publication record and their performance as a reviewer for AMS journals, including promptness in returning reviews, possible biases (e.g., do they consistently reject all papers they review?), and willingness to perform reviews. Balancing the diversity of the Editorial Boards is also the concern of the Chief Editors and the Publications Commissioner. Current Editors and Chief Editors, with guidance from the Publications Commissioner, make conscious efforts toward diversifying the pool of editors across gender, race, ethnicity, affiliation, and nationality when choosing candidates.