Editorial Team Proposal Guidelines and Instructions

Guidelines and Instructions

These helpful tips and instructions were put together by Brian Pollins in his capacity as chair of the Publications Committee. We recommend that groups proposing to edit an ISA journal review this information before making their proposal.

Selection Criteria and Guidelines

Criteria Employed by ISA Publications Committee in Evaluating Proposals:

  • The professional stature and visibility of proposed editor(s)
  • The strength of support from home institution for the successful operation of the journal
  • Confidence that editor(s)’ style and vision will maintain/improve the identity, visibility and quality of ISA Journals.
  • The committee welcomes proposals from outside as well as inside North America. Note that two ISA journals are already edited outside North America.

Form to Employ in Assembling a Proposal:

While there is no fixed application form, your proposal should include:

  • A simple statement of your vision for the management and improvement of the journal during your five-year tenure as editor. (Note that "vision" typically means good management and stability rather than taking the journal in radically different, new direction.) One or two pages will likely suffice though you are not constrained to this length if you wish to make a longer statement.
  • A description of the resources to be provided by your university to facilitate your management of the journal. Such resources may include office space and supplies, staff people including graduate student interns, travel funds for editor(s)’ attendance at the annual meeting of ISA, release time for the editor(s). None of these items is required, and others not listed here may be provided. Our interest is in seeing that the full package of resources will permit the editors to do their job efficiently.
  • Letters of support from relevant authorities at your university (e.g., department Chair, Dean) confirming their commitment to provide said resources for the full five years.
  • A simple budget to show that your resources, plus the ISA subvention, will be enough to cover operation of journal.
  • Curriculum Vitae for the proposed editor or for each member of the proposed editorial team.

Any questions you may have, as well as completed proposals should be sent to the chair of the Publications Committee. Please send submissions in electronic form only.

Editorial Duties

Please note the following normal duties and expectations of editorial teams:

  • The normal term of editorship for all ISA journals is five years.
  • Receive and manage new manuscripts each week, year round. The number of new manuscripts varies by journal, from (approximately) 100 to 450 per year. Once a manuscript is received, you will select multiple reviewers for each submission (dependent on individual journal criteria), and track slow-moving reviewers to produce reviews for you within 4-6 weeks of receipt (on average).
  • With those reviews in hand, judge the present or future publishability of each manuscript and communicate that decision to the author. Among first-time submissions of a manuscript, perhaps some will receive a "Revise and Resubmit” judgment from you. Hence you must track these “R&R” manuscripts through a second round.
  • Assemble accepted pieces into an issue (4 per year) and work with Publisher to bring this into print. You will edit the substance of the piece through suggestions to the author during the review process, and the Publisher will perform the copy editing (punctuation, footnote style, etc.). But it is you who must push the authors to get their revisions done in a timely way so you have a full package of articles to send to publisher 4 times per year.
  • Compile an annual report to circulate among members of the respective journal’s editorial board, the Publications Committee, the Executive Committee and the Governing Council. This report will be due some months before the annual meeting.
  • Participate as a voting member on the ISA Governing Council and as an active ex-officio member of the ISA Publications Committee throughout your tenure.
  • At the ISA Annual Convention, attend the Governing Council meeting, and meet with the editorial board to discuss issues before the journal and receive feedback from the board.

Resources from your Home Institution

It is very difficult to state a dollar amount attending the “institutional support” we look for, because there is such wide variation among universities in how they account for the use of resources internally. But I can list the physical resources you will need which may be more helpful than a simple dollar amount in any event. Recall that each editor or editorial team of an ISA journal receives an annual cash subvention. The institutions which serve as home to an ISA journal offer matching support in a variety of forms. (Again, “matching” in this case does not necessarily mean dollar-for-dollar because of differences in accounting practices.) The selection committee looks for support from the institution at a level that will comfortably cover the full operation of the journal. Proposals we receive will include many (but seldom all) of the following:

  • Space and equipment for journal operations (furnished office, computer, printer, letterhead and other paper, phone, fax, photocopy access...).
  • Office staff in the form of secretary and/or graduate interns (Foreign Policy Analysis, at the time of this writing for example, operates with one 20 hr./week secretary, but they do share work among an editorial team. International Interactions is using two graduate interns, one for 11 months, the other for 9 months).
  • Travel support to annual ISA conventions.
  • Release time for the editor(s). Something on the order of 20 - 50% of the teaching obligation of a single editor is a typical part of the package, but again, not universal.
  • As a very broad estimate, if you start with the annual subvention with ISA and find institutional support that could be valued at (very roughly) an equivalent amount, it should cover smooth operation of the journal.

About these Instructions

These guidelines are generic notes compiled by the Publications Committee to assist teams applying to be editors of an ISA journal. Please see the specific call for detailed information.