The Botanical Review

, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 99–107 | Cite as

Ten Rules for Associate Editors

  • Mark P. Simmons


Associate editors are typically given minimal guidance when they are hired by editors-in-chief of scientific journals. Ten rules (or guidelines) are presented for associate editors based on the author’s experience as an associate editor for three evolutionary journals. First, accept invitations to edit manuscripts that are outside your comfort zone. Second, turn-around time is important. Third, read the manuscript before sending it out for review. Fourth, select suitable reviewers. Fifth, provide authors guidance on how to address the reviews. Sixth, help graduate students balance their manuscripts. Seventh, you are not a co-author on the manuscript. Eighth, when in doubt, choose the more severe recommendation. Ninth, sign and date your recommendation. Tenth, return unsatisfactory revisions to the authors. Each of these ten rules includes a description of the author’s relevant personal experience as well as detailed guidance on how to implement the rule.


Editor-in-chief Editorial board Journal Manuscript Publication Review process 



I thank Pam Diggle, Jeff Doyle, John Freudenstein, Amy McPherson, Pat Reeves, Dan Sloan, Jim Smith, Dennis Stevenson, and John Wenzel for numerous helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Literature Cited

  1. Committee on Publication Ethics. 2011. Code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors. Available at:
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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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