Improved Review Process With New Editorial Board Structure, Now in Effect

Starting January 1, 2017, each of the ASHA journals has moved to an editorial board structure featuring the roles of editor-in-chief, editor, and editorial board member. The new structure is designed to improve on the rigorous review process for submissions to ASHA’s journals—American Journal of Audiology, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (JSLHR), and Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools—while also putting in place the ingredients needed for continued growth of submissions to the journals.

The new organizational structure includes, overall, six editors-in-chief, 40 editors, and 175 editorial board members. Each journal (and each section of JSLHR) has an editor-in-chief and 5 to 10 editors. Each editor, in turn, coordinates the work of at least four editorial board members who serve as standing reviewers. The editors work on no more than 15 to 18 manuscripts each year; editorial board members review no more than 8 to 10 submissions per year. The size of the editorial board in place for a journal depends on the typical number of manuscript submissions received each year by the journal.

In the previous structure, each journal (or journal section for JSLHR) had an editor and numerous associate editors, who assembled an ad hoc review panel for each submission. The task of recruiting reviewers was difficult and time-consuming, which resulted in some frustrations for both editors and authors. The new model will not only speed up the review process, but it will also provide an opportunity to enhance the quality and culture of peer review. In addition, the editors-in-chief in the new structure will be able to devote more time to actively recruiting and curating content to best address the research needs of the discipline.

The change results from the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning for the Journals. The committee considered information collected through surveys of journal contributors, editors, reviewers and readers, and responds to current and emerging trends in scholarly publications.

The new Journals Board, which replaces the Publications Board, includes the six editors-in-chief; three clinical representatives (one from audiology and one each from health care and school-based speech-language pathology); the chair of the Clinical Research, Implementation Science, and Evidence-Based Practice (CRISP) Committee; a public member; and an international member. The Journals Board is responsible for strategic planning, guidance, oversight, and development of new initiatives.

“Including three members on the Journals Board who can represent the needs and perspectives of ASHA’s clinical members is critical to our efforts to improve knowledge translation and the uptake of evidence-based practices,” explains Margaret Rogers, ASHA’s chief staff officer for science and research, “as is including the CRISP Committee chair. We hope the changes will significantly shorten the time from submission to first decision, improve the quality and culture of the reviews, increase the amount and quality of the clinically applied content, and increase the impact of ASHA’s knowledge curation and translation efforts.”