As outlined in Angela Cochran’s article in Scholarly Kitchen1, many editorial office service providers act as an umbrella organisation for independent editorial assistants. They advertise for editorial assistants to ‘join our team’ and are happy to allow them to also work for their own contracts as well as for other editorial service providers. Some even outsource training of these new contractors to others.
Our ethos is different
We believe that sharing contractors across suppliers is not only a potential conflict of interest for our partners but also dilutes team ethos and weakens the ability to drive our team forward to the highest best practice standards. Each of our 130+ team members have been recruited and trained by us. Very few of these team members worked in the publishing industry before and while some of our freelancers do have other roles, our contract requires that they are in other non-competitive fields. Team members that do have other roles are mostly also working in teaching or school administration.
To join our editorial team, each applicant requires at least three years of experience in a professional field, many coming to us from the finance sector, marketing, human resources or, for our Hungarian team, English teaching or tourism. These backgrounds are the administrative foundation which provide the time efficient, self motivating, quick to learn team members who can be then taught the processes and best practices of the peer review process.
To be considered as a scientific freelancer, an applicant must be a postgraduate, currently working either towards a PhD or in a current research position. Our in-house scientific lead then works with them to train them in best practices for reviewer invitation, instructing them in COI checks and verification, checking their work and guiding them through the training period until they are ready to become a fully fledged member of our scientific team.
Once part of our team, all our freelancers work on either a single or small group of journals. They are introduced to our partners and work alongside our staff to ensure that they are reaching our agreed service levels and adhering to best practice. Each freelancer has a direct link to one of our staff, who is there to answer questions, continue training and ensure that they are fulfilling our contract with our partners.
Each individual journal has enough trained resources to ensure that cover can be provided at any time. At no time will your journal be either left unattended or covered by someone without previous experience of that journal. It will always be covered by a fully trained member of the team, who understands your journal’s requirements and has been fully trained in its processes. Most of the time, this cover is provided by other members of the current team – ensuring that your Editors and in-house editorial team know and trust the team members completing the work.
Each freelancer has a direct link to one of our staff, who is there to answer questions, continue training and ensure that they are fulfilling our contract with our partners. Each individual journal has enough trained resources to ensure that cover can be provided at any time.
While a continued service level to our partners is a key element of the cover process, we also know that our team needs to be able to take time off. With busy lives outside of work we all need time to take a break. Our team all need to be able to step away from their journals, knowing that when they return fully refreshed, the journal is still running smoothly, their inbox is clear and any ongoing issues have been professionally managed in their absence. Our inhouse cover system ensures that only trained and experienced journal team members can accept the cover assignment, once again ensuring that you know that your journal is in the best hands.
These differences are part of why we believe that Editorial Office stands out above the rest.