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March 8, 1985

How to Edit a Scientific Journal

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1985;253(10):1464-1465. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350340118033

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


However many times one has begun a new job, to be the new chief editor of a scientific journal must surely present an overwhelming first day. A short, friendly, practical book on the subject could be the best anodyne. Claude Bishop, editor in chief of the National Research Council of Canada journals, has written a book that fits the bill. Experienced editors may have the uncanny sensation that Bishop was looking over their shoulders during its preparation.

As the cover notes, the tone is sympathetic, and the author writes with humor, including delightful examples of correspondence and some apt visual aids. Bishop covers the basics of journal editing, beginning with the editor, then editorial boards, review of manuscripts, ethics, manuscript records, and printing and publishing. Advice on such entities as the "offbeat submission," the "appropriate stage" in one's career to become an editor," and "nonworking [lazy] editorial boards" is eminently