Recently I became aware that a journal is recruiting a board member. The subject matter is very close to my research background and I am very interested in the position.

I have a PhD in the field (with an active academic email) but am currently working in the industry (my current affiliation is non-academic). Given this, is that still possible to apply for the position? I did some research and never saw a non-academic board member: is that a no-no?

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    As probably about 98% of all offers to join editorial boards are fake, be certain that this is a real reputable journal before going for it.
    – Arno
    Aug 24, 2021 at 11:39
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    I would think a (reputable) journal would care more about your recent publications in the area than about your affiliation (if any).
    – GEdgar
    Aug 24, 2021 at 12:09
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    @Arno OP says the journal is recruiting, which makes it sound like the journal advertised for a board member as opposed to approached the OP with an offer to join the board. That's fairly normal - see e.g. think.taylorandfrancis.com/koni-callforeditor
    – Allure
    Aug 24, 2021 at 14:28
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    Plenty of industry and national lab folks on editorial boards...
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 24, 2021 at 22:17
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    Note that being a (good) editor can be time-consuming, and it is not typically remunerated. You really need to have an employer who is willing to consider editorial duties as 'part of your job'.
    – avid
    Aug 25, 2021 at 9:21

3 Answers 3


Decent journals will care less about where specifically someone works, but what their qualifications are in a field. From the perspective of a journal, a good editor will be someone who:

  • Knows the area well, i.e., knows what is in the literature
  • Actually works in the area, i.e., has practical experience
  • Is known as an expert to the researchers in the area, i.e., has the stature to make decisions and have these accepted by others in the community as based in knowledge.

So, if you are an expert in a field, and if that is easily recognizable by your peers, then I see no reason why you wouldn't be a reasonable candidate to serve as an editor.

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    I would emphasis that your bullet points need to be currently accurate. If OP satisfied these a few years ago but hasn't keep up with the field, possibly due to leaving academia, then that would disqualify them as well.
    – quarague
    Aug 25, 2021 at 13:08

... is that still possible to apply for the position?

It's certainly possible to apply; the worst that can happen is you'd be rejected.

If there is a requirement to hold a current academic post at a certain level (e.g. professor, lecturer...) then I would think this would be stated in the call for applications, and I assume it isn't. Even if this was stated as a requirement, if your other qualifications are sufficiently good I think they should at least not immediately reject you just for not fulfilling every stated requirement. And if they do immediately reject you, it would probably mean there are a lot of well-qualified applicants and they don't have time to consider all of them, in which case your chances wouldn't be great even if you did hold an academic post.


Yes, it's possible. Example from Taylor and Francis. They are looking for:

  • Someone who is active in the community with strong personal networks
  • Confidence to engage with authors and researchers to solicit the highest quality submissions
  • Strong organizational skills to ensure that submissions are handled in a timely manner
  • Previous editing experience, e.g. as an Associate Editor or Guest Editor would be advantageous, but not essential
  • The ability to foster positive working relationships with colleagues such as Associate Editors

Which does not include "is currently affiliated with a university".

Here's another example from Oxford University Press:

At least five years' experience as a senior academic and or research professional, with a recognised and demonstrated standard of excellence in the following areas:

  1. An established track record in Health Services research, Improvement Science, Implementation Science or Patient Safety research or practice
  2. Experience as an in editorial role of a scientific or academic journal
  3. Experience as a reviewer of papers submitted to scientific or academic journa

You again don't need to be an academic, but you do need to have spent five years in research.

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