I am a final year medical student and an early-career researcher. I do not hold any medical/postgrad research degree yet (except for a Bachelor of Medical Science). Despite not having any formal education on health research, I have published tens of research articles, reviewed several articles in reputable journals (of course articles that fit my expertise), and became an editor-in-chief of a student journal.

I am currently aspiring to become an editorial board member of a reputable journal which submissions I have reviewed multiple times. I have reviewed a multitude of submissions for about 2 years now, and I thought about contacting the journal whether they have any opening for an editor or not. However, I was wondering whether the journal's editorial board would consider my request, as I know that invitations to become an editorial board are usually solicited. In addition, I am concerned that, if I ask the journal despite not being qualified (academic degree-wise), the journal won't consider my reapplications in the future. Should I contact the journal to find out if they have an opening for an editor?

Thanks in advance.

  • As I understand it, biomedical fields differ from other fields in that editors are professionals who are paid to edit rather than academics who edit on top of their usual research and teaching responsibilities. Are you looking for a career as an editor? Sep 19, 2022 at 17:08
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 19, 2022 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


Ultimately, it will depend what they think. Degrees serve as gate-keepers. We assume that a degree certifies basic competencies. In your case, you might have these competencies without the degree yet, but who is to know.

Similarly, a track record evidenced through an academic position serves as a gate keeper, since a number of people looked at you and decided they liked what they saw.

If -- and in the era of predatory publishing, this is a genuine question -- you are applying to an editorial board of a good journal, then they would ask what do you bring to the board. Editorial boards have a supervising function and you do not have the experience for supervising. They lend credibility to the journal and you have not (yet) reached even a junior level in academia, whereas editorial board members are usually senior people. You can check this by going through the current board members. If you do not have their profile, then do not apply. Frankly, I'd be suspicious if the editorial board is not made up of people with hundreds of publications.

There are some journals such as those run by MDPI which assign major editing roles to people qualified with just a doctorate. You might be in a position to aspire to such a position, but again, any official role will be visible to outsiders, meaning that you can check out their accomplishments.

  • Thanks for the insights. I agree.., most of the editorial board are senior researchers/lecturers/physicians, except for some who are junior doctorate. So I'm guessing that it's better to refrain from doing so in the meantime while building up my track records?
    – amedico
    Sep 20, 2022 at 0:56
  • If you do not have their profile, then do not apply -- this is the answer! Thanks!
    – amedico
    Sep 20, 2022 at 0:57
  • Is there a specific benchmark on what journal checks before they recruit a potential editor apart from academic degrees and positions? I think the number of publications seem plausible, but as you said, in the era of predatory and metric-based scientific publication, some researchers with hundreds of publications do not offer a good quality of their articles (they go for quantity over quality)
    – amedico
    Sep 20, 2022 at 1:02
  • What do you expect to get out of being associated with the journal? Frequent reviewer would be an accomplishment by itself. Sep 20, 2022 at 1:06
  • Apart from the benefits offered by the journal and improving my skills, I would like to expand my network by getting acquainted and working with those world-renowned experts
    – amedico
    Sep 20, 2022 at 1:08

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