How much is an editor of a typical research journal (e.g., with annual 12 issues and 5,000 pages) paid?

I talked with a book editor, and he said he received less than $3,000 of the book sales for a research book with over 1,000 pages and 30 chapters.

I am curious if is it comparable to a full salary or is it just an honorarium, and editors provide this service because of scientific prestige only?

  • 40
    In my experience: Zero.
    – JeffE
    Apr 14, 2015 at 18:49
  • 3
    Can you clarify what you mean by "book editor". Some "edited books" have a named editor who asks other people to write chapters. The editor then sometimes rights an introduction. There are also copy editors who proofread the text. There are also handling editors and editors and an editor in chief.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:08
  • 3
    Do you mean a journal editor as in editor in chief, or a person who edits papers, books, newspapers and other publications for grammatical issues, typesets papers, etc.? If your question is about the second group of people, then you probably chose wrong tag for your question regarding its excerpt.
    – enthu
    Apr 14, 2015 at 20:20
  • May the people willing to close give their reason for that? I guess the question could be improved, but it is a very relevant one. Clearly, many editors are not paid, or almost not, but I am led to believe that others are, and any information on this would be welcome at it seems difficult to get. Apr 15, 2015 at 9:24
  • @BenoîtKloeckner have not voted to close, but I think the close votes are because in order to answer the question, we need to know what type of editor and where.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 15, 2015 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


Typically journal editors are volunteers. I suppose for some of the flagships (Nature, Science, Cell, etc.) they might have full-time paid editors, but your typical niche research journal editor doesn't get much if anything at all.

  • 15
    I think you misspelled "tabloids".
    – JeffE
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    Those "big three" do rely on professional editors. This was part of the reason for the establishment of E-life. See this discussion: elifesciences.org/elife-news/…
    – adam.r
    Apr 14, 2015 at 21:28
  • I know of some journals with an IF around 3 that pay the editor around 5-10k I believe.
    – Behacad
    Apr 19, 2015 at 15:45
  • 1
    @Behacad, can you name one?
    – Bill Barth
    Apr 19, 2015 at 17:02
  • Hmm, no, sorry. This information is based on personal correspondence with editors, and I don't feel comfortable sharing.
    – Behacad
    Apr 20, 2015 at 17:25

It depends on the journal and on which type of editor you are talking about.

A lot of journals do not have paid scientific staff. They have editorial staff doing administrative work and a senior editor dispatching the received papers between "Associate editors" (but each journal has its own designation).

The associate editor decides if the paper is suitable for the journal, finds reviewers and makes a decision.

These associate editors are generally not paid, they are academics doing this as a community service. If the journal is run by a scientific society, editors are usually members of this society.

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