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Background: I am a pretty early career academic (a couple years out of post-doc) and am junior faculty at a research intensive school. My CV is not bad, but is also not overly impressive. I'm a quantitative researcher in a science field and have around 20 publications, many of them in good journals but most of them not as first author, and a small amount of success in acquiring funding (have 1 small NIH grant as PI). I can say with confidence that I do NOT have a "national reputation" at this point.

Like many people in my career stage, I am on the mailing list of many journals I've submitted to, etc., and have some experience as a reviewer. One slightly-above-average journal has made an open call for statistical editors and has solicited applications. This interests me but I've always imagined editors as the super-experienced researchers who have had long illustrious careers, which I most certainly have not.

My question: when open calls are made for editorial positions, what is the general requirement for those who apply? Would an early-career researcher who has the proper expertise, but not necessarily the name recognition/reputation, be considered? I.e. the issue is not about "how much experience do you need to perform the duties of an editor"--it's about what kind of credentials do you need to have your application taken seriously. To be clear, these are volunteer positions.

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    Ask more senior colleagues about that particular journal. Ask the people behind the journal. Check that it is serious, that you aren't being sucked into some scam. And lastly, just apply. Worst they can do is to reject your application.
    – vonbrand
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 18:11
  • If they solicit applications, then they should say what they are looking for in their ad (in my opinion).
    – Kimball
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 19:13
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    @Kimball Things are not that easy. The usual requirement says something like: "PhD in the field and publishing activity in the topic of the journal." Now, what is activity? Maybe 2 articles from the last 5 years? Maybe 50 articles in the whole career? Who knows...
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 22:44
  • @yo' I'm not saying they do, I'm saying they should. They should write in the ad what they feel is important. If they want "an established researcher in the field," they should say so. In the requirement you gave, it doesn't sound like that. Though in my field, I think all the good journals just invite specific established researchers to be experts rather than put out ads.
    – Kimball
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 1:38

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I believe this will depend partly on the field, and heavily on the journal. Is this a prestigious journal? Is it an area specific journal? In my own field, however, you can often email the editor (for smaller journals specific to your own specific area) if you've published a few articles with that journal, and they ask you regularly (say, 3-4 times a year) to review an article for them. In those cases, they will sometimes be happy to add you to the editorial board if you ask. Obviously, more prestigious journals will have steeper requirements, but if you're an early career academic, you should probably start off with a smaller, area specific, journal.

In this specific case, it can't hurt to apply. But if it's a prestigious journal in your field, I wouldn't keep your hopes up. If it's a smaller journal in your field, ask yourself if you want them to send you every paper with odd-ball stats that you need to review. Is it worth it in that case? It's helpful to everyone to be on an editorial board, so be sure to ask yourself why they have to put out an open call to find a board member. It may be because it's a smaller journal and there are no experts in the field, or it may be something else. You'd be the best judge of that question.

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  • Can you specify what field you're in, for context?
    – ff524
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 0:13
  • Experimental Psychology
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 0:56

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