Interested in becoming a BES Associate Editor?

The seven British Ecological Society journals are currently looking for ecologists and practitioners to join their editorial boards! See here for more information and how to apply (deadline: 28th February 2023). Read on for details about the role and insights from some of our current Associate Editors:


Being an Associate Editor (AE) involves making initial assessments on the suitability of manuscripts, securing appropriate peer reviewers, and making recommendations to the Senior Editors on the basis of the reviews and your own professional opinion. AEs typically handle around 10 original submissions per year, but this number can very depending on subject area and AE capacity.

I spend about 2-3 days per month on AE tasks. This has decreased from the time I started, probably because now I receive new manuscripts more gradually and work on manuscripts that are at different stages. Being an AE makes it easier for me to say “no” to reviewing manuscripts (and instead I suggest other reviewers). I now tend to do reviews mostly when I’m really excited about the topic of a manuscript” – Anna Schweiger, Journal of Ecology

We also welcome AEs to contribute to initiatives such as Special Features, input to journal development ideas at our Editorial Board meetings, and represent the journals at relevant conferences.


The Journal of Ecology editorial team at the publishing reception, 2022 BES Annual Meeting

AEs are entitled to free access to the journal, and free registration to the BES Annual Meeting every year! In addition, they receive a year’s free membership to the BES, with a 50% discount for subsequent years (full details of BES membership benefits can be found here). We also offer support for AEs to attend relevant conferences if they’re willing to represent the journal.

AEs benefit from early access to cutting-edge research, and they have the opportunity to help shape the research field and the publishing landscape. We also offer AEs plenty of networking opportunities within the publications team and the wider BES community.

An AE position at the Journal of Ecology incentivizes me to spend time digging into exciting new research, keeping me informed of big developments in my field” – David Armitage, Journal of Ecology

I appreciate the opportunity to deal with work at the cutting edge of plant ecology, which improves my own knowledge. I also appreciate the insights I get from seeing how other people review papers, which helps me to refine my own assessment methods” – Kyle Tomlinson, Journal of Ecology

“Being an AE is very useful to have a deeper understanding of the wider literature of your research area and the publishing process, and it’s also rewarding to play a part in the communication of novel results” – Catherine Preece, Journal of Ecology


We provide extensive support and training for our AEs. Our virtual AE support centre contains AE Guidelines, training videos, checklists for evaluating manuscripts, and tips for finding reviewers, as well as wider publishing information.

It’s important to note that our Associate Editors are part of a wider publications team! The Senior Editors and in-house editorial team are here to offer advice whenever it’s needed, and guidance when handling tricky manuscripts and reviews.

It’s all very relaxed and supportive. If you have a procedural or technical query you can just send an email to the journal team and you’ll get a prompt and helpful reply (even if you ask a silly question). If you have concerns about handling scientific issues or are having difficulty making a tricky decision, you can discuss your problem and get support from the Senior Editor who is handling the manuscript. If you need to take a break or a holiday…no problem. Just give the dates to the journal team” – Honor Prentice, Journal of Ecology

We regularly run workshops at the BES Annual Meetings on ‘How to be an Associate Editor: A guide to confidently handling manuscripts’. Our experienced panelists cover topics such as how to make initial assessments of manuscripts, how to assess reviewer comments, how to write good recommendations, and how to handle revised manuscripts. An online version of this workshop is available for you to watch below:


The BES previously held an AE open call in 2020, and you might be interested in reading through the Twitter Q&A session which covered lots of great questions (and answers) about the role! The FAQs have also been summarised here.

“If you’re in doubt about whether you’re “good” enough, or “senior” enough, just go for it! It’s a short application so there’s very little to lose and lots to gain :)” – Natalie Cooper, Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Further details about the AE open call can be found using the link below👇 Application deadline: 28th February 2023!

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