AFS Seeks Journal Editors-in-Chief






The American Fisheries Society (AFS) seeks four scientists with a broad perspective on fisheries to serve as editors-in-chief (EIC) of:

  • Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
  • North American Journal of Fisheries Management
  • Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science
  • Fisheries magazine

The four EICs would be appointed for a three-year renewable term. Each EIC receives a $10,000 annual stipend, and full financial support to attend the AFS Annual Meeting.

Duties include:

  • Work closely with AFS editorial office and journal editorial board, including assigning manuscripts to appropriate Editor and Associate Editor;
  • Help recruit and retain Editors and Associate Editors, provide mentoring and guidance to editors, and regularly review editorial board performance;
  • Solicit manuscripts to ensure broad coverage, and identify critical and timely science issues that the journal should address;
  • Ensure that journal objectives and mission are being met; and
  • Make recommendations to enhance the vitality and prestige of the journal.

EIC responsibilities do not include making decisions on manuscripts; this will continue to be done by our current editors.

Specific position responsibilities vary among the four journals.  Please see below for vision statements for each publication and the duties of each EIC.

To be considered, send a current curriculum vitae along with a letter of interest by e-mail to [email protected] (please specify to which journal you are applying). To nominate a highly qualified colleague, send a letter of recommendation to the same e-mail address. Application deadline is January 31, 2018.

Position:  Editor-in-Chief

Journal:  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (TAFS)

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society is AFS’s oldest and most recognized scientific journal.  Its mission is to publish the best scientific content among the broadest disciplinary scope in the AFS portfolio. The journal seeks to publish scientific articles with wide appeal that have high influence within fisheries science and are novel or represent seminal scientific results, such that TAFS is and continues to be recognized as the flagship scientific journal of the society. TAFS is intended for fisheries and aquatic science professionals globally.


  1. Increase impact factor/citation metrics (as described in strategies below)
  2. Be competitive with journals such as Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  3. Make TAFS a top-10 fisheries journal
  4. Decrease time to publication of articles

Suggested Strategies

A. Increase publication of the best available science by:

-Faster and more frequent desk rejection (rejection without review)
-More direct focus by editors, associate editors, and reviewers (guided by the new Editor-in-Chief) on best science, not on shepherding papers towards acceptance
-More frequent inter-journal transfer of articles
-Aiming for approximately 50% rejection rate—initially—after desk rejection

B. Eliminate the ‘notes’ article type category
C. Increase international representation on editorial board

Common Themes

A. Provide a check-box during article submission requiring authors to commit to at least one review of an AFS manuscript in the coming year
B. Strict enforcement of reviewer time limits by associate editors
C. Eliminate author formatting requirements—authors simply prepare appropriate manuscript sections, everything else handled by copy editors
D. Regular, focused communication among Editors-in-Chief of all journals

 Responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief (preference for EIC to come from current journal editorial board)

A. Implement and oversee all identified strategies and goals
B. Liaise with other EICs and AFS editorial office
C. Track papers and metrics (time to first decision, rejection rate, etc.)
D. Mentor new editors and associate editors
E. Assign each paper to an Editor and AE
F. Review a small number of papers yearly in order to be engaged

Position:  Editor-in-Chief

Journal:  North American Journal of Fisheries Management (NAJFM)

North American Journal of Fisheries Management is intended to promote communication among fishery managers in North America. The journal’s contents chronicle the development of practical monitoring and management programs for finfish and exploitable shellfish in marine and freshwater environments. Contributions relate to the management of fish populations, habitats, and users to protect and enhance fish and fishery resources for societal benefits. Case histories of successes, failures, and effects of management actions help convey practical experience to others.

Papers published in NAJFM must be relevant to fisheries management in North America and include: original research that describes new information relevant to fisheries management; work that supports or contradicts previous findings; case histories of successes, failures, and effects of fisheries programs; and papers describing development and assessment of new and innovative tools and techniques used to assess and manage fish populations.

 The primary audience is fishery managers in North America (and beyond), researchers and academics focused on fisheries management and on training future fishery managers, and students.

Impact factor: Citation-based indices do not measure the “impact” of NAJFM on the profession. Relevance is measured by practical use of science in the process of fisheries management.

Recommendations (in priority order):

  1. Establish an Editor-in-Chief (see responsibilities below).
  2. Renew focus on publishing papers consistent with the mission of NAJFM.
  3. Increase number of editors.
  4. Provide oversight in selecting editors, associate editors, and peer reviewers who are engaged in fisheries management.
  5. Engage AFS Fisheries Management Section and Fish Administration Section to obtain continual feedback on journal direction, and assistance in selecting members of the editorial board.
  6. Ask management agencies to identify exceptional candidates for editorial positions and provide time to complete these duties.
  7. Increase pool of available peer reviewers.
  8. Assign manuscript submissions based on AE expertise, not workload.
  9. Increase prevalence of special issues or collections of papers focused on topics relevant to fisheries management.

Responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief (preference for EIC to come from current journal editorial board)

  1. Assign each paper to an editor and associate editor
  2. Recruit and mentor new editors and associate editors
  3. Track papers and metrics (time to first decision, rejection rate, etc.)
  4. Be assigned a small number of papers yearly in order to be engaged
  5. Implement and oversee all identified strategies and goals
  6. Perform annual evaluations of editor and associate editor performance; dismiss editorial staff that do not meet performance standards and quality control (e.g., review quality, time to publication)
  7. Liaise with other EICs and AFS editorial office 

Position:  Editor-in-Chief

Journal:  Fisheries magazine

Since its inception in 1976, Fisheries has been a monthly magazine-style periodical that is mailed in hard copy (or available online) to American Fisheries Society (AFS) members. It is the primary communication tool with AFS members, even with the increased use of electronic communication in recent years. The Managing Editor of Fisheries (an AFS employee) solicits and generates content related to AFS unit news, events, job opportunities, and other AFS-relevant material.  There are also regularly-appearing columns. Science content is subject to peer review and is coordinated by a Senior Science Editor, two Co-Chief Science Editors, and a team of Science Editors (analogous to Associate Editors for other AFS journals).

Fisheries has a longer article time-to-publication because only a limited number of articles can be accommodated in each issue. Additionally, Fisheries has struggled with its identity – is it a journal or is it a magazine?  In reality, it is a hybrid, not unlike BioScience or Frontiers in Ecology and Environment. The Impact Factor has hovered between 2 and 3 for the last decade and is the highest ranked of all AFS publications (currently 3.0). Financially, Fisheries is uniquely supported by advertising, which has declined in recent years.

Suggested Strategies

To provide proper guidance, there is a need for an Editor-in-Chief to oversee and implement this comprehensive strategic plan. The EIC will be responsible for the refined content management to ensure that science articles published in Fisheries are consistent with the spirit of the publication and that non-science material is appropriate and engaging. To ensure that scientific rigor and the reputation of Fisheries is maintained, individuals will be sought for the editorial board that have editorial, publishing, and visionary experience to identify and solicit key topics and issues that should be addressed. The editorial board must focus on implementing and executing Fisheries mission objectives. A major aspect of meeting this vision will require that some board members strictly focus on forward-thinking, horizon-scanning expertise to solicit timely and relevant content, while others focus on standard peer-review processes.

Suggestions for innovative content

  1. Synthesis perspectives from Plenary Speakers at AFS conferences;
  2. Perspectives from international members and members of other international societies
  3. Professional development from the Professional Certification Program
  4. Ethics and philosophy
  5. Tools, technology, and do it yourself (e.g., field experts and manufacturer driven spotlights/techniques)
  6. Safety in the workplace
  7. Creating content for policy makers
  8. Tribal perspectives
  9. Themed issues
  10. AFS annual meeting abstract submissions reviewed to identify emerging ideas
  11. Locate existing data sources that will identify emerging ideas
  12. Solicit intriguing content from AFS Sections, Divisions, and Chapters that go beyond “News”
  13. Encourage students to provide content from communication tools (e.g., social media, graphic arts, photography, emerging technologies)

Responsibilities of Editor-in-Chief (preference for EIC to come from current journal editorial board)

A. Implement and oversee identified strategies
B. Mentor new editorial board members, as well as conduct annual evaluations of editors’ performance
C. Review a small number of papers yearly in order to be engaged
D. Liaise with other EICs and AFS editorial office


Position:  Editor-in-Chief

Journal:  Marine and Coastal Fisheries (MCF)

Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science is an open access, online-only publication. The journal, launched in 2008, has an editorial board of subject editors charged with making final publication decisions.

The journal aims to publish original and innovative research that synthesizes information on biological organization across spatial and temporal scales to promote ecologically sound fisheries science and management. MCF provides an international venue for studies of marine, coastal, and estuarine fisheries, and promotes the development of ecosystem-based fisheries science and management.

The audience for MCF includes marine scientists and managers.  These professionals hail from federal, state, provincial, and tribal agencies; regional fisheries management commissions and councils; international agencies; and academic institutions, including Sea Grant institutions.  Undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral fellows also comprise the target audience.  The secondary audience for this journal includes staff from aquaria, industry, and coastal policy planners.

Impact factor

Impact factors are important to the majority of authors publishing in MCF.  The goal is an impact factor of ~2.0 (currently 1.17).  Several strategies used to improve impact factors should continue, namely, publication and promotion of special issues, promotion of select papers through social media and press releases, and outreach to potential authors associated with AFS annual meeting symposia.  Additional targeted strategies could be implemented (e.g., Award of Excellence recipients, students presenting in the Best Student Paper Symposium).

Time to publication

Time to publication is about 10 months; the goal is to reduce this to 6 months from submission through publication. Strategies to improve time to publication include monitoring the peer-review system by proactively tracking papers that are under review and that are overdue, continue publishing articles immediately after acceptance but before copy editing, provide incentives to reviewers to complete reviews in a timely manner, and continue the practice of subject editors making final decisions regarding publication.


Promotion and improved visibility are key for MCF.  Many AFS members are not aware of this journal, and electronic table of contents alerts have been inconsistent.  MCF should be promoted to a broader readership (including international audiences).  Of all AFS journals, this journal has the largest proportion of international authors; as such, AFS should maintain and possibly expand international representation among the subject editors to include international professionals.    Promote newer technologies for displaying supplementary materials.  Refresh the editorial board (e.g., addition of new international subject editors).

Responsibilities of EIC (preference for EIC to come from current journal editorial board)

A. Implement and oversee identified strategies
B. Conduct annual evaluations of Subject Editor performance
C. Solicit cutting-edge papers
D. Track papers and metrics (time to first decision, rejection rate, etc.)
E. Mentor and help recruit new Subject Editors
F. Review a small number of papers yearly in order to be engaged
G. Liaise with other EICs and AFS editorial office