Support your team

Just as we aim to make our publishing policies and workflows more equitable and inclusive, we must turn inward to assess our teams’ relationships and the intersection of principles and practice.

Representation of traditionally marginalized groups is one common way to measure diversity on a team, but true equity and inclusion requires more. How do the individuals involved with your journal—including managing editors, associate editors, editorial board members, and other staff—support one another and hold each other accountable? Supporting your team helps retain and grow expertise in the long term.

Document internal expectations

Even publications with well-documented author guidelines and review policies may lack structures to facilitate strong internal communication. One starting point is to develop a short code of conduct for all journal meetings and email exchanges. Everyone working with the journal should have access to this document and should know it will be enforced. Any code should encourage mutual respect; endeavor to prevent discrimination, harassment, and unethical procedures; and provide information on how violations will be handled.

Champion graduate students and contingent faculty/staff

Journal leadership should seek out opportunities to highlight contributions from groups who are under-acknowledged to promote their advancement. As you consider your journal stakeholders, be sure to consider what roles students and non-tenure track team members may play. A few possibilities:

  • Seek out ways to compensate individuals for their time, through assistantships or consulting honoraria. Even if you can’t pay every person on your journal team, make available professional development subsidies or consider reserving one or two paid spots for contingent researchers who might not be able to participate otherwise.
  • During and after onboarding, ask about each person’s professional goals. How can journal roles be tailored to help meet those goals or provide specific experience?
  • Provide opportunities for mentorship and growth, at all levels. This might include peer mentorship between more and less experienced members of the team.

Maintaining an editorial board

At the very least, editorial teams should be fully acknowledged to credit their work with the journal. Your editorial board (or editorial team) includes editors, subject editors, editorial assistants, copyeditors, production editors, interns, advisory board members, and other roles as applicable. Create a page with the names and affiliations of your editorial board. Consider introducing them more meaningfully by providing short bios or contact information. If it’s applicable to your publication, consider sharing personal goals, hobbies, and research interests. This humanizes your board members, helping authors see the people behind the positions and perhaps taking some of the intimidation factor out of publishing.

The New Florida Journal of Anthropology does a wonderful job of crediting and introducing their full editorial team on their website.

Editorial team meetings

While most editorial work can be done independently, gathering to openly discuss submissions in progress, goals for future issues, and potential roadblocks in the editorial process can be very useful. At the beginning of each meeting, refer to your code of conduct. Especially for large teams, assign rotating roles; no one should be expected to take notes for every meeting, and there should always be a facilitator with responsibility for discouraging any one person from dominating the conversation.

Consider making some of your editorial team meetings open to the public or to selected stakeholders, depending on the needs and goals of your publication. These meetings could be used as a tool to engage your audience and enlighten your editorial board. This can be particularly effective with new publications, creating opportunities to invite veteran editors to share their experiences and lessons learned.


Suggestions for Inclusive Virtual Meetings

Beginning in 2020, we became even more familiar with the need for effective and enjoyable virtual meetings. There are a few strategies you can consider to make your virtual meetings successful, inclusive, and productive.

  • Set an agenda. Provide all participants with an opportunity to add items for discussion or consideration. Share the final agenda with everyone before the meeting.
  • Consider adding your pronouns to your display name. See this PDF handout from the LGBTQ+ Presidential Advisory Committee on the importance of including and using your pronouns.
  • Set expectations for video use. Is video optional? Do you expect to see your attendees? Consider not requiring this.
  • If screen-share is a necessary part of the meeting but is unavailable to some participants, think about how you can include them (perhaps by sending the slides to be discussed along with the meeting agenda, so attendees can review on their own time).

References and resources

Gilbert, J. (n.d.). Guidelines for diversity and inclusion in crisis. Retrieved June 12, 2021 from

Rock, D., Grant, H., & Grey, J. (2016, September 22). Diverse teams feel less comfortable — and that’s why they perform better. Harvard Business Review.

Starvis, K., & Leacher, J. (2020, April 17). Tips for creating an inclusive virtual space.