Consider Adding a Librarian to the Editorial Board

The most recent issue of Nurse Author & Editor Newsletter, December 2012, “Editors Cannot Know (and Sometimes Even Find!) It All:  Making a Case for a Medical Librarian on Your Editorial Board” (requires subscription to read) by Judith S. Young and Tina M. Marrelli is an interesting case for having a medical librarian on the editorial board. 

Full Disclosure:
I am currently on the editorial board for the Annals of Family Medicine and on the library advisory board for Silverchair (hosts several publishers), and I was on the Library Advisory Board of the New England Journal of Medicine.  So I am kind of familiar with the role of a librarian on the board of a publication or publishers group. 

Young and Marrelli describe the benefits having a medical librarian on the editorial board for a nursing journal.   

“Working with a medical librarian and having access to this librarian as a sounding board is an untapped source of support for nursing journal editors– as well as authors, reviewers, and publishers.  An experienced, professional medical librarian can bring value to a peer-reviewed journal and its nurse editor.”

The authors state that not only are medical librarians familiar with evidence based nursing but they can also serve editors as peer reviewers, verify international or unusual references, and conduct content specific search to see what extent certain topics are covered which is helpful for originality of journal content but also when compling subject specific issues. 

As I mentioned, I have some experience being on various journal and publication boards and I think they are EXTREMELY helpful to both the organization as well as the librarian.  I have learned more about the publishing side of things than I ever knew before.  I also am able to experience their perspective on things such as what it takes to get a issue out and the part of the inner works of a journal from editors, advertising, peer review, market, web site demands, etc.  I think the journals and the boards learned a lot from my presence on the board as well.  In various board meetings I have been able to explain how their journal is primarily accessed by institutional users, web site issues/enhancements, budgets of libraries, and networking issues/opportunities.  Recently I have been getting a lot of questions about the use of social media and how journals and publishers can use it effectively.   For many on the boards, the idea of social media is something that they know is growing and is important but they don’t exactly have a concept of how they can use it because all they see about social media are Ashton Kutcher tweets. 

So why am I posting this?  Two reasons. 

First: To inform librarians that there is another opportunity to get involved.  Sure you have to be asked to be on a board, but if you are asked know that you have some good things to contribute. Keep your ears open and you will find your niche.

Second: To inform publishers and library vendors that don’t already have librarians on boards that we can be very helpful and provide a slightly different perspective on things.  The worst thing to have on a board is a group of individuals who are all the same.  You need people who use your product but who are a bit different from each other or have different strengths and backgrounds to compliment your board. 

Librarians aren’t just in libraries.  We actually do some things that can be helpful that is beyond the traditional library.

One thought on “Consider Adding a Librarian to the Editorial Board”

  1. The editor of Nurse Author & Editor, Marilyn Oermann, is a huge fan of librarians. She encourages librarian submissions to this newsletter. If you know of a topic that would be of interest to this group, send it in. She’s one of the UNC at CH School of Nursing faculty members, and I’ve worked closely with her. I did an article on DOIs that was published in September. Sometimes we forget that we can publish in non-library focuses publications.

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