A day in the life of an editor – want to join in?

If you’ve ever fancied being part of a top palliative care journal, here’s your chance! Professor Catherine Walshe, Editor-in-Chief of ‘Palliative Medicine’, takes you behind the scenes of the EAPC’s official research journal and invites you to join the team as a screening editor.

Ivory towers, red pens, and a desire to disappoint … Is that your view of a day in the life of a journal editor? The truth is rather more prosaic (and positive) than that. In this blog, I am going to share some of what a journal editor does on a day-to-day basis, and hopefully persuade some of you that it might be interesting to join us at ‘Palliative Medicine’, the research journal of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC).

Palliative Medicine Paper of the Year award 2017

One of Catherine’s tasks at the 10thEAPC World Research Congress, held recently in Bern, was to present the Palliative Medicine 2017 Paper of the Year award. She is pictured here with author of the winning paper, Shane Sinclair, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Canada.

My job as an editor is to read, think, and communicate how research in palliative care is disseminated to a varied international audience. The privilege and excitement of the job is to engage with new and innovative research from across the world, and then help share this with the widest possible audience. For this to happen we have to consider how best to curate our content, think what is most relevant to our readers, appraise submitted papers critically and analytically and try to best to meet our strategic objectives. This can be challenging, we are not infallible, and we can make unpopular decisions. It can be hard to look someone in the eye with a smile at the next EAPC conference when you both know that you have declined to publish his or her recent paper.

So what do I, as an editor, actually do? Well on a regular basis, I read research papers submitted to the journal and work with our screening editors to decide whether to send a paper for external review. We consider whether a paper meets the scope of the journal, if what is reported is novel and contributes to knowledge, and if the design and conduct of the study is appropriate, rigorous and well reported. If a paper goes for peer review we then choose experts in the field and invite them to review the paper. And then we choose some more. And a few more. And … Well, you get the picture. Suffice to say that finding willing, available and appropriate peer reviewers can take a little time.

Once the reviews arrive they are scored (for timeliness and utility), and a decision is made on the next steps for the paper, and communicated to authors and reviewers. This can involve additional editorial comments, often gleaned from the initial feedback of the screening editors before peer review. Then the fun bit, publishing an article that ‘hits the spot’, where the authors are delighted with the publication, reviewers recognise great work, and readers want to use the research to improve palliative care.

Might you want to join our team? We have two vacancies now for screening editors, to work with the team primarily on determining which papers will go for external review, and in selecting reviewers. Screening editors also contribute to the strategic direction of the journal, write editorials, curate content and act as ambassadors for the journal.

If you want to know more then take a look here and either have a chat with me or submit your application by the 15thJuly.


  • Find out more and apply to become a screening editor here.
  • Contact Catherine Walshe by email.
  • Palliative Medicine.
  • Palliative Medicine’s Paper of the Year 2017, ‘Sympathy, empathy and compassion: A grounded theory study of palliative care patients’ understandings, experiences and preferences’ by Shane Sinclair et al., (Vol 3, issue 5, May 2017) is available to download from the journal website.
  • Read the latest blog posts from authors of Palliative Medicine Editor’s Choice articles on the EAPC Blog.
This entry was posted in EAPC-LINKED JOURNALS, Palliative Medicine: Editor's Choice and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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