American Archivist Editorial Board

I. Purpose

The Editorial Board advises and assists the Editor of American Archivist in the editorial review and production of the journal and in establishing and implementing editorial policies and procedures for peer review of submitted manuscripts.

The Editorial Board also assists with the evaluation of the Journal Editor as requested by the Council.

II. Board Size, Length of Terms, and Selection

The Editorial Board consists of the Editor, who serves as chair of the board, the Reviews Editor, and twelve individual board members.

The Editor is appointed by the Council. The Editor's term is three years and customarily begins on or about January 1; however, the exact date on which the individual selected assumes the responsibilities of editorship is negotiated by the individual and the Executive Director. An incumbent Editor may be re-appointed for one additional term as Editor. An individual may not serve more than two consecutive terms, but may apply for the position at a later time.

The Reviews Editor is appointed for a three-year term by the Editor. The Reviews Editor may serve no more than two consecutive terms.  The Reviews Editor is selected based on demonstrated excellent writing and editorial skills and knowledge of current research and writing in the archives field.

The twelve individuals comprising the board are appointed for four-year terms that are staggered so that one-fourth are appointed each year. At least one member of the Editorial Board shall be an international representative (that is, an individual who lives and works outside of the United States). Board members are nominated by the Editor and appointed by the SAA Vice President based on the list of nominees.  In the event that the Vice President is unable to appoint a person nominated by the Editor, the Vice President asks the Editor to nominate another person for appointment.  Individuals serving on the Editorial Board are selected because of their knowledge of archival theory, methodology, and practice; expertise in research strategies and methodologies; and experience in archival research and publication.

The Editorial Board also reflects a diversity of archival institutions and functional expertise and the demographic and geographic breadth of the profession.  An individual may serve no more than two consecutive terms on the board.

The chair of the Publications Board serves as an ex officio member of the Editorial Board.

III. Duties and Responsibilities

A. The Editor

The Editor coordinates Editorial Board activities. To maintain the editorial independence of the journal as a peer-refereed professional journal, the Editor manages the manuscript review process and makes final decisions for publication. The Editor is responsible for the solicitation, selection, peer review, and final approval of articles, features, and photographs. He or she works with authors and prospective authors on necessary revisions, reviews page proofs before publication, and works closely with the Reviews Editor, a copyeditor, an indexer, and the SAA staff, who handle journal production and business matters.

The Editor uses the Editorial Board listserv as the principal means of communication with the Editorial Board about editorial activities, including, but not limited to, statistical summary of submissions and decisions about submissions, negotiations for special issues, special achievements, problems and needs, and suggestions for Editorial Board policies.

The Editor also serves as an ex officio member of the Publications Board.

B. Reviews Editor

The Reviews Editor works in conjunction with the Editor to commission review essays; selects books and exhibits (print and online) to review; assembles, maintains, and refreshes a stable of reviewers; assigns items to be reviewed and oversees the reviews process; and edits copy for the reviews section in each issue of the journal.

C. Individual Board Members

Individual Editorial Board members assist the Editor in developing and implementing editorial policies and procedures, encouraging submissions and soliciting manuscripts to be considered for publication in American Archivist, promoting content from current and recent issues, recommending other manuscript reviewers, reviewing manuscript submissions for possible publication in the journal, and contributing as needed with reviews of professional literature and resources.

Individual board members also assist with the review of the Editor’s performance and may assist in the search for a new Editor.

D. SAA Office

The SAA office coordinates production aspects of the journal and handles business matters, including:

  • Physical and digital production;
  • Content licensing;
  • Coordination of cover art;
  • Advertising sales;
  • Subscriptions and claims;
  • Providing reports to assist the Editorial Board in accomplishing its goals;
  • Coordinating communication with and among Editorial Board members and with SAA members at large;
  • Ensuring the production and distribution of Editorial Board meeting minutes; and
  • Negotiating contracts with vendors.

IV. Meetings

The Editorial Board meets at least annually during SAA’s Annual Meeting.

The SAA Executive Director, Director of Publishing, and Editorial and Production Coordinator customarily participate in all meetings of the Editorial Board.

V. Budget

The Council, as part of its budget process, approves the budget (prepared by the SAA office) for American Archivist.

VI. Reporting and Editor Performance Evaluation Procedures

The Editor reports to the Council. The Editor submits a report three times a year in advance of each Council meeting. The report includes a summary of the Editor’s activities, the production of the journal, issues and concerns, and any changes to editorial policies and procedures.

The following procedures apply to the annual performance evaluation of the Editor, which isbased on performance criteria, goals and objectives, and a formal review process. The purpose of this process is to form a basis for considering renewal of the Editor’s contract, to provide feedback to the Editor, to discuss issues of common concern, and to recognize achievements. The Executive Director establishes a schedule for this evaluation process based on a timetable for renegotiation of the contract with the Editor.

The Executive Director shares with the Editor the statement of criteria for performance evaluation, stipulating elements considered appropriate and relevant for evaluating the Editor's performance on an annual basis. This statement must be reviewed and approved by the Council.

The Executive Director solicits written and/or oral comments on the Editor’s performance from the Editorial Board, Council liaison, various SAA staff, three authors who have recently published in the journal, an author in the process of publishing in the journal, and any others who are in a position to provide useful perspectives. Also to be considered are comments received from SAA members or any other information that the Council deems appropriate.  The Editor also completes a self-evaluation.

The Executive Director compiles all feedback received and disseminates this information to the Editor and the Council. The Council reviews the feedback regarding the Editor's performance and takes appropriate action. If feasible, the Council conducts a conference call with the Editor; otherwise, the Council conveys conclusions to the Executive Director to share directly with the Editor.

In years in which the incumbent Editor is eligible for reappointment, the Executive Director contacts the incumbent Editor to determine if he or she is interested in serving a second term. If the Editor expresses such an interest, the matter is referred to the Council for evaluation. The Council makes a recommendation regarding reappointment of the Editor or directs the Executive Director to implement a search for a new Editor as outlined in VII. Editor Search Process.

VII. Editor Search Process

In years in which the incumbent Editor is ineligible for reappointment, is not offered reappointment, or chooses not to serve a second term, the Council and staff work together to conduct a search for a new Editor.

A. Qualifications of Editor

The Editor of American Archivist possesses the following qualifications:

  • Leadership skills that allow them to present a vision of the journal that places it at the center of the profession's intellectual dialog.
  • Ability to develop and nurture relationships with authors, both established and newly emerging, to encourage them to explore interesting questions and submit material to the journal.
  • Ability to nurture interesting but not completely satisfactory submissions to successful publication.
  • Ability and willingness to pay special attention to the need to develop ideas in newly emerging areas of the profession, to support the thoughtful re-examination of past professional insights, and to address issues of particular relevance to historically under-represented populations.
  • Excellent personal communication and writing skills, including the ability to edit scholarly material, the ability to communicate successfully with those who make submissions, and the ability to report to those in the Society with oversight responsibility for the journal.
  • Sufficient financial skill to manage the journal within the established budget.
  • Sufficient time-management skills to complete tasks in an acceptable manner and to publish the journal at appropriate and regular intervals as established within the annual budget work plan.

B. Search Committee

In January of the year prior to the expiration of the incumbent Editor's term of office, the Executive Director:

  • Forms a search committee consisting of the President, the Council liaison to the Editorial Board, the chair of the Publications Board, a member of the Editorial Board, the Executive Director, and the Director of Publishing.
  • Consults with the search committee regarding appropriate text for a call for applicants. The deadline for initial applications is no later than May 15.
  • Prepares advertising for the position in all available and appropriate SAA communication outlets.
  • Consults with the search committee to identify other venues for promoting the position and/or identifying prospective candidates who might be encouraged to apply for the position.

The search committee reviews the applications, interviews candidates, and makes a recommendation to the Council on the selection of an Editor. (Should the search committee believe that there are no qualified candidates, or that additional qualified candidates are desirable, the committee is empowered to solicit additional nominations to supplement those already received.)

The Council, with due consideration of the selection committee's recommendation, makes the final decision.


Approved by the Council: February 5, 2005.
Revised: May 2014; June 2019.