Monday, 9 March 2015

The Political Quarterly seeks new co-editor

The Political Quarterly is seeking a new co-editor to work with Deborah Mabbett and to replace Tony Wright, who has been editor for twenty years.

We are looking for an editor who complements Deborah Mabbett’s interests in political economy, welfare state reform and regulation. We are particularly interested in applicants with expertise in political institutions, British parliamentary politics and political ideas. She / he must be committed to the ideals and aims of the journal as set out below.


The deadline is 1 May 2015. Applicants should supply a CV and a letter of application that explains what substantive contribution of interests and expertise they can offer PQ and sets out their views about the directions they would like PQ to take in terms of content, relationship to other journals, impact and relationships to academic publishing.

Applicants should contact Emma Anderson both for further information about the journal and to set up discussion with the editors or board members.

Editor Role Description

The Political Quarterly was founded in 1930 and has a distinct mission – to bridge the academic world and the world of public policy. It is not run as an academic journal, and the first requirement of an editor is the ability to understand and continue the PQ tradition. There is no system of academic refereeing for PQ, because it is not intended as an academic journal in that sense. This gives the editors greater freedom, but also greater responsibility. The main criterion for selecting articles is that they should have something to say about issues of political importance, and are able to say it in plain English without jargon.

The main tasks of the Editor include:

1. Assessing articles that are submitted for publication. There is a steady stream of articles that are submitted to the journal. Some of these are inappropriate for PQ and are best directed elsewhere, others need suggestions for editing and improvement before they are ready for publication. There are a number of people who write regularly for the Journal, although there is no obligation for the Editors to accept whatever they submit. All articles submitted are read by both editors, and both must agree before an article is accepted for publication.
2. Commissioning articles for publication. This is probably the most important part of the editorial role. The Editor has to be prepared to use his or her networks and contacts and those of Editorial Board members to commission articles on subjects that have topical political interest, as well as those judged to have lasting significance. Particularly valuable are speeches delivered by politicians and other public figures, for which after some light editing PQ is often a natural home. The Editors can also decide to have themed issues, a number of articles on a connected theme which make up part of one issue.
3. Commissioning special issues. There is one special issue every year, and the task of the Editors with the assistance of the Board is to identify firstly a topic and secondly an editor or editors for that issue.
4. Liaising with the Chair of the Editorial Board over the general running of the journal and the approval of expenditure.
5. Liaising with the Editorial Board. The Editors have a great deal of discretion, but they are appointed by the Editorial Board and are accountable to it. They give oral reports to the Editorial Board at its AGM.
6. Liaising with Co-Editors. The tradition of PQ is for there to be two Editors, who must both agree before an article can be accepted for publication. There is also a Literary Editor, two Reports and Surveys Editors who commission book reviews and reports for the Journal, and an Events Editor. Together with the Assistant Editors these form the Editorial team which meets regularly to plan issues.
7. Liaising with the Assistant Editors. Establishing effective ways of working and quick response times are vital to the smooth running of the journal.
8. Attendance at PQ meetings. These include meetings of the Editorial Board, normally two a year, and meetings of the editorial team, up to four a year.
9. Helping to select the winner of the prize for the best PQ article.
10. Promoting wider PQ activities and marketing. This involves attending PQ sponsored events – seminars, workshops, conferences, as well as the annual Orwell Prize, for which PQ is one of the major sponsors, and at which the best PQ article prize is announced. Having an awareness of marketing opportunities and liaison with the editorial office and Wiley.

Terms of office

Editors receive an honorarium and provision is made for their expenses to be covered. The appointment is initially for five years and subject to the approval of the Political Quarterly Board. The workload depends on the individual, but should be around 20 to 25 days per year. The honorarium can be adjusted to compensate more days, but it is expected that the new Co-Editor will have paid employment that is compatible with the position.