Prospective Staff

Looking for a way to give back through science education, all while furthering your professional development as a scientist?

Since JEI was founded in 2011, we have published over 800 articles with the help of hundreds of volunteer reviewers and editors! Volunteering with JEI is a great way to give back to the future generation of scientists while honing your own reviewing and writing skills. It also provides great insight into how the backend of publishing works and what editors and reviewers might see when you submit your own work for publication - see our previously published case study for more information! 

In order to keep providing the publishing experience for our middle and high school authors, we rely entirely on the efforts of our volunteers. We are always looking for motivated and passionate volunteers to serve as volunteers with JEI. We have volunteers from across the US and several that are located internationally. More information on eligibility, the application and onboarding process, and each position is found below.

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Eligibility to Volunteer with JEI
JEI volunteers are primarily PhD students and post-doctoral fellows; however, individuals in Master’s, MD, OD, etc. programs are welcome to apply.

Individuals without an advanced degree are eligible to apply if they have  relevant experience. If you are unsure if you meet the eligibility criteria to volunteer with JEI, please contact us at apply(at) with your question (and CV/resume if you do not have an advanced degree).

Fill out a JEI staff application here!

More information about our positions is below:

Application and Onboarding Process
To apply to volunteer within the editorial branch of JEI, you simply need to fill out this application. Applications are accepted year round.
(Applicants from Univ. of Virginia may need to use a non-UVA network if you are experiencing difficulties accessing the form.)

Once you fill out the application, you will receive an email containing links to all of our training quizzes along with access information to our editorial branch handbooks/resources. You must take and pass (>80%) the quiz for the editor position you want and/or reviewer role. These onboarding quizzes are meant to orient you to the JEI review process and how to navigate Editorial Manager - we do not expect perfection when you first start and you will be provided feedback during your first couple of assignments as you learn your role(s).

After you pass the required training quizzes, you will have an Editorial Manager account made for you with the appropriate roles added to it. You will receive an automated email with your username and a link to set your password. Once you get this email you are eligible to start receiving assignments.

Note: Sometimes it may take us up to a week after you pass your quiz to register you on Editorial Manager.

Editorial Branch Positions
The following roles are available to new volunteers within the Editorial Branch of JEI. You may start off in one of the entry level editor positions below and/or as a Reviewer. Many of our volunteers serve as both Reviewers and Editors, but this is not a requirement! Information on the JEI Review Process, including the involvement of each role listed below can be found here (link to the Review Timeline page/part of the Review Process page)

As you continue to volunteer with JEI you are eligible to move up within the Editorial Branch and more information on these more senior positions is found in our handbooks.

The time commitment for each role varies somewhat as noted in each position description below. However, we want to emphasize that assignments for all editorial positions are sent out as invitations that you can accept or decline. All editorial positions also have the ability to set Unavailable Dates, which indicate to other editors that you are unavailable during stretches when you are, for example, on vacation, traveling for a conference, or preparing to defend your thesis. 

Reviewers at JEI are key to our scientific review process and provide the foundation for our student authors to really learn about formal written science communication. As a Reviewer you will:
  • Provide scientific and presentation feedback to student authors
    • Your feedback will related to items such as the proper framing of their experimental question, presentation of results and data figures, appropriate data interpretation, and final conclusions from their work.
    • The novelty, overall contribution to a field of science, etc. are not areas JEI is concerned with for our student manuscripts
  • Ensure that your comments are positive, encouraging, and educational for our student authors.
    • Our student authors often cite detailed comments they receive from Reviewers as the most valuable and educational experience they have with JEI. 
  • Complete your review within 2 weeks of accepting the assignment
    • Depending on your area of expertise, you may get anywhere from 2-8 invitations to review manuscripts per year. For example, we get a high number of submissions on computer science topics relative to the number of JEI staff with expertise in that field, so reviewers with CS expertise generally get more invitations than reviewers with only biology expertise.

Associate Editors (AEs)
AEs are responsible for overseeing Reviewers and the Scientific Review phase of the Editorial Process:
  • You will recruit four Reviewers from the JEI volunteer pool with relevant expertise to the manuscript assigned
  • After reviews are completed, you will compile all reviews into a cohesive Editor’s Letter, which provides authors with the list of required and recommended changes for their manuscript
    • You will ensure that all reviews are positive and encouraging in tone, easy to understand, account for potential limitations in author resources to do experiments, and indicate the why behind requested changes
  • Typically you will spend 30-45 minutes inviting Reviewers to a manuscript, and then you will spend 1-2 hours compiling your Editor’s letter once all reviews are submitted
    • Reviewers have 2 weeks to complete their reviews after accepting and you have 2 weeks after all reviews are completed to submit your Editor’s letter.
    • In total, the Scientific Review process should be completed within 6 weeks.
    • You are expected to complete 4 assignments annually
  • When authors submit their revised manuscript, you will review it for completeness in addressing all comments provided in the Editor’s Letter
    • We typically do not send manuscripts out for a full second round of scientific review - this is covered more in the training material

Copy Editors (CEs)
CEs are responsible for assessing the grammar, writing style, and formatting of a manuscript before it reaches publication to ensure that it meets general standards of scientific writing. Copy Editors work as a team so that each manuscript receives 3 total rounds of edits sequentially, from 2 Copy Editors and 1 from the assigned Head Copy Editor. As a Copy Editor, you will:
  • Make line edits using Tracked Changes in Word and add comments to address shortcomings in students’ writing. Key things we help students with at the copy editing stage include:
    • Structure of each manuscript section
    • Use of “we”, active voice, and past tense to describe what the authors did
    • Proper use of acronyms and abbreviations
    • Passive referencing of figures, tables, and statistics
    • Formatting and content of figure/table captions
  • Suggest changes to improve clarity
    • Note that we aim to preserve the students’ voice as much as possible, so we try to keep this restrained and focus on conciseness and keeping with standards of scientific writing.
  • Write a Copy Editor’s letter using an email template explaining in broad terms the recommended changes
  • Provide words of encouragement to the student authors either in comments on the manuscript document or in the Editor’s Letter
  • Work on at least 6 manuscripts per year, each with a 1-week turnaround time
    • The time commitment for each assignment varies depending on the state of the manuscript, whether you are asked to serve as the first or second Copy Editor, and your comfort level and experience with the copy editing process. A reasonable expectation would be to spend 1-2 hours per assignment.

Proofing Editors (PEs)
PEs are responsible for making the final typeset version of JEI manuscripts and publishing them on our website. PEs get to help our student authors see their hard work presented in a professional manner to the public - our authors indicate that this is the most exciting part of the process for them! The responsibilities of PEs include:
  • Using InDesign to create the final layout of the manuscript including placing the text, figures and tables with their respective captions
    • While previous InDesign experience is nice, it is not required to be a PE
      • JEI will also provide you with InDesign access if you do not have it through your institution
    • It can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to make the initial proof
      • Manuscripts with more figures will take longer to place everything
      • Mathematical equations or special symbols in text will also slow down the proofing process
  • Sending the proof of the final layout to authors for approval through Editorial Manager
  • Once author approval or edits have been received:
    • Make any final changes to the manuscript and finalize the PDF
    • Post the PDF and associated information to the JEI website and inform senior leadership a manuscript has been published
    • This should take you 30-45 minutes to complete
  • You are expected to work on at least 6 manuscripts annually
    • You have 2 weeks to make the initial layout (proof) of the manuscript and then 2 weeks to edit and finalize it once comments from authors have been received

Note: Once a PE applicant has passed their onboarding quiz, their information will be sent to the Head PE and/or the Editors in Chief. They will work with new PEs to go over how to use InDesign and assign a practice manuscript before adding them to the PE rotation in Editorial Manager.