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Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Health Perspectives

This position is located in the Office of the Deputy Director, Environmental Health Perspectives Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).  The goal of the Environmental Health Perspectives Branch is to disseminate scientific information in a timely fashion to those who work in environmental health sciences around the world.  This goal is consistent with Goal 6 of the NIEHS Strategic Plan to advance translation and dissemination of scientific knowledge on the role of the environment and human health. The Branch publishes the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), which consists of news and research related to the effects of the environment on human health. The office accomplishes the timely publication of EHP by soliciting, reviewing, assessing, editing, rewriting, designing, formatting, copy editing, and proofreading all written materials submitted to the office and working with an on-site contractor for web development, graphic design, printing, and publishing articles on-line.

EHP is international in scope, interest, and audience, publishing the best in environmental health science research. Research articles are peer-reviewed, aiming for promoting high scientific standards in the field and covering a wide spectrum of the environmental health sciences. EHP serves as a focal point for information concerning the latest issues in environmental health and serves as a forum for diverse perspectives of science, government, industry, private, and public interest groups on important and emerging issues of environmental health. The journal publishes cutting-edge research articles; news on emerging topcis; editorials and correspondence; and highlights of innovative tools and techniques being used in environemntal health research. EHP is an open- access journal published online only.

The incumbent serves as Editor-in-Chief of EHP.  The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for establishing and monitoring the scientific quality and editorial content of the journal.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Editorial Content (85%)

The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for ensuring that high quality papers are published by the journal. The Editor-in-Chief oversees the peer-review process of papers submitted to the journal to ensure a timely and efficient review. The Editor-in-Chief ensures that all authors are treated fairly during the review process. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for promoting high scientific standards of papers by conducting a final review before being sent to production.  The Editor-in-Chief oversees the Board of Associate Editors, who is responsible for conducting the peer-review of manuscripts submitted to the journal. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for identifying and recruiting widely recognized scientists to serve as members of the Board of Associate Editors. The Editor-in-Chief communicates on a routine basis with the Board of Associate Editors through face-to-face meetings or teleconferences. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for identifying members of the Editorial Review Board who serve as a pool or subject-matter experts to review papers on behalf of the journal.  The Editorial Review Board is evaluated by the Editor-in-Chief on an annual basis to determine active participation of the Board members and to identify new members with expertise in emerging areas of environmental health science. The Editor-in-Chief meets regularly with an Advisory Board to discuss current performance of the journal and strategic planning. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for promoting high scientific standards for the peer-review of papers and providing feedback to reviewers and Associate Editors about performance on those standards.

The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the management of the journal in the area of environmental health sciences.  The Editor-in-Chief offers guidance to the editorial staff of EHP concerning scientific content in research and news articles. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for writing or soliciting others to write editorials or editorial notes on a variety of topics. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for responding to letters to the editor. In order to serve in this capacity, the Editor-in-Chief maintains up-to-date scientific knowledge of work occurring in the field of environmental health and is familiar with current trends across a broad range of environmental health science, for example, toxicology, epidemiology, genetics, exposure science, and risk assessment. The Editor-in-Chief reviews up-to-date news content prepared for publication in EHP.  The news section may include investigative journalism pieces of varying lengths; information on policy, legislative, and regulatory actions; and explanation of innovative technological and conceptual research advances.

The Editor-in-Chief reports to the Deputy Director NIEHS and is responsible for ensuring that journal operations are consistent with policies and practices established by NIEHS and NIH with regard to publishing a scientific journal. The Editor-in-Chief serves as the final arbiter for all policies and procedures regarding program operations and is responsible for establishing and maintaining the budget. As program priorities change, the Editor -in-Chief is ultimately responsible for restructuring and/or reorganizing operations and will oversee the Operations Manager as necessary to achieve program-wide objectives.  The incumbent oversees the Operations Manager to ensure that changes required to streamline journal editorial operations are put into place.  As time and staff restrictions dictate, the incumbent decides which activities should be curtailed or expanded and provides the guidance required to carry these decisions through to completion. The incumbent is responsible for providing metrics to Leadership concerning the performance of the journal at least on a monthly basis.

The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for ensuring high visibility of the journal in the area of environmental health sciences and takes active measures to stay current in the science represented by the journal.  The Editor-in-Chief attends, participates, or leads meetings, seminars, or workshops that are relevant to the science associated with publishing environmental health research. The incumbent represents the journal at various meetings and workshops related to the dissemination of environmental health science information and may serve as a consultant on matters involving the management of scientific publications, including scientific writing.  The incumbent keeps abreast of latest developments in the science of environmental health, particularly with respect to advances that will impact EHP. The Editor-in-Chief provides oversight of partnerships with other environmentally oriented journals and is responsible for developing editorials on topics of interest to the general area of environmental health sciences.

Supervision of Staff (15%)

The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the daily activities of a staff of federal staff members, including an Operations Manager, News Manager, International Program Manager, and Biological Science Editor.  The incumbent supervises other employees who are also supervisors. The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for performance management of the employees. This involves reviewing the performance of staff on a regular basis.  The Editor-in-Chief ensures that promotions and awards are timely and equitable and identifies problem areas that may require remedial action.

FACTORS

Factor 1 Knowledge Required by the Position

The incumbent must have knowledge of the principles, practices, and theories applicable to environmental health-related science. The incumbent is expected to have extensive and broad scientific knowledge with doctoral and postdoctoral training preferably in the biological sciences area. Training in another scientific discipline, such as physics or chemistry, is also acceptable, although the incumbent would need substantial direct experience in a biological field and be recognized as an international authority in the field of environmental health science.  The incumbent needs the necessary prior research experience to enable them to communicate intelligently with other scientists, respond appropriately to scientific inquiries, assess the scientific merit of journal submissions, and offer advice and guidance to journal staff, Associate Editors, and Editorial Review Board of EHP.

The knowledge required by this position is applicable to a wide range of duties involving scientific research; oral and written communications principals, practices and techniques; analytical skills and interpersonal relations. The incumbent must have demonstrated the ability to think and communicate strategically and must have a demonstrated record of leadership.

Evidence of scientific achievement through extensive peer-reviewed publications and recognition as an international scientific authority is important to uphold the credibility of the editorial process.  Evidence of the ability to communicate orally and in writing on scientific topics in the area of environmental health sciences is crucial.  Experience in editing manuscripts and serving as an editor for a peer-reviewed scientific journal in the area of environmental health sciences is important.  Working knowledge of the various steps of the peer review process and the use of online manuscript submission and tracking systems is important.  Awareness of the various steps involved in the production of an online scientific journal is a key element and will be helpful in overseeing the activities of the Operations Manager.

The work demands a knowledge of editing principles, concepts, and techniques and a thorough and current understanding of manuscript management, editorial office organization, publication procedures, expertise in scientific and technical writing and editing techniques, and experience in journal management.  Working experience with an online manuscript submission and tracking system is required.  Experience with emerging information technologies such as social media is important.

The incumbent must possess the ability to direct the work of others. Requires a working knowledge of performance management, including developing position descriptions, developing performance-based plans, conducting annual performance reviews, giving awards, and supervising employees on a daily basis.  The position requires a working knowledge of the basic regulatory and policy guidance on the various leave programs available to employees, dealing with employees in a diverse workforce, and an understanding of labor relations.

This position requires that the incumbent has an appreciation for process management, statistical process control, and can use these concepts to monitor throughput, quality (e.g. impact factor, timeliness, rejection rate), and cost of the journal, as well as to use these concepts in overseeing the Operations manager.

Factor 2 Supervisory Controls

This individual works under the general administrative supervision of the Deputy Director, NIEHS, and serves as a major source of expert advice on scientific peer-reviewed publications. Guidelines consist of those that establish overall policies and objectives. After the mission or function has been broadly defined, duties are carried out independently with a high degree of initiative and with minimum supervision other than the assignment of specific projects and general guidelines as to the best approach for completing the project.

The results of the work are considered technically authoritative and are normally accepted without significant change.  Work is reviewed for such matters as fulfillment of objectives or effect on the overall project.  Recommendations for new projects and alteration of objectives are usually evaluated for such considerations as availability of resources, broad goals, or national priorities.

Factor 3 Guidelines

Guidelines are generally provided in the form of general agency policy, legislation, broadly stated technical objectives, or comparable guidance requiring extensive interpretation and definition.  This position requires a high level of technical and scientific expertise, initiative, ingenuity, innovative thinking, and sound judgment in devising new approaches and techniques in resolving daily problems.  This employee interprets this guidance in relation to needs, isolates areas appropriate to further study, and devises and plans projects to define objectives.  Judgment is required in developing ways to obtain data on, and evaluate the significance of technical advances in the field of environmental health.  This is complicated by the reality of a monthly publishing schedule, which requires these decisions and judgments to be made under the pressure of deadlines.

Factor 4 Complexity

The work involves an in-depth analysis and understanding of environmental health science research and scientific publishing, each of which are evolving at a rapid pace.  In developing and publishing a monthly scientific journal that contains manuscripts and news of environmental health science, the fields of scientific research, information handling, manuscript review, and online publishing must be integrated under the pressure of deadline.  Some projects are performed primarily as exploratory studies to define issues and problem areas where useful precedents do not exist, and establishment of new concepts and approaches is required. The difficulty of the work is such that extensive coordination and support of other experts, both within and outside the organization, is needed.

Factor 5 Scope and Effect

The work of developing and publishing a monthly online journal structured to provide a forum for the examination, discussion, and dissemination of information relating to advances and issues in the environmental health sciences is vital to the mission of NIEHS and will help promote the leadership role of the NIEHS in the field of environmental health sciences.  The journal publishes information that involves issues of national and international significance.  For example, the journal selects news and other articles to be translated and published in the bimonthly issue of the EHP Chinese Edition. Selected news articles are also translated into Spanish and Portuguese and published by other journals. The policy of the journal is coordinated with the policies of the Institute so that controversial issues may be presented fairly, accurately, and completely.

Factor 6 Personal Contacts

This position requires extensive contact and interaction with groups and individuals of all levels and types, including prominent leaders from the international scientific research communities.  The ability to establish and maintain good working relationships with international scientists and to serve as NIEHS EHP spokesperson on committees and at professional meetings is essential.  This employee will establish similar contacts with industry and groups outside the government such as representatives of the major environmental health action groups.  A high degree of competence, tact, and diplomacy is critical to this position.

Factor 7 Purpose of Contacts

The employee uses these contacts inside and outside the agency and his/her considerable competence and experience to support management; to compare the organization of other similar groups, looking for improvements; to examine issues of supervision; to coordinate activities of EHP; to investigate news stories before they are published; and to establish feedback loops that promote and enhance good public relations with the scientific community.  All these contacts are to initiate, develop, and maintain mechanisms that evaluate the effectiveness of the formats, scope, quality and overall utility of all of the EHP publications.

Factor 8 Physical Demands

No special physical demands such as above-average physical ability or strength are required to do this work.

Factor 9  Work Environment

Work is conducted in a professional office environment, although travel may be required in order to conduct the business of the journal. 

Supervisory Factor Level Descriptions

Factor 1 – Program Scope and Effect

The incumbent serves as Editor-in-Chief of EHP and is responsible for the management of journal publication, including editorial content, overall operations, and supervision of the staff. This position requires a unique combination of scientific, technical, managerial, and administrative skills.  The purpose of the work is to develop and publish a monthly online journal structured to provide a forum for the examination, discussion, and dissemination of information relating to advances and issues in the environmental health sciences. It is the incumbent’s responsibility to establish the content and focus of EHP and to disseminate scientificinformation to the environmental health science community worldwide. The journal is viewed nationally and internationally.

Effect:  The work of this position is vital to the mission of NIEHS and will help promote the leadership role of the NIEHS in the field of environmental health sciences.  The journal publishes information that involves issues of national and international significance.  For example, the journal selects news and other articles to be translated and published in the bimonthly issue of the Chinese Edition. Selected news articles are also translated into Spanish and Portuguese and published by other journals. The policy of the journal is coordinated with the policies of the Institute so that controversial issues may be presented fairly, accurately, and completely. The incumbent’s efforts directly affect the work of a large number of scientists and others in the environmental health science community by publishing state-of-the-art environmental health research and improving the well-being of large populations.

Factor 2 – Organizational Setting

The position is accountable to a position that is SES level, flag or general officer military rank, or equivalent or higher level; or to a position that directs a substantial GS/GM-15 or equivalent subordinate supervisors, officers, contractors, or others.  This individual works under the general administrative supervision of the Deputy Director, NIEHS, which is a SES equivalent position.

Factor 3 – Supervisory and Managerial Authority Exercised

The incumbent has full supervisory and managerial authority to direct the day-to-day operations of the personnel in his/her area and to develop and implement long-term plans.  The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the daily activities of a staff of approximately 4 persons who provide oversight of program operations, manage an international program, manage the news section of the journal, and serve as science advisor. The incumbent supervises other employees who are also supervisors. S/he has responsibility to plan the work to be accomplished by the subordinates, set and adjust short-term priorities and prepare work schedules for completion of work; assign work to subordinates; evaluate work performance; give advice, counsel and instruction to employees supervised on work and administrative matters; interview candidates for positions, recommend appointments, promotions and reassignments; hear and resolve complaints from employees; effect disciplinary measures such as warnings and reprimands and identify developmental and training needs.

Factor 4 – Personal Contacts

This position requires extensive contact and interaction with groups and individuals of all levels and types, including prominent leaders from the international scientific research communities.  The ability to establish and maintain good working relationships with international scientists and to serve as NIEHS EHP spokesperson on committees and at professional meetings is essential. This employee will establish similar contacts with industry and groups outside the government such as representatives of the major environmental health action groups.  A high degree of competence, tact, and diplomacy is critical to this position. All these contacts are to initiate, develop, and maintain mechanisms that evaluate the effectiveness of the formats, scope, quality and overall utility of all of the EHP publications.

The employee uses these contacts inside and outside the agency and his/her considerable competence and experience to support management; to compare the organization of other similar groups, looking for improvements; to examine issues of supervision; to coordinate activities of EHP; to investigate news stories before they are published; and to establish feedback loops which promote and enhance good public relations with the scientific community.  All these contacts are to initiate, develop, and maintain mechanisms that evaluate the effectiveness of the formats, scope, quality and overall utility of all of the EHP publications.

Factor 5 – Difficulty of Typical Work Directed

The position is a first level supervisor.  The highest grade level which best characterizes the nature of the basic non-supervisory work performed and constitutes 25 percent of the workload of the organization is at the GS-15 level. The incumbent will supervise 1 GS-14 Operations Manager, 1 GS-13 Editor (News Manger), 1 GS-12 Technical Editor (International Program Manager), and 1 GS-14 (Biological Science Editor).

Factor 6 – Other Conditions

The Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the daily activities of a staff of approximately 3 persons who provide oversight of program operations, manage an international program, and manage the news section of the journal. The incumbent supervises other employees who are also supervisors. The Editor-in-Chief directly oversees the federal editorial staff engaged in the preparation of manuscripts for publishing in EHP.  Staff activities include the copy-editing of manuscripts; examination of galley proofs; page proof and bluelines; and laying out and desktop publishing of articles.  Efficient procedures are monitored and revised through regular meetings with various teams involved in the publication of the journal. As program priorities change, the Editor-in-Chief works with the Operations Manager to restructure and/or reorganize operations as required to achieve program-wide objectives and ensures that the editorial operations of EHP are efficiently integrated so that the journal is published in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible. As time and staff restrictions dictate, the Editor-in-Chief decides which activities should be curtailed or expanded and provides the guidance to the Operations Manager required to carry these decisions through to completion.  The incumbent serves as the final arbiter for all policies and procedures not resolved by the staff based on existing guidelines.