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Society Operating Guidelines

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Our Society Operating Guidelines describe in detail the manner in which American Society of Safety Professionals is structured and governed. They are intended to accompany and be consistent with ASSP bylaws.

Section 9.4: Editorial Review Board Operating Procedures

I. Roles and Accountability

The Editorial Review Board helps to ensure that the organization’s monthly journal, Professional Safety, provides high-quality, technically accurate content that advances the practice of occupational safety and health (OSH) by keeping the OSH community informed of developments in the practice and application of industry best practices. These guidelines are a reference and working tool for both the Editorial Review Board (ERB) and editorial staff.

II. Committee Membership

  • Committee members are appointed by the vice president, professional development, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. The committee shall not exceed eight members.
  • Terms of each member shall be three years and members may not be reappointed.
  • The chair shall be designated by the vice president, professional development.  The term of the chair is one year, renewable for a maximum of 3 consecutive years. 
  • The vice president, professional development shall be a nonvoting ex-officio member.
  • An ERB member may, regardless of their unexpired term, be removed by the chair with concurrence of the vice president, professional development, and/or by the vice president, professional development for failure to return evaluations, reply to correspondence or attend the majority of meetings. The vice president, professional development, shall appoint a replacement for this member.

III. Board Operations

A. Meetings   

  • Method: The committee will primarily meet by teleconference/webinar.
  • Schedule: The schedule of meetings shall be drawn up by the committee chair and agreed to by the committee members.
  • Quorum: A quorum exists when at least one-half of the members of the committee are present at a meeting, one of whom must be the committee chair. If a quorum is present, a majority vote of members present shall be decisive when a vote it taken.  
  • Committee Business: The committee may transact official business at meetings, conference calls and by electronic ballots.
  • Minutes: Minutes will be prepared for each committee meeting.

B. Budgeting and Finance

The committee operates within the Society budget, including travel, meeting and staff support expenses. Committees are funded through specific budget actions of the Board of Directors.

Addendum I: Specific Committee Activities 

I. General Policies

Professional Safety is a journal published to inform the professional OSH specialist community about developments in the research, technology and management of incident prevention, industry best practices, and safety management techniques and trends. All feature content is blind-peer-reviewed by the ERB. The journal’s mission is to advance the professional discourse, promote the advancement and development of OSH professionals, and disseminate the body of knowledge of the OSH profession.

Judgments made or opinions expressed in the journal’s feature articles, news sections, letters to the editor, meeting reports or related journal content do not necessarily reflect the views of ASSP, nor should they be considered an expression of official policy or endorsement by ASSP. They are published for the purpose of sharing views with, and encouraging dialogue and independent thought among, readers on areas of vital concern to the OSH profession. Official positions, opinions or statements are labeled as such.

Editorial staff schedules deadlines and conducts daily operations to ensure timely publication and delivery to the readership. Editorial staff also secures and maintains all copyrights for the journal and operation of Professional Safety and protection of its contents.

II. Manuscript Submissions

A.  Article Categories

  1. Student article. An article written and submitted for publication by a student(s) currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. To qualify as a student paper, the manuscript must meet the following criteria:
    • Author has less than three years’ practical experience working in a field related to occupational safety, health, industrial hygiene and/or environmental or related endeavor.
    • No coauthors are current university faculty members.

   2. Professional article. An article written and submitted for publication that does not meet the criteria for a student article.

  • As a guideline, an individual author or authors from the same company, university, etc., may only publish two articles per calendar year, unless otherwise approved by the ERB. Honorariums shall not be paid for any article, unless specific arrangements are made in advance based on individual circumstances (e.g., contracting with a professional writer).
  • Reader letters should address specific articles, editorials, letters, columns and news reports published in Professional Safety. Letters must appear within 6 months of the referenced publication. In addition, the editorial staff reserves the right to select which letters will appear and to edit letters for brevity and clarity.

B. Article Review Process

The ERB reviews and scores articles submitted for publication based on the criteria outlined in the online evaluation form posted on the ASSP website. This is done as a blind review—no author information is provided to the reviewers. When fewer than eight members evaluate a given article, editorial staff adjusts scores accordingly. Each ERB member scores articles on a scale of 0 to 4, and editorial staff uses the following point totals as a working guideline for determining the publication status of an article:   

  • 16 points and below is rejected;
  • 17 and above is conditional acceptance.

Regardless of status, editorial staff compiles and shares ERB comments with authors.

ERB members should return all reviews to the editorial staff within the period specified on evaluation forms. Serious delinquencies will be called to the ERB chair’s attention for follow up.

III. ASSP Professional Safety Articles of the Year and Student Paper Awards

The ERB determines ASSP’s Professional Safety Articles of the Year Award recipients based on the initial article review process. This award process is conducted so that recipients are communicated to the Council on Professional Development by March 15.

To be eligible for this award, the author and any coauthors must be ASSP members at the time of publication. The top 10% (based on evaluation point totals) of eligible articles published during the calendar year are returned to the ERB for rank ordering. Editorial staff compiles the rankings, identifies the top three articles and communicates that information to the Council on Professional Development the ERB and other constituent groups.

First-place recipient receives $500; second place $400; third place $300. Each recipient also receives a commemorative item.

The ERB may also award a Student Paper Award in partnership with the ASSP Foundation. The author of the top-rated article receives registration to the PDC and a travel stipend for the conference. Eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Students must be members of ASSP.
  • Submissions must address a topic in the occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene, environmental or related field.
  • Submissions must be written by a student or students currently enrolled at the junior/senior level in an undergraduate degree program.
  • The student(s) should have less than 3 years’ practical experience working in a field related to occupational safety, health, industrial hygiene and/or environmental or other related endeavor.
  • No faculty coauthors.

The ERB reserves the right to not present the award.


Approved By | Date: Board of Directors | 12/2019
Replaces Edition Dated: 02/2018
Next Revision Due: 12/2022