Luckily so far I have not had to deal with one, but it has been on my mind a lot lately given some pretty signficant delays I have encountered at a variety of journals for my own research. 60 plus days from reviews being submitted to editor decision, 75 days for an editor decision on a final round (no this is not PO’B at CAR – she was in a whole other category entitled 100’s of days) etc.
So what is a Senior Editor/Editor-in-chief to do when someone you trusted enough to ask to be your Editor turns out to be afraid of making decisions (or moves too slow or is too lazy or is overcommited). Indeed, I have heard of journals where one of the co-editors-in-chief could not make a decision!!! So what do you do?
First, you continue to love and respect them. You admired them when you asked them to be an Editor with you and that has not changed. Try always to remember that when you are pulling your hair out, blaming them for your hair turning grey or for falling out!!!
Second, you “remove” them from the job. After several assignments (after all who is not a bit slow the first time they edit a paper) and a clear performance improvement chat that included blunt talk about service standards, they should not be assigned more papers. Why? Because it is like looking for the lost contact where the light is good rather than where the contact was lost!!! or It is like pressing the same set of buttons on a remote control hoping that a different response will come from the devise!! or Attempting the same computer command time after time expecting it to work different! NOT GONNA HAPPEN – guaranteed!!!! This should be obvious by the end of the first year of a three year term so do it now!!!!@
So what does “remove” mean? Maybe they are still a great reviewer – so assign them reviews to do! Maybe they can organize conferences well – well assign them conference tasks! But what it does mean is that you as the Senior Editor/EIC have to get a new person to edit that type of manuscript. Yep, it is a hazzle and yep it comes just as you are getting really busy at the start of your second year – but consider the alternative – two more years of reminding, nagging, apologizing for the editor, etc etc etc. Talk about losing a friend! Better to bite the bullet (no idea why that phrase is used but it means “do it now”) than carry on.