About six weeks ago I agreed to become an Associate Editor of a society journal. I'll admit that I was a little nervous to take on the role and waited for the papers to be assigned. I got two last week and logged into the system to figure out what to do. Having worked with the online submission tools in the past for this journal, I knew it wouldn't be straight forward. I learned a couple of things right away:
I now get a lot of email from myself. It's strange, but the automated system seems to really like to keep me in the loop about what I am doing.
Journals keep data on how slacktastic a reviewer you are! I don't know why this has never occurred to me, but if you have reviewed for a journal an AE can pull up your stats, including how long your reviews take. I can look up all the relevant reviewers for a paper and then decide if I want to tangle with a reviewer who takes 6 weeks to get reviews back. Also note that taking a long time to get reviews back is a very efficient way to not get more reviews from that same journal in the future.
The AEs have more autonomy than I thought. At least at my journal, the AEs are allowed to make their own calls and the editors are there for support and questions. I wasn't sure what the dynamic there was prior to joining the ranks.
I'm sure there will be more things I don't expect, but so far I'm learning a lot. Should be interesting experience.