What do an actor who has to ride a horse, a first-time parent and a just appointed editorial team member have in common? While at first glance, it would seem like not much (except maybe a reliance on luck and a lack of sleep?), as we worked with several editorial teams on a research project looking at how editors make sense of theoretical contribution we realized that they have one very important commonality – they are novice experts. Novice experts are individuals expected to make expert judgments (on contribution) without the necessary experience or knowledge to qualify as experts. The actor is expected to ride a horse as comfortably as would the character being played, the new parent expected to know instantly how to keep a baby alive and thriving, and the new editorial team member expected to make reject or revise-and-resubmit decisions on manuscripts from day one.