2013 Annual Meeting: A Smashing Success

Tony Alves
Tony Alves

“Communicate Science Effectively: The World Depends On It!” was the theme of the 2013 Council of Science Editors annual meeting. It was a well-demonstrated theme, thanks to all the compelling presentations and fantastic presenters! From the spectacular short courses to the fascinating plenary addresses to the thoughtful and instructive sessions, this year’s annual meeting was a smashing success.

Michael Friedman
Michael Friedman

The four 2013 CSE short courses brought together experienced veterans of the STM market and professionals new to the journal-publishing world and allowed participants to dig in for an entire day (or two) on a particular activity. The Short Course for Journal Editors included formal presentations on the fundamentals of editing, the editorial board, journal management, publishing ethics, and effective business practices. The Short Course on Publication Management addressed the wide array of challenges faced daily by managing editors and publication managers, including communication, leadership, working with publishing partners, organizing workflows, and current industry controversies. Both new and seasoned copyeditors benefited from the Short Course for Manuscript Editors, in which mechanical and substantive editing were reviewed. In addition, participants learned best practices and many helpful tips regarding Word, data and tables, working with authors, and ethical and legal issues facing manuscript editors. Finally, the Short Course on Journal Metrics explored the kinds of data available to journal managers; different ways to collect, analyze, and present data; how to detect trends and analyze changes; and the use of online data and surveys. Vital features in all the short courses were the group discussions. These dynamic and engaging exchanges provided opportunities for detailed consideration of decision making, process improvement, and collaboration with like-minded colleagues. Kudos to all the short-course coordinators and their esteemed faculties!

The Keynote Speaker, Jeffrey Drazen, editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, provided a fitting official start to the meeting by reviewing the last 200 years of scientific communication with a focus on clinical medical discovery. His entertaining and informative talk, “Two Hundred Years of Communicating the Medical News”, started with a look at the informal letter writing that took place between scientists and concluded with an examination of the modern practice of peer review.

The New York Times Dot Earth blogger Andrew Revkin, senior fellow for environmental understanding in Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, turned a critical eye on how science is communicated from the laboratory to the journal to the press and finally to the public in his plenary address on the second day. In his presentation, “The New Science Communication Climate”, Revkin pointed out problems with some of the traditional modes of scientific communication and explored the opportunities that exist in new media.

As wonderful as our plenary guest speakers were, the real heroes of the 2013 CSE annual meeting are the session speakers and the Program Committee members who helped to organize those sessions. The program had broad appeal across the CSE membership. There were forward-looking sessions on new ways of measuring journal impact, emerging standards in science publishing, and advances in publishing technology. There were sessions on communicating science through new media, such as podcasts, social media, and blogs. There were sessions on open access in the United States and abroad and on how to handle change management for communicating science effectively in a rapidly changing industry. Many sessions provided practical advice on such topics as ethics, data access and analysis, peer review, working with vendors, and managing editors and editorial staff. The quality and breadth of the sessions certainly reflected the hard work and commitment of the moderators and speakers, and this, as well as the practical information that attendees can apply going forward, is what made this year’s CSE annual meeting so special.

Thanks are overdue to our friends at the Resource Center, including Thomas Farquhar and Executive Director David Stumph, for their excellent organizational and logistical skills in pulling together our largest annual meeting in many years (and of course, the appealing location helped a bit, too).

We especially want to thank CSE Past President Ken Heideman for all his hard work and dedication to making this year’s meeting come together so well. His leadership, his creativity, and his inextinguishable enthusiasm were key to making the meeting a success. In keeping with the theme, he effectively communicated his expectations and ideas, which helped the Program Committee to stay on track and deliver a truly outstanding meeting. We have every expectation that the 2014 annual meeting in San Antonio will meet and match the superlative time that everyone had in Montreal.

TONY ALVES AND MICHAEL FRIEDMAN were 2013 Program Committee Cochairs.