Annual Meeting Report

Scientific Editor Transitions

MODERATOR: Mary Warner Senior Director of Periodicals, American Pharmacists Association Washington, DC SPEAKERS: Jean Mattes Managing Editor Journal of Graduate Medical Education Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Chicago, Illinois Kimberly Retzlaff Senior Editorial Manager American Water Works Association Denver, Colorado Randy Townsend Senior Journal Program Manager American Geophysical Union Washington, DC REPORTER: Mary Warner Transitioning scientific journal editors can be challenging, especially when the new editors were not previously involved in managing peer review. This session provided case studies and practical tips from three editorial managers with experience in multiple editor transitions. The differing models for structuring the editorial team—including contract editors with fixed terms, contract editors with no term limits, and in-house editors on the staff of the publisher’s organization—were addressed by the speakers. Jean Mattes began by describing the current situation at the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, a common one among scientific journals: a “baby boomer” Editor in Chief (EIC) approaching a decade in the role, an annual contract with no end date, no term limits, and no formal succession plan. Because editor searches can be time-consuming and costly with no guarantee of success, Mattes and the team at JGME will soon be implementing a comprehensive transition/succession plan (4 to 5 years ahead of the anticipated transition). Steps include defining a term limit early in the process, establishing oversight within the publishers’ organization, establishing editor performance expectations, and developing a formal plan that details how the candidates will be chosen and by whom (the oversight body, […]

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