Solution Corner

Looking to Our Community for Solutions

It happened in May 2003. I was attending a publishing conference in Minneapolis in my capacity as director of publications for the American Meteorological Society. Sometime during the second or third day of the conference, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I was no longer a meteorologist who happened to be in publishing. I was a publishing executive who also happened to be a meteorologist. At first glance, that seems like such a small, almost subtle, recognition. But it represented a huge shift for me, and the most important thing about it was that after the epiphany I saw that I really liked the shift. It opened a whole new world to me. There were other people at the conference with whom I shared a title, but the societies they worked for, and the fields they worked in, were very different. At the same time, many of their responsibilities and challenges were similar to mine. That is a recipe for broadening one’s perspective in a hurry!

What has happened in the 8 years since Minneapolis, which includes becoming heavily involved with CSE, has only reinforced my interest in and passion for the world of scientific publishing. There may be some fields that are changing as rapidly as ours, but few if any are changing faster. First, it was the advent of online content, then the transition from an all-paper to an all-electronic environment, sophisticated manuscript-tracking products, an explosion of graphic capability, open access, the proliferation of social media, and on and on. No matter the specifics of our particular affiliations or our jobs, all of us in the CSE family share the challenges of maintaining excellence while trying to keep pace with the wave of changes and opportunities that are now a baseline rather than an exception. There are bumps in the road and problems to deal with at every turn. But there are always solutions. And sometimes we need to confer with our colleagues outside our organizations to arrive at solutions that we can take back to our workplace to implement.

As with so many other things in life, reaching out is the key. That’s why I am excited about starting another year as editor of “Solution Corner”. If you are faced with a tough question or dilemma or simply want to pick the brains of your CSE comrades, please submit a question or concern to this column at The ones that we feel will resonate with a critical mass of Science Editor readers will be published in this space with answers or suggestions from scientific-editing professionals. Also, please send an e-mail to the same address if you would be willing to be among the cadre of professionals whom we can tap to provide responses in this column; be sure to include the subjects of your expertise. In summary, to benefit as many people as possible, this column needs your input. Who knows, you may receive the solution you’ve been looking for (or have it for someone else)!

KEN HEIDEMAN ( is president-elect of CSE and director of publications at the American Meteorological Society.