In September 2011, the Council of Science Editors (CSE) membership was surveyed by the CSE Web Committee about the use of and satisfaction with its Web site. It became clear from the responses that to serve its community best CSE needed to redesign the site. After much deliberation, the Board of Directors decided not only to give the Web site a new modern look but to consider how CSE presents itself to members, potential members, and the larger scientific and publishing community. During summer 2013, the Board appointed the Marketing Task Force in response to a recognized need for tactical engagement in member recruitment and retention, branding, and visibility of CSE and of scientific editing in general. The Marketing Task Force was charged with the following responsibilities: to develop a strategy for coordinated marketing of all CSE activities, products, and services; to support the University of Chicago Press in the launch of the revised CSE style guide, Scientific Style and Format, 8th Edition (SSF8); to develop a new CSE logo; and to assist the Web Committee in designing a new CSE Web site. By February 2014, the task force was decommissioned (3 months early) because it had successfully completed all its charges! The following is a report of the results.
A New Marketing Committee
In reaction to the daunting task of developing a strategy for marketing all CSE activities, products, and services, the Marketing Task Force decided to form a new permanent Marketing Committee that would take on this effort. The committee was established in February 2014 and is cochaired by Byron Laws and Jennifer Deyton. They enlisted 13 volunteers to serve with them. Oversight of the Social Media Subcommittee has been moved from the Membership Committee to the Marketing Committee.
The official launch of SSF8 coincided with the CSE 2014 annual meeting in San Antonio. Lindsey Buscher worked tirelessly with the University of Chicago Press to get the new style guide to press in time for the launch, and her and her team’s efforts are much appreciated. Initial marketing ideas are in place, and promotion of SSF8 will be the responsibility of the new Marketing Committee.
New CSE Logo
In 1979, Bernard Forscher, the editor of what was then called CBE Views, described the new Council of Biology Editors logo as “a pen in a flask in a circle. It says that the written word (the pen) has a central place in science (the flask) and that CBE encompasses (the circle) all aspects of the function of the pen in science. Having a logo says we are claiming identification as a distinct entity, that CBE is” (Forscher B. 1978;1(1):2). That statement was a guiding principle as the CSE Marketing Task Force worked with Windmill Design (www.windmilldesign.com) to come up with a new CSE logo that is both respectful of the past and appealing to modern sensibilities. The new logo design, debuted in this issue of Science Editor, quickly rose to the top of the heap as we evaluated seven logo ideas. One looked like an element on the periodic table, another resembled a cartoon dialogue bubble, and a few had abstract symbols that could be interpreted in various scientific ways. Considering that the old logo served CSE well for over 35 years, the new cleaner, simpler flask and pen design stood out as the obvious choice. The Marketing Task Force recommended it to the CSE Board of Directors, which approved the new design unanimously. The logo has two versions, one with the words “Council of Science Editors” in a circle around the flask and pen (Figures 1 and 2), and another in which “Council of Science Editors” sits beside the flask and pen. Either can be used as the official logo. Two versions were approved to allow flexibility in how the logo is used on paper and online. Will this logo serve CSE for another 35 years? Perhaps!
New CSE Web Site
Technology is an essential component of scientific publishing and communication, shaping both the presentation and the processing of content at an ever-increasing clip. Much has changed from the early days of the Council of Biology Editors, when mimeographed newsletters were sent through the mail. At the turn of the century, CSE’s current name was adopted after a “fax-back” poll, and the primary goal of the redesign of the Web site was to create a vibrant and engaging site that would present CSE as the modern, cutting-edge organization it is.
With that in mind, we set out to redesign the Web site with these objectives: modernize the look and feel of the site; improve navigation and content organization; develop responsive, mobile-friendly versions of the site; and update content as needed to ensure its usefulness to CSE members. We wanted a clean, dynamic site that features key content and aligns with CSE’s mission: “to serve editorial professionals in the sciences by creating a supportive network for career development, providing educational opportunities, and developing resources for identifying and implementing high-quality editorial practices”.
The Web Committee worked closely with the Marketing Task Force to set out goals and a timeline for refreshing the public face of CSE. Two members of the Web Committee, Amanda Ferguson (Chair) and Jonathan Schultz (Vice Chair), managed the project, working with the other committee chairs to review content on the existing site and with Windmill Design on site concepts, architecture, and development. The CSE Board reviewed and advised on major milestones from start to finish, and Resource Center staff were instrumental in planning and execution of the project.
Through autumn and winter 2013, each CSE committee thoroughly reviewed site content related to their committee charges, refreshing text and developing new content where necessary. Meanwhile, the Web Committee reviewed and updated all remaining pages and worked closely with Windmill on site concepts and architecture. The committee also researched and prepared search-engine optimization documents to ensure discoverability of the site and its content. Informed by the primary desktop site, responsive designs were created for tablet and smartphone platforms, so you can now easily read CSE’s “White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications” or news about upcoming events on your smartphone.
The new site’s home page (Figure 3) is organized to highlight the most popular content and give members quick and easy access to all areas of the site. There’s some great new content that is worth checking out, such as a page of Retraction Resources put together by the Editorial Policy Committee, guidelines for research projects for the Publication Management Certificate Program, and an expanded history of CSE. The Web Committee encourages you to visit the new site at www.councilscienceeditors.org and tell us what you think by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage and appreciate any and all comments that will help to keep the new CSE Web site a prime destination and resource for the scientific-publishing community for years to come.
With a new Marketing Committee, a new style guide, a new logo, and a new Web site, the Council of Science Editors embarks on a new era with an updated look and feel and with the ability to reach out more effectively to members and prospective members. We thank all the CSE volunteers who spent countless hours reviewing, editing, organizing, and writing. At first, the tasks seemed amorphous and impossible to complete on time—but they were all completed on time and on budget! We also thank Windmill Design for being a great partner and the Resource Center Associations, now the Kellen Company, for its support.