Taking a Leap
One of the most daunting tasks for a journal is starting a new initiative when you’re not sure of the path forward. The task may be important, even essential, but if it’s new territory for the journal, it’s not uncommon to have doubts about its success.
But what appears to be untrodden territory is usually not. May is the traditional start of Hollywood blockbuster season, and since I haven’t been able to assemble myself to see what is likely one of the biggest movies of all time, I’m going to illustrate this by referencing a movie that came out 30 years ago this month: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. During the climax, our hero, Henry Jones Jr (“Indiana was the dog’s name”), must complete three tests of faith in order to retrieve the fabled holy grail. One test involves taking a “leap of faith” to cross what appears to be a bottomless ravine. With no other options, Indy takes a step forward and (spoiler!) instead of falling to his doom, his foot rests down on a stone bridge that appears invisible because the rocks match the pattern from the opposite wall. He then crosses, grabs a handful of sand, and throws it over the stone bridge, revealing the path for others to follow.
For journals, there are Indy’s out there, taking the leap and then stopping to show others the way forward, and I want Science Editor to be a platform for these adventurers.
Take open peer review. If you’ve discussed publishing peer review reports or reviewer names at an editorial meeting, you’ve probably encountered (or had) questions ranging from “will authors and reviewers revolt?” to “where do we even begin?” Well, in their recent Science Editor article, Opening Up Peer-Review Policies, Jessica Polka, Tony Ross-Hellauer, and Gary McDowell answer some of these questions, provide links to guidelines, and discuss the new crowdsourced TRANSPOSE database designed to collect journal policies, particularly around open peer review. With your help, their goal is to develop a robust resource not only for authors, but also journals to be able to see what others are doing so you can reach out to them for guidance and suggestions as needed.
Likewise, the journal impact factor (JIF) is increasingly seen as an imperfect metric of journal quality and research assessment, and a number of journals and organizations have signed onto the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), signaling their intention to help improve how scientific research is evaluated. But what exactly can journals and publishers do? Anna Hatch and Mark Patterson help answer that question in their recent article How Journals and Publishers Can Help to Reform Research Assessment. The authors highlight some “practical steps that publishers can take in support of more effective research assessment” including highlighting article-level metrics, supporting open and robust data, improving article metadata, advocating for systemic change, and ensuring their staff and volunteers reflect the diversity of the scientific community. They provide a helpful Call to Action listing 10 specific steps any journal can take to serve “scholarship more effectively.”
I’d also like to plug the Science Editor Symposium at the CSE Annual Meeting on Monday, May 6 (4-5pm) on the topic of Reproducibility & Reporting Guidelines. I’ll be moderating a panel of some of the adventurers leading the charge for improving rigor and reproducibility guidelines, focusing on specific examples and steps you too can take at your journals and organizations.
So next time you’re ready to take a leap, look around, as the way forward may already be clear. And if it isn’t, be sure to take a moment to show others the way.
Editor-in-Chief, Science Editor
ANNOUNCEMENT: Call for Meeting Reporters
We’re still looking to fill a few meeting reporter spots for the upcoming CSE Annual Meeting. If are you looking to get the most out of the meeting, while contributing to CSE and Science Editor at the same time, please consider serving as an Annual Meeting Session reporter. If so, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Science Editor Editorial Board
Hey you! Yeah, you. Are you interested in scientific editing and publishing? Do you stay on top of new developments and initiatives? Looking for a place to discuss these with your fellow professionals, while contributing to CSE and helping to shape the editorial direction of Science Editor at the same time? Of course, you are! Then you should consider joining our Editorial Board. If you’re in Columbus, stop by our in-person Editorial Board Meeting, Sunday May 5, at 3:30pm (Room: Morrow-2nd Floor); if you can’t make it, send us an email to email@example.com
Hot Articles from Recent Issues (For CSE Members Only)
As a CSE member benefit, once Science Editor articles are moved to an issue, they are available only to CSE Members for one year.
If there is a session title at the annual meeting that embodies one of the goals of CSE, I think it’s “Learning from One Another: Editors-in-Chief, Researchers, and Publishers“. This report by Kristin Inman from last year’s annual meeting takes a helpful Q&A format to provide info designed to “bridge the gap between editors, researchers, and production staff, and to share knowledge regarding each stage of the publishing process.”
Not a CSE member? Additional membership info along with instructions for becoming a member of the Council of Science Editors can be found here.
Resource of the Month
I’ve never been a fan of having my picture taken, but it’s practically impossible to be a professional these days and not have a headshot to use on social media, webpages, conference programs, and more. So, if you don’t have one already (or yours looks a little out of date), I recommend scheduling one at the Annual Meeting (you can add this to your registration now or visit the registration desk onsite). If you’re curious about the process, a few years back, we published a profile of the headshot photographers from that meeting: On Location, It’s a Take!
On the Road
One of the perks of traveling to conferences is getting to visit cities I might not otherwise get a chance to experience. I have never been to Columbus, Ohio, and I may never have another reason to go, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it has to offer in between taking in great sessions at the CSE Annual Meeting next week. I’m interested in checking out the historic North Market, and possibly the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at OSU, which has an exhibit called Drawing Blood: Comics and Medicine. These and other options are available on CSE’s Experience Columbus page. See you there!
Feedback and suggestions are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also always looking for new submissions or article suggestions you may have; for more details, see our Information for Authors.