The Secret Diary of an Academic Journal Editor – Part 1
It’s an interesting fact that, although writing for work every day and editing papers all the time, when faced with a blog post about myself, I was initially a bit stumped! What can I say about my work as an editor? Surely it’s obvious – but then maybe not – maybe it’s actually quite complicated, and what people want to know is how the process of getting paper published actually works.
My name is Lucy Waldron, and I have been involved with scientific papers for many years – my own included as well as reviewing papers for journals involved in animal nutrition. A few years ago I was approached to become an editor of a scientific journal, as the previous editor was retiring and my name had been put forward by an old friend and colleague of mine. Following a year of my assisting the outgoing editor with the papers, I then took over full time, and haven’t looked back. So here’s my take on editing scientific work.
There are as many types and styles of journals as there are disciplines that they serve. Some have more impact on science than others, some are very specific and complex and other are more simple and accessible. My two journals are the World’s Poultry Science Journal (WPSJ) and the new Journal of Applied Animal Nutrition (JAAN). Whilst both are dealing with similar topics – animal science, both journals have their own character and style of information transfer. WPSJ is a very old established journal, with records of published papers going back into the 1920s. As such, its archive is fascinating to read, as poultry rearing has changed so much over time. WPSJ has a very strong link with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), and publishes a lot of papers on the importance of poultry in developing countries. This is a cause which is close to my heart, as for many poorer families, rearing poultry provides them with eggs and meat which has a major impact on the growth and development of their children, as well as health and correct nutrition for themselves. Most children in poor countries lack enough protein in their diet, which severely limits them in many ways, and rearing a few backyard birds can make all the difference, including, if successful enough, selling eggs and birds to provide a much-needed income for e.g. schooling.
My other journal is quite different in its form. It was created in response to the need for a journal that was sensitive to commercial based research and publishes original research, pilot studies and holoanalyses (combined data reports). It has only been going since Easter 2012, but we already have 21 papers in hand – and more to come, which is excellent!
So that’s all for the first post – next I shall be talking about what makes an editor and the ins and outs of dealing with papers, reviewers and authors. Thanks for reading!