March 2009 Newsletter:

An interview with the new Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology

For the first time since its inception in 1989, the Editorial office for the Journal of Neuroendocrinology has been moved outside of the United Kingdom. To provide some insight into what this means for the journal, here is a brief interview with the new Editor-in-Chief, Professor Dave Grattan from the Centre for Neuroendocrinology at the University of Otago in New Zealand:

What is the significance of the Editorial Office being moved to New Zealand?
I'd like to think that this change is not considered to be too radical. The journal continues to be owned by the BSN, who will maintain the financial management and control. Both myself, and the new Otago-based senior editors, Allan Herbison and Colin Brown, have long-standing connections with the BSN, and have every intention to see it maintain its position as the official journal of that society. What is highlighted by the location of the new editorial office, however, is that our journal is a truly global one, representing the entire international neuroendocrinology community.

Do you plan to make major changes to the journal?
A few minor changes have already been made, but I suspect that most of you won't have noticed any difference! For the most part, it has been 'business as usual'. Our intention is to continue the excellent work of previous Editors, and assist in the publication of high quality papers in the field of neuroendocrinology. We have made some subtle changes to the editorial process, to try to speed up processing of manuscripts and facilitate high quality peer review, and are beginning to make some changes to the Editorial board.

What is happening to the Editorial Board?
In my opinion, the board has been too static, and under utilised when it comes to day to day activity of the journal. I intend to introduce limited terms for editorial board members, so that there will be a regular turnover of editorial board membership. I hope to actively utilise the editorial board in the review process, such that all papers will be reviewed by at least one member of the editorial board. By rotating membership of the Editorial Board, we will hopefully minimise the workload on individual members, and also regularly introduce new blood into the Editorial pool.

So what now happens when a paper is submitted to the journal?
The process is not much different from before, except that there is a more formal role for the Editorial Board. Each paper will be assigned to the Senior Editor with the most appropriate expertise. That Editor will select three independent referees, at least one of whom will be a member of the Editorial Board. The goal is to ensure constructive, well-informed and timely reviews. The review process will be rigorous, but we are still a small enough journal that it does not need to become too impersonal. We will aim to provide you with clear guidelines about what is expected from your manuscript. The quality of the journal depends on your submissions. We will work hard to support you, to ensure excellent papers are published in a reasonable period of time.

Any major new initiatives?
There are a few things in the pipeline. One I'm excited about is an attempt to address some of the major controversies in the field, but getting together key scientists to discuss points of difference. I'm also looking to put together some longer, more comprehensive reviews than has been typical in the past. I think these authoritative reviews could provide a real resource for the neuroendocrinology community. Together with Wiley-Blackwells, we are also developing 'virtual issues' of the journal, in which selected papers will be repackaged around specific themes and marketed online.

What are you overall goals for the journal?
A major aim for my tenure is to improve the impact factor of the journal, and confirm the place of the journal as the premier specialist journal in the field. I would like neuro-endocrinologists to consider us the first port of call for their manuscripts. As well as publishing excellent original papers and topical reviews, I am very keen to see the journal publicise itself by supporting scientific meetings and appropriate neuroendocrinology prizes. With the support of the BSN, I'd like to see significant parts of the income earned by the journal returned into the neuroendocrinology field, by providing such support. BSN support for meetings could often be provided under the name of the journal. I think the return on such investment will be an improved stream of high quality submissions, and an improved overall journal output (and sustained income from the journal).

Any other comments?
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Julia Buckingham and her team at Imperial College for the fine work they have done in looking after the journal over the last 5 years. And I'd like to encourage BSN members to continue supporting the journal. Your submissions are highly valued, and are necessary for the continued success of the journal. I am more than happy to receive comments and suggestions, if you have ideas that might improve the journal.

 

 

David Grattan

Dave Grattan ( dave.grattan@anatomy.otago.ac.nz ) Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Neuroendocrinology