By Sarah Mudrak, American Journal Experts (AJE) Product Manager
Last month, a few of my AJE colleagues and I attended a conference in Florianópolis, Brazil, run by ABEC, the Associação Brasileira de Editores Científicos. The XV Encontro Nacional de Editores Científicos was a great chance to catch up on scientific publishing in Brazil, which is producing a growing number of research papers and journals despite recent economic hardships. We also were able to connect with a number of AJE customers and AJE/Research Square partners. I also had the pleasure of presenting two talks on publishing: “The Past, Present, and Future of Scholarly Publishing” and “English Editing”, which I hope were helpful for the attendees. Here are a few highlights of the talks I attended while in Florianópolis:
Promotion of journal content with press releases and social media: Thomas Gerber of the Mayo Clinic (and Editor of Mayo Clinic Proceedings) discussed how journals approach social media and press releases for their articles. The decision of whether to promote an article depends, of course, on its potential interest to a more general audience, and he enlists a public affairs specialist to help choose. He also described the efforts to share content on social media. Video content is great, but viewers are only interested in 3 or 4 minutes at a time (an observation we agree with). Overall, though, it’s hard to measure the success of social media sharing, even though everyone at the journal believes it’s important for improving visibility of the journal.
Transparency in Scientific Research and Reporting: Patricia Baskin, President-Elect of the Council of Science Editors, discussed some efforts to ensure reproducibility of research results, including new policies from the US National Institutes of Health and the Research Councils UK. In general, researchers have to take steps themselves, but there’s plenty of support from groups like the EQUATOR Network and the Center for Open Science (see their Transparency and Openness Promotion guidelines). As we are well aware, authorship is also an area that requires careful decision making and transparency. The ICMJE and WAME both feature helpful notes on the criteria for who should make the author list.
The role of an editor in the publication process: Sam Kacew, a professor at the University of Ottawa and the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, provided some insight into what journal editors want in a manuscript submission. He stressed the importance of following author guidelines to speed the process along, but he also said that he would personally edit manuscripts that he felt strongly should be published. We are grateful for editors like Dr. Kacew who ensure that language issues don’t stand in the way of sharing good research.
Trends in social sciences: Much is discussed about science at conferences like these (especially because of the focus on science editors), but social science fields are definitely alive and growing, according to Bill Tucker, the Editorial Director of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Springer Science & Business Media. Bill described how the Impact Factor can be problematic in a field where books are very popular forms of publication, and many journals publish a very limited number of articles. He also stressed the importance of “findability” for research articles — that is, finding the best keywords for your research to make it identifiable in journals and by search engines.
Altogether, the conference was a great experience, and we look forward to returning next year for more great discussions and new connections!
Sarah Mudrak is Product Manager for Research Square’s American Journal Experts (AJE) brand. She coordinates the development of services and features related to AJE’s editing, translation, and figure formatting services. Sarah has a PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University and a BSc in Biology from Emory University.