August 2009

From the President

If your July-August 2009 issue of Science Editor is still making its way to your In tray or mailbox, you can view the online version at /i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3307. Highlights of this issue include abstracts from the annual-meeting poster session, an article on editing for the organization Doctors Without Borders/Médicins Sans Frontières, and an interview with the author of the new book The Subversive Copy Editor.

The Board of Directors continues to evaluate new ways to communicate with you, our members. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to contact me at dLang@press.uchicago.edu. I look forward to hearing from you!

Diane Lang, President, CSE

Difficult Letters to Write

How do you tell an author that he or she is suspected of theft…politely? How do you respond when a researcher writes to complaining that a colleague left the researcher’s name off the author list of a recent article just for spite?

As an editor, you’re no doubt called on fairly often to write letters or e-mails that require a thorough understanding of publishing ethics, exquisite diplomacy, and a fair amount of courage. Fortunately, though, you may no longer have to start such letters from scratch. The CSE Editorial Policy Committee has begun assembling a collection of model letters for difficult situations. You can see the beginnings of the collection online at /i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3335. If any of the letters there can be of help to you, feel free to use them.

As you’ll see, though, the collection is still small; it covers only a few of the many troublesome situations that can demand your response. We need more letters – and you may already have written one that would be a good addition to the collection. If you would be willing to share an “anonymized” version of a letter you think might help a colleague, we would very much appreciate having it for potential inclusion in the collection. It could be a letter to an author, a reviewer, an institution, or another entity, as long as it was tricky to write and deals with a situation you would expect other editors to face. Please e-mail your letters to me at CSE@councilscienceeditors.org. The committee will be happy to add selected letters to the online collection.

Even if you don’t have a letter written, we’d appreciate your suggestion of letters the committee might draft. With everyone contributing, the next time one of your reviewers is accused of purloining content from a manuscript he reviewed, who knows? Maybe we’ll have just the letter you need.

Bob Edsall, Chair, Editorial Policy Committee

Only a Few Openings Left

In case you missed the last update, the theme of the upcoming meeting in Atlanta is “The Changing Climate of Scientific Publishing: The Heat Is On.” The heat is on metaphorically in terms of staying ahead of the curve as our jobs and the ways we do business evolve at warp speed. And the heat is on literally as the Earth warms up around us. The Program Committee is also heating up; we have just a few slots left to fill, and we’d love to have you join us and help shape this exciting program. Please contact me at kheideman@ametsoc.org as soon as possible to reserve your spot on the team! Session themes and individual topics are beginning to take form, and those we are considering include launching new journals, best hiring practices-working with international staffs, bully bosses, accommodations for young children in the workplace, journal collaborations, ethics in scientific publishing, English “polishing” services, social networking and scientific societies, and too many more to print here. Join us!

Ken Heideman, Co-Chair, Program Committee