November 2008

Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,

Welcome to the first President’s Update. As president, I have the privilege to work with the Council of Science Editors’ dedicated Board, Committee Chairs, and volunteers, who are actively engaged in shaping CSE’s future. This monthly e-message is one way we hope to keep you informed about the activities of your organization. However, this does not need to be a one-way communication. Have some ideas or thoughts you want to share? Please write to me at

Here’s what’s happening:

CSE’s Strategic Planning Meeting Points us in New and Vibrant Directions

Last month the CSE Board of Directors met for a day of strategic discussions facilitated by Christina Greathouse and Lisa Nabors of Strategic Performance Group. However, the work really began prior to the meeting with the surveys that many of you completed that gave us your opinions about CSE and your thoughts about how the organization could better meet your needs. Others also participated by conference calls in focus groups. Board members completed worksheets and questionnaires. After all this preliminary work was collected and analyzed, Board members met in person to synthesize your responses in order to plan for the future. Some of the outcomes from the meeting include a new vision, mission, and slogan, as given below. Now that the CSE Board and Committee Chairs have defined our goals and identified new initiatives, the Board and Committee chairs will prioritize them and formulate steps to put them in place. Your ideas continue to be welcome, so please send them to me. Stay tuned for more information to follow in the next few months.

CSE Vision Statement

CSE is a dynamic community of editorial professionals dedicated to the responsible and effective communication of science.

CSE Mission Statement

CSE’s mission is to serve editorial professionals in the sciences by creating a supportive network for career development, providing educational opportunities, and developing resources for identifying and implementing high-quality editorial practices.

CSE Slogan

CSE: Education, Ethics, and Evidence for Editors (E4)

CSE’s Annual Meeting Program Will Focus on Timely Topics, Presented by Spectacular Speakers

Plan your travel now for the CSE Annual Meeting on May 1-5, 2009, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The meeting will focus not only on how to improve and advance our skills as editors, but also how to examine the evidence base behind what we do.

  • Elizabeth Loftus, author of Eyewitness Testimony and co-author of The Myth of Repressed Memory, will give the Keynote Address, “What’s the Matter with Memory?” No stranger to controversy, she is an expert on the psychology of memory, false memory, and eyewitness testimony. Dr. Loftus is a distinguished professor at the University of California, Irvine, and holds positions in the Departments of Psychology and Social Behavior, and Criminology, Law and Society.
  • Marc Abrahams, editor and co-founder of the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, will give a Plenary Address on the role of humor, whether intentional or not, in scientific communication. Abrahams is the father of the IgNobel Prize, designed to recognize scientific research articles that have a humorous or unexpected aspect.
  • Luis von Ahn, professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, will give a Plenary Address on human computation. Dr. von Ahn is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and was named one of Popular Science magazine’s most “Brilliant 10” scientists of 2006. His research interests include encouraging people to do work for free, as well as catching and thwarting cheaters in online environments.And, for the first time, the CSE meeting will feature stimulating research on editing and publishing given in both poster and in podium presentation format. The popular interactive ethics roundtable will present the latest thorny cases for discussion and debate, and new sessions will focus on what the evidence shows about editorial decision-making, peer review, and open access. The 2009 meeting features a diversity of speakers and topics and promises to enlighten and inform. View the early version of the preliminary program at /i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3322.

CSE’s Editorial Policy Committee Saves you Time With Sample Letters

The Editorial Policy Committee has started posting a series of sample letters for editors. Eight are currently posted and more are on the way. These letters will soon link to related sections in CSE’s White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications. If you have sample letters that you would like to share with your colleagues, contact CSE at Put into the subject line “CSE EPC sample letters”, and describe your attached letter in the body of the email. View the letters at /i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3335.

Science Editor Shows That Editors do More Than Edit

Science editors are musicians, artists, poets, gardeners, collectors, and more . Over the years, the “Other Than Editing” section of Science Editor (/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3307) has profiled editors with a variety of outside interests. Do you have a science editor to suggest profiling? If so, please contact Barbara Gastel (editor, Science Editor) at Ideas for articles elsewhere in Science Editor also are welcome at any time.

African Journals Partnership Project Continues With CSE’s Support

CSE signed an agreement to continue its collaboration with the National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) in support of the African Journals Partnership Project (AJPP). The purpose of the AJPP is to strengthen sub-Saharan African medical research, including the reporting and dissemination of this research in scientific publications. Much progress was made during the pilot project in 2004-2007. During the upcoming years, additional gains are expected, and two more African journals will be added to the project, along with western partners. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences will be partnered with the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Medical Journal of Zambia will be partnered with the New England Journal of Medicine. The AJPP is funded by the National Library of Medicine and is administered by CSE.

AuthorAid Needs Your Help

Barbara Gastel is assisting with AuthorAID (, a program to help researchers in developing countries write about and publish their work. We’re seeking editors willing to provide, on a volunteer basis, feedback on researchers’ manuscripts. Normally we’d call on each volunteer for no more than one or two manuscripts per year. If you might like to volunteer, please write to Thanks very much!

CSE has a healthy membership of more than 1,000 editors. Many thanks to all of you for your participation in CSE. I welcome your comments and feedback at any time, and look forward to your continuing enthusiasm and engagement.