Inside the PLOS ONE Academic Editor studio, part 1.

How did you end up being an Academic Editor at PLOS ONE?

Well, I was asked, then pondered on it for a day, and said yes. Quite simple, actually. And apparently, this is how it is usually done: another editor recommends you, you get an invitation from the journal office, submit your CV for perusal, and then you’re either in or out.

That’s all good, but why did you choose to become and editor?

I am an editor for two smaller societal journals, one aimed for amateur ornithologists and one on infection ecology and epidemiology, so I knew what was expected of me. However, the main reasons were academic solidarity and promotion open access publishing. That may sounds a bit presumptuous and aloft, but I think it is important to see science as something that is different from other lines of business. In my case, I have published >100 papers. If we assume that 1-6 reviewers have read each paper, depending on whether they were accepted in the first journal or passed on to other journals, this means several hundred peers have been evaluating my work. That is quite a work load, done by unpaid peers – and without that commitment science wouldn’t work. I have always tried to do as many referee assignments as possible, but now I am in a position to also contribute to the editor role more widely.

I heard the word ‘open access’ there, is that an important concept for you?

Yes, it is. Good science should be accessible for everyone, especially when based on taxpayers’ money. However, open access is not a religion, and I think it is important that we acknowledge that there are pros and cons with this way of publishing, including the balance on how much auxiliary data that need to go with a publication, for instance. In any case, the plus side is way larger than the down side, and I sincerely believe that open access journals are the future of scholarly publishing.

Why PLOS ONE, and not any of the other journals out there?

Well, PLOS ONE was first to ask, he he he. But flattery aside, I also have a very good publishing history with the journal, and its sister journals. My first paper in PLOS ONE was published in 2007, back when it was a very new journal. In fact, we hadn’t really figured out how the journal worked, and thought it was the most selected of the PLOS’ journals. That paper on avian malaria speciation was first submitted to Science, where it was out on review, but rejected in the second round. Anyway, it found a good home in PLOS ONE and has to date been viewed more than 7000 times and cited 44 times. I am pleased.

After that I have submitted many articles to PLOS ONE, sometimes as the first choice, sometimes after being turned down in general societal journals. My experience has been very positive, and we have nearly always got constructive critique from reviewers. What I really, really like is that the articles are accessible directly after publication, and that figures and other materials can be shared – for instance, on our blog. Collectively, this has made me very positive to the journal, and I am happy to now serve as an Academic Editor.

Thank you very much, Jonas. I think we need to stop here for a commercial break, but when we return I would like to ask you more of what you do as an editor, and what authors that submit articles should think about.

You’re welcome. I’d love to chat about that.

TO BE CONTINUED… (at a later date)


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