Fast horses

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Science  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1497
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag3351

Those who know me well appreciate my passion for fast horses—those with spirit and stamina, as well as speed. And thus I devote my final words as editor-in-chief of the Science journals to the incredible team of thoroughbreds who accomplished more in a short time than I ever thought was possible. The changes that have come to the publishing enterprise at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publisher of Science journals) have touched all facets of what we do and how we deliver it to our readers.


“…be sure to let those fast horses run.”

In the past 3 years, Science has doubled the size of its portfolio from three to six journals. Science Advances, our first foray into open-access publishing, is already into its second year and reaching a broad audience with premier content. Science Immunology will publish its first issue next month, and Science Robotics is open for submissions. I am grateful to two Chief Executive Officers (Alan Leshner and now Rush Holt), two past Publishers and one current one (Beth Rosner, Kent Anderson, and now Bill Moran), and the AAAS Board of Directors for supporting these new projects. The success of these ventures would not have been possible, however, without the dedication of the Science editors, who worked overtime to set up the processes and procedures for the new journals, helped select the new staff, and recruited quality content for these publications.

Next, kudos to Rob Covey, Chief Digital Media Officer, and the digital media team for the redesign of the print journal (a blazing sprint!) and launching a more responsive web version of Science journals (more an endurance trial than a derby). Rob's team populated the new design with beautiful covers, photos, and videos. They have demonstrated that multimedia can drive traffic to articles and communicate the research story in new, compelling ways.

Finally, all of us at Science have been on a crusade for the past 3 years to raise the standards for transparency and reproducibility in research, publishing a series of editorials, policy pieces, and research articles on this topic. Our special partners have been the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Center for Open Science, and many top publishers and funding agencies. The American Statistical Association helped us create a special Statistical Board of Reviewing Editors (S-BoRE) that is now being expanded to serve all Science journals. We recently announced our implementation of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines, effective 1 January 2017. Our terrific News team at Science, led by Tim Appenzeller, has worked to ferret out and bring to light questionable practices in scientific publishing, such as paper brokers selling authorships, institutions offering bounties for publishing in high-impact journals, and publishers forgoing promised peer-review services. Our new product, PRE (Peer Review Evaluation), gives readers greater insight into the peer-review process for each article published.

After such a wild ride, it was with some trepidation that I awaited the outcome of the search for my successor as editor-in-chief of the Science journals. The new journals still need a champion. The quest to improve the transparency and reproducibility of research and to remove any bias in access to scientific resources continues. Would the new editor care about these matters as much as I have?

I am most pleased to say that the search committee, led by former AAAS Board chair Gerry Fink, has chosen very wisely. Professor Jeremy Berg is a superb pick to take the reins of the Science journals. He is highly respected and thoughtful, cares about what is important, commands an exceptionally broad view of science, and is a very quick study.


Hear the interview with Marcia at http://bit.ly/6293_pod

So hold on and enjoy the ride, Jeremy. And be sure to let those fast horses run.

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