Big shoes to fill
- 50 Downloads
It is with some nervousness that I take on the role of Editor in Chief of this journal. As I look at how previous editors have advanced the journal from a local scientific newsletter [1, 2, 3] to fully fledged journal [4, 5] and then to the current status of a truly international journal which receives over 90% of manuscripts from countries other than Australia and New Zealand, I understand that there are very big shoes to fill.
It is well documented that Kenneth Clarke was the editor for the first 11 volumes from 1977, although his involvement was far more than just those volumes, stretching back to 1959 when he initiated the Australasian Newsletter of Medical Physics . From these humble beginnings successive editors (Allun Beddoe, Tim van Doorn, Sergei Zavgorodni, John Pattison and Martin Caon) have successfully moved with the times to keep the journal alive and topical.
For example, Sergei Zavgorodni implemented email submissions, placement of APESM articles on the web, and electronic handling of manuscripts , which enabled faster submissions internationally and undoubtedly was the catalyst for rapidly increasing numbers of submissions. John Pattison undertook several steps to evolve the journal, including indexing with major databases and the appointment of Associate Editors to help with the growing workload .
When Martin Caon (the longest serving editor since the journal became a journal) took the role in 2006 the journal was still locally printed, with editors driving their car to a local printer to collect the paper copies and then deliver them to a sheltered workshop for packaging and addressing. Martin’s tenure saw the change to publishing with the Springer-Nature publishing house which now handles such tasks, including managing an online submission system (Editorial Manager) and the move to online publishing . Martin also grew the use of editorials, which is an important avenue for people to share their wisdom on a variety of topics [5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19], including Martin’s own wisdom gained in his role [20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31].
When Martin commenced as Editor in 2005 there were approximately 50 manuscripts submitted per year, with almost as many accepted papers. In 2018 the journal received 460 manuscripts, with 83 articles published, illustrating its growing visibility internationally. Amazingly, Martin was still able to manually track each manuscript from submission to final disposition—a task which is beyond the mere mortal who has to follow in his footsteps.
Importantly, many who publish research work for institutions where journal metrics (rightly or wrongly) play a major role, and this leads into the decision of where to submit manuscripts. My predecessors managed to take what essentially started as a newsletter and develop it firstly into a journal, and then an international journal with a growing impact factor and growing international reputation.
Therefore, the nervousness that I feel in taking this role is living up to the outstanding work of those before me while ensuring the journal still serves the ACPSEM members (the owners of the journal) and the organisations for whom this is the official journal.