Although I'm continuing to work as lab manager at the Atom Probe group in the department of materials in Oxford University, and work on my top secret writing project (which is almost at the point that I can start talking about it!), I've also taken on a smaller new responsibility recently, which is quite exciting.
I am now Managing Editor for the scientific journal Materials Today Communications. This is a journal setup by Elsevier to act as a conduit for papers across the entire range of Materials Science. It's an innovative project, and the idea is interesting one.
Scientific journals these days are extremely oversubscribed, with many of them receiving hundreds or even thousands more papers and articles than they can publish. Whilst some of these articles are turned away by editors or during peer review, many are still presenting good science and are worthy of publication, but there just isn't enough space. Some of the journals with the highest impact factors turn away as much as 80% of submissions!
Materials Today Communications is intended to be a solution for this problem. Scientific articles submitted to other Elsevier journals that go through peer review and are considered good science, but cannot fit into the intended journal, will be referred to me at Materials Today Communications, and published there instead, should the authors accept this transfer. This means the authors do not need to reformat their article and resubmit to another journal, and that the process of peer review is not unnecessarily repeated in the new venue.
My role as managing editor is overseeing the transfer process and ensuring that authors have revised their manuscripts according to the changes recommended by peer review. It's a part time role that will scale depending on how many papers accept their transfers, but it's really nice to have the opportunity to combine the two parts of my life - writing and science.
Hopefully more on my creative writing work soon - I've been working really hard on it for the last couple of years but it's all still under wraps - but there's so much cool stuff to show people when we finally get the ok to go public!
Reading: Command and Control by Eric Schlosser
Listening To: An Ocean Beneath the Waves by The War on Drugs
Watching: Boyhood by Richard Linklater