The former Chief Editor of Nature Methods bids farewell to his cherished scientific journal and welcomes its new Chief.
The first of this month marked my tenth year working for Nature Methods, nearly six of those years as Chief Editor. I joined the Nature Methods’ team as an assistant editor just as the journal was preparing its first issue and quickly became enamored of both the journal and the job. Coming from an engineering background, I always had an affinity for the tools and techniques used by scientists, and working with the researchers developing the next generations of research methods has been an enormous privilege.
The changes that have taken place over the past decade have been remarkable, and for someone who started graduate school pouring polyacrylamide sequencing gels the differences in what budding researchers have at their disposal in the lab are breathtaking. I hope that over the years Nature Methods has played some part in highlighting the importance of research methods development and helping give due credit to those researchers whose work enables so many others to make discoveries that would otherwise be infeasible or impossible.
One of my best memories as an editor is still the excitement of seeing Xiaowei Zhuang’s 2006 Gordon Research Conference poster describing stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) and thinking, “What an amazing idea!” The excitement redoubled soon after at the same conference when George Patterson gave his talk on photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM). Little did I know at the time that this would be the start of a long running relationship between Nature Methods and the yet-to-emerge super-resolution microscopy community.
I will sorely miss the interactions I’ve had with the microscopy, biophysics and other communities I worked so closely with during my time at Nature Methods, but I’m confident that the journal will continue to serve these communities much as it has over these last ten years. The experience of developing, editing and publishing the Points of View column on data visualization and Points of Significance column on statistics has also been a highlight of my time at Nature Methods and, as services to authors, I’m glad I will still be involved with these.
In my new role as Head of Editorial Services for Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan I will be serving the much broader research community and focused on improving the author (and reviewer) experience before manuscript acceptance. I’ll still be reachable at my old email address and on Twitter where I welcome comments on what can be done to improve the service we offer as a publisher.
I can’t say enough about how touched I am by the sentiments expressed in emails I’ve received from authors and reviewers I’ve worked with over the years. It has been an honor and privilege working with such amazing people and helping to communicate to the wider community your hard work developing important research methods and tools.
Even though I’ve moved on, Nature Methods lies in good hands with its new Chief Editor, Natalie de Souza. Natalie was a manuscript editor at Nature Methods for over seven years and is well placed to build on its past success.
A heartfelt thank-you to all the authors, reviewers, readers and colleagues I’ve worked with over the past ten years. The journal could never have been as successful as it has been without all your contributions.