At the end of his mandate as Breathe Chief Editor, James Paton reflects on the previous 3 years http://ow.ly/RctU8
Unlike Scottish judges, editors are not appointed ad vitam aut culpam (“for life or until fault”) but usually come with more limited mandates. After 3 years as Chief Editor of Breathe, my time is up and this is my last issue. Dr Renata Riha from the University of Edinburgh takes over as Chief Editor, with the first issue under her mandate to be published in December.
Breathe is the clinical educational publication of the European Respiratory Society (ERS). During the last 3 years, my vision has been to make Breathe like a respiratory version of Scientific American; an easy-to-read publication with high production standards and well-written educational content of interest and relevance to readers in all areas of respiratory medicine.
Some of the developments that have occurred are particularly worth highlighting. One of the most important has been the increasing engagement between Breathe and the junior members of ERS. When I started, a readership survey showed that about three-quarters of our readers were between 25 and 35 years of age with positions across the respiratory spectrum but with particular concentration in physicians in clinical practice, allied health professionals and trainees. We were keen to foster a greater involvement with these junior members. We wanted to ensure that Breathe addressed their interests as well as provided opportunities for them to write and get published.
We have met with ERS’s Junior Member Committee (JMC) at every Congress and this has led to a number of regular contributions. Firstly, there has been a junior newsletter that was initially entitled “News from the Underground.” At the request of the authors themselves, it has now been renamed from this issue onwards to “Juniors’ Voice”. They argued for the change because as they themselves said:
“The ERS structure is developing and so is the JMC. We are no longer considered the underground of the ERS. As such, the previous title for this series, “News from the Underground” is not representative anymore. The team’s work has been accepted and appreciated by ERS and the Breathe leadership and, therefore the series has been renamed “Juniors’ Voice” representing the activities we perform and the goals we strive for.
Junior members have also contributed an excellent series of articles called “Doing Science” with titles chosen by and written by the members of the JMC. These have been educational articles specifically targeted at some of the skills and tasks that are important for juniors, such as preparing a poster presentation or dealing with difficult colleagues. While particularly relevant to junior members, I am sure many members across the society will have been interested to read and learn from them.
Junior members from each assembly, under the excellent co-ordination of James Chalmers and later Neil Saad, have also been responsible during my time as Editor for the “Hot Topics from the Assemblies”. These are short summaries of important articles in respiratory medicine written by Junior ERS members. In all these endevours, junior members have contributed enthusiastically. As Editor, I have valued not only their enthusiastic engagement but their consistent, reliable and timely contributions.
Another highlight has been a series of short articles contributed by patients and their physicians facilitated by the European Lung Foundation. There is increasing recognition of the importance of patient voices and patient engagement and it has pleasing to be able to support this in Breathe.
Our last readers’ survey highlighted Breathe had a global audience with two-thirds of our readership in Europe and one-third from the rest of the world prominently including. Our previous website had attracted visits from 167 countries. Since then, Breathe has now moved to the HighWire platform alongside the rest of the ERS journals. The new site makes Breathe more accessible, available on mobile devices. The content is free to access for all and brings high-quality educational material to a wide audience. All the material is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits redistribution for non-commercial reasons provided the source is cited.
Editors are unusual because they rely on a whole host of other people to do the work. At the end of my mandate, it is a pleasure to acknowledge and thank all people who have been key to Breathe’s continuing success: all the authors who have contributed interesting educational material to demanding timelines and most especially, David Sadler, managing editor of Breathe, and Eddy Baker, editorial assistant for all ERS publications, and the rest of the staff of the ERS publications department. It is their wise advice, patient reminding and careful technical editing that is really responsible for Breathe’s success.
I never planned, or even dreamed, that I would be Editor of a medical journal even for a short time so it has been a special and unexpected privilege to edit Breathe. I wish my successor, Renata Riha the best of luck and wish Breathe continuing good fortune in its mission as the clinical educational journal of ERS.
- ©ERS 2015
Breathe articles are open access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Licence 4.0.