As you both know by now, part of my job is to travel around the place, talking to anyone who will listen about Your Favourite Professional Science Magazine Beginning With N, demystifying the process of science publication, and showing that we editors self-identify as human (despite what others might think.) Yesterday I gave my talk to the Finnish Veterinary Association in Helsinki, and I should like to thank Professor Miia Lindstrōm and her colleagues for their kind hospitality.
I have been quite busy doing this lately – I feel it is a necessary part of what one might call ‘outreach’. The current version of my talk started life in Toronto last year, and this year alone I have given it in London, Switzerland, Dresden and Amsterdam. After Helsinki I think I’ll retire it and think of something new. For those who haven’t seen the talk and feel they are up to it, you can find it here.
Not that this version of the talk will be like any other. The slides are very few. I had been giving this talk with no slides at all, rather as those souls described in Ricardipus’ recent post, but people like slides, so I felt I had to oblige. I tell people who I am, what I do, how I got to my position of eminence on top of this Corinthian column in the Judean wilderness, my worries that the base might be Doric, and explain the peer-review process and so on and so forth. This takes maybe twenty or thirty minutes, which is more than most people can stand without
resuscitation refreshment. I also keep it short as people are keen to ask me all sorts of questions, and I like to keep the floor open for discussion.
One can get a lot of useful information from the questions people ask, and the benefits for Your Favourite Etcetera include receiving as well as imparting information. Popular subjects for discussion include how we choose referees for manuscripts; the mechanics of double-blind peer review; whether we at Your Favourite Etcetera might print referees’ comments with articles we publish (as EMBOJ does); what I think of ‘open’ science, and so on and so forth in like fashion. It is a useful exercise. However, I don’t intend to repeat it (much) in future as I feel some of my other colleagues might like to have a go, and because NPG has just produced a useful slide deck for our use when on the road, full of up-to-date facts and figures, which I intend to adapt to my own particular … er … idiom (the slides, that is, not the facts and figures.)
Of course, when I visit a new place, I get the opportunity of visiting labs, so I did that too – as well as enjoying hospitality and good fellowship with friends old and new. In the end, the business of science is the business of people. Did I say that we editors are only human?