Reflections of an Editor

David Stott is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow and is Editor in Chief for Age and Ageing journal. He will be retiring as Editor in Chief of Age and Ageing at the end of 2018 and expressions of interest are invited from qualified candidates to succeed him in January 2019 after a period of handover. 

I am now coming toward the end of my 5 year tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Age and Ageing, having taken over this role from Roger Francis in February 2014.

Roger left the journal in terrific shape and so I was initially quite anxious about whether I would be able to ‘fill his boots’. However very quickly I realised that I was embedded in a fantastic team who are hugely supportive and great fun to work with. This includes the Editorial manager Katy (Ladbrook), the deputy Editor Miles Witham and a group of 20 Associate Editors. The strategic direction for the journal is shaped by the Editorial Board which currently is chaired by Paul Knight – this committee has a collegiate feel (nothing like Prime Minister’s questions!), reaching a consensus has always felt easy, and consequently I have never been stressed by ‘appearing before it’.

The learning opportunities that the editor’s role has afforded have been quite phenomenal. When you get to see over 1000 articles per annum you are pushed into thinking about all aspects of the speciality and clinical research methods. Reading the expert comments from Associate Editors and peer reviewers is such a privilege, providing unique insight. For me the learning has also stretched well beyond keeping at the cutting edge of research methods and clinical practice – I have found the publishing world to be quite fascinating, and our publisher Oxford University Press work hard to keep us updated on all the latest developments in this rapidly evolving field.

The position of Editor means I have the final decision on what we publish – this ability to make decisions and shape the content of the journal I find very satisfying. However for me perhaps the greatest joy has been the development of strong and productive professional relationships that have evolved into friendships with so many of the team and with key stakeholders.

However all good things need to come to an end and it is appropriate that someone else takes on the Editor’s role. What skills and experience are required? Being moderately research savvy would be good, as would decent track record of publications in clinical geriatrics. The role does need some protected time – I have kept every Wednesday morning to work on the journal and have this in my job plan. However most importantly the role needs an open mind, willingness to learn and ability to work with others! I suspect there are many members of the British Geriatrics Society who would do a fantastic job as Editor. Anyone interested please feel free to contact me informally to discuss.

Details of the Editor in Chief for Age and Ageing journal post are available here.

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