It is that time of year when we make a list of resolutions for the upcoming new year. In preparation for formulating my resolutions, I did my editor's due diligence and went to the Merriam Webster on-line dictionary for the definition. Turns out there are at least 6 different meanings, but the one that seemed to fit the setting for the pending declarations was: “something that is resolved; as in made a resolution to mend my ways” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resolution).
I believe the example of resolving to mend one's ways is a perfect case, in that it provides the proper tone without going into specifics, so that by the end of the year, the proud declaration that you are making progress on a goal is counted as success. The operative word in this phrase is “mend,” as it gives you room to improve, if not completely solve the situation. This allows us to aim high at hard to achieve goals, rather than pick those that are easily achievable due to a low degree of difficulty. So here goes.
I plan to mend my ways as an Author. I will read all of the instructions – especially the sections on reference style, figures, and tables – and make sure I provide names of several un-biased and highly qualified reviewers (sorry friends, family, and former students). With the revised manuscript, I will provide a list of all reviewer comments and, under each comment, a detailed account of my response and include line numbers where my changes can be found in the text. I will mark all changes in red font. Finally, I will check the PDF file of the revised manuscript to assure correctness and that the line numbers have not changed.
I plan to mend my ways as a Reviewer. When asked to review, I will remember that for every manuscript I submit I should review 2 or 3 so that my efforts reflect the author/reviewer involvement in each and every manuscript published. I will return my reviews before the deadline. I will provide fair and un-biased analysis of the manuscript. In my analysis, I will clearly declare where I do and do not have expertise to provide insightful comments. If my decision is reject, a detailed account of the reasoning leading to that conclusion will be provided.
I plan to mend my ways as a Scientific Editor. I will help my Associate Editors by making sure manuscripts are quickly assigned to editors and give them all the support needed to do their job in a timely manner. For authors, I will assure a level of consistency concerning the basis for rejection or acceptance.
I plan to mend my ways as the Editor in Chief. I will continue to take steps that improve the quality of manuscripts published in the Journal of Food Science, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, and the Journal of Food Science Education. I will work with my Scientific and Associate editors to assure the highest standards of scientific quality in articles and professional behavior in interactions with authors. Finally, for the people who count the most, the authors, I will strive to set policies that convey a professional, fair, and ethical treatment whether your manuscript is accepted or rejected.
Speaking for all of us associated with IFT Scientific Journals, we want to be at the top of your list when decisions are made on where to publish. Having said that, we are also constantly reviewing our Aims and Scope to assure we are fulfilling our niche in providing a focused Food Science story. Unfortunately, that means that many manuscripts, although scientifically sound, may not be appropriate for our journals.
As 2013 moves along, I will periodically review these resolutions and see if progress is being made or if it resembles that 10 lbs of body weight that was scheduled to go in 2012, but decided to stay around for 2013.
Cheers and Happy New Year,