The author declares no conflict of interest.
From the Editorial Office
From the Editorial Office
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
© 2012 American Headache Society
Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Volume 53, Issue 1, pages 2–3, January 2013
How to Cite
Roberts, J. (2013), From the Editorial Office. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 53: 2–3. doi: 10.1111/head.12023
- Issue published online: 8 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
With the passing on January 1, 2013, of the editorial torch from John Rothrock to Tom Ward, as Executive Editor for Headache, I could not let this moment pass without looking back on an amazing 11½ year journey with a remarkable Editor. It is impossible in a short editorial to review in depth the enormous changes that Dr. Rothrock has brought to the journal. Suffice it to say that for every advance the journal has made or new feature implemented that is visible to the reader, there has been an attendant, important, change behind the scenes in the editorial office. Headache is only a midsized journal in a relatively small subspecialty, but it has grown to consistently punch above its weight and influence other journals, leading the way in improving the quality of peer review performed on the manuscripts received, holding authors accountable to the highest standards and innovating in the way content is delivered and supplemented, most recently with the growth of its online presence.
Such advances have only been possible due to Dr. Rothrock's willingness to foster innovation. He has consistently welcomed input from the formidable array of talent he has assembled within his editorial board. He happily received sage advice from the AHS Publications Committee and from you, the reader. Speaking personally, Dr. Rothrock has been more than patient as he weighed up multiple publishing and editorial strategies proposed by me, enthusiastically supporting the good ideas while graciously rejecting some of the wilder flights of fantasy! His generosity of time, and infinite wisdom, is appreciated by me and has been, I believe, for the benefit of the journal.
Throughout his editorial tenure, Dr. Rothrock constantly provided an evolving vision of how the journal should look and feel. He may be the last Editor that had the luxury of being able to produce a medical journal that was read from cover to cover. Increasingly readers, thanks now to widespread access to the journal online, more often “skim-and-dip” for the content they need then move on. The publishing world has evolved dramatically during his tenure: the online journal was in its infancy, and tablet computers, such as iPads, were only a figment in the mind of Steve Jobs and others in 2001. Consequently, Dr. Rothrock was determined to ensure that Headache supplied content features for everyone to relate to, ranging from patient education pages, the Resident-Fellow section, the Expert Opinion, Images From Headache, and the more freeform Views and Perspectives. The patient pages (“Toolbox”) have been a particular success – currently over 1,500,000 individual pages on a variety of topics have been reprinted and circulated. Critically, however, Dr. Rothrock never lost sight of the fact that such features still needed to be anchored by strong original research and wide-ranging review articles delivering clarity and illumination. Achieving this vision was not straightforward. I recall his first Editorial Board meeting in July 2001 in New York City. In what can best be described as a robust debate, it was suggested his ideas to remodel the journal would reduce Headache into the Ladies Home Journal. Such criticism was clearly unfounded. Dr. Rothrock never once resorted to providing fashion advice or recipes to flesh out an issue, although we did frequently provide a Lagniappe!
There can be no denying that Dr. Rothrock has been a brave editor. He has not shied away from controversial topics or avoided publishing work that had the potential to inflame opinions. It is fair to say that some of his own editorials have even been quite strident, but only in the interests of stimulating informed discourse and, consequently, for enlivening the reader experience.
Finally, a quality too often overlooked in an Editor-in-Chief is the actual ability to edit. Dr. Rothrock's command of the English language is uncommonly dexterous. Countless published authors in Headache will never know how many hours he has devoted to polishing prose and deciphering or recasting the otherwise unintelligible. His editorials frequently contained prose that was incredibly tight and yet informative, making them a “must read” rather than the usual page fillers that choke so many other journals.
I wish Dr. Rothrock the very best with his newest endeavor as the Medical Director of the Renown Institute for Neurosciences in Reno, Nevada, and hope the dry desert air after years in “swampy” Alabama, excellent hiking, and fantastic skiing opportunities all prove to be most enjoyable.