Last week I did what I believe newspaper editors describe as ‘putting an issue to bed’. One of my jobs as Editor is to select the papers from our collection of accepted material that will go into the next issue. This usually happens a few weeks before the issue is published and so last week it was the November/December issue. That means I have completed my first full year of editorial duties for JHND. An amazing year of hard work, which I will reflect on after Christmas.
So how do I choose what goes into an issue? I hesitate to say that it isn’t rocket science, because I firmly believe rocket science to be a lot simpler than biology… but you know what I mean. My reasoning is:
1. Which papers have been on hold for the longest? They should go to publication first.
2. How do I make up the right number of pages to hit the target for the issue. JHND can publish a finite number of pages per year and I usually aim for 104 pages per issue. Sometimes a paper will get published very soon after acceptance because it is just the right length to fit a space.
3. Which papers are most likely to attract lots of citations and boost our impact factor? Those papers are best published early in the year to give them more time to attract some interest.
4. Getting a good balance across the issue. I like every issue to contain at least one review article and then to spread the papers across the four theme areas, Clinical Nutrition; Public Health Nutrition and Epidemiology; Nutritional Sciences and Dietetic Professional Practice.
5. If, as in this new issue, there is something urgent such as dietetic guidelines on file, then I make those a priority for publication. These are important to get into the public domain so that the guidelines can get put into practice.