California Agriculture staffing changes
Janet White has retired after 23 years as California Agriculture's executive editor. When she arrived in 1991, the journal's submission reviews were photocopied and mailed by hand. Slides were pulled from plastic sleeves and scanned. There was no academic associate editor panel and no double-blind peer review. Journal issues had no news section; few carried a thematic focus, and none included interpretive glossaries, citations or references.
White oversaw the journal's transition to electronic peer review of research articles, and she augmented its electronic presence, including the full-text digitization of all articles back to 1946. She coordinated the journal website's redesign in 2009 in which e-journal content became searchable and discoverable. In addition, she pursued indexing on open access and proprietary databases — of value to faculty authors as well as readers and browsers worldwide. And she established systems of metrics that documented the journal's diversity of reviewers and authors, rejection rate and readership statistics.
“Janet brought the magazine to journal status, improving its format, scientific quality and utility; she ushered it into the high technology era, significantly increasing its accessibility and value as a resource. These were major, major accomplishments,” said Carol Lovatt, associate editor in plant sciences and UC Riverside plant physiologist.
Today the journal's website includes linked references for every article and serves lay readers with a news section and links to related material. It offers wide dissemination, including to policymakers and decision makers, for faculty authors.
“Content drives readership, and faculty research drives content,” White said. “We owe a debt to UC scientists, many of whom are committed to translating their findings and putting them in the hands of people who can apply them.”
Under White's guidance, the journal won numerous awards from the Association of Communication Excellence (ACE) for such special editions such as Biotech: Risk and Benefit, Wine Grapes Go Green, Unequivocal – How Climate Change Will Transform California, and Food as Medicine. In 2013, White and her team received the ACE Gold Award for the editing of the article “Analysis reveals potential rangeland impacts if Williamson Act eliminated,” which appeared in October 2012.
“These awards recognize the combined skill and effort of an outstanding team,” White said. “I've had the privilege to work with highly talented editors, writers, web developers, IT analysts and artists.”
In recent years White began the digitization of Hilgardia, UC ANR's primary technical publication for 70 years, from 1925 to 1995. The associated fundraising is approaching the $30,000 goal, and the digitization of all monographs is under way through Aptara, Inc.
“I am happy to be leaving at a time when California Agriculture is thriving. We have a flow of excellent submissions in the pipeline, and faculty have proposed and begun submitting articles for four special collections,” she said. “Understanding new scientific findings gains importance daily — whether it be medical, environmental, agricultural or other science.”
White plans to gain further training in information science, and search and discovery on the web.
Ann Senuta, UC ANR Communication Services and Information Technology publications manager and former managing editor of scientific publications at the California Academy of Sciences and of California Farmer magazine, is serving as interim executive editor of California Agriculture and managing recruitment for White's replacement.
In late May, Debbie Thompson became the new managing editor of California Agriculture. Previously, she worked as a production editor at Public Library of Science (PLOS), where she served as the lead copy editor and production editor for magazine-type articles across six different biomedical journals (PLOS Medicine, PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Pathogens and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases). She grew up in Pleasanton, Calif., and attended University of Washington in Seattle, and later Boston University for a master's degree in international relations.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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