Many times, I have experienced situations where people try to draw
lines between authors, editors, and system administrators. True, they
do have very different roles. But they should understand each other
beyond awareness of their role differences. Technically speaking,
system administrators do not care whether an author makes spelling
mistakes or not. Editors do care about spelling and grammar errors,
but they do not know much about server infrastructure.
If we really want to be productive, then we have to go beyond
polarized communication. Working together, authors, editors, and
technical people can create articles with clarity, cohesion,
concision, and precision. The more they understand the basics of
communication, the faster and smoother the process of creating a
quality document is.
I came across a very interesting book that will be helpful to authors
and editors, and will make life easier for system administrators too.
Roy Jensen, M.Sc., Ph.D., is a chemistry instructor and author of
Communicating Science and Exploring Chemistry. It is Communicating
Science that I recommend to authors here so they can acquire skills
that will help them to convey messages efficiently. His book is an
introductory communication guide that provides learners with a
foundation for writing, reviewing, and presenting technical
information to academic and public audiences.
His site, Rogue Publishing, contains useful information on these and
I have witnessed many times that students, researches, scholars do understand some scientific concepts but for various reasons behave differently or even contrary. Some their beliefs or psychological traits are overwhelming.
That is sometimes a big issue in work of editorial boards, communication with system administrator(s), addressing authors and reviewers.
I believe that system administrators should not be focused only on technical troubleshooting. They should use their knowledge and inform editorial boards how to use technology to foster the development of efficient ways to communicate science. In my experience, that was not always easy since many people think that if there is information available people will necessarily change.
That did not work always, I am pretty sure. That issue is more complex than we by inertia think. That complexity is difficult, but also an opportunity. We are accustomed to challenges. Aren’t we? Many people including the scientists are sometimes overwhelmed by various biases.
Some work on that and related topics may be found in publications written by Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Garry Klein.
We have to find a way how to overcome those biases and to find ways how to communicate science effectively. The National Academies Press published one very interesting public with title: Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda that you can find quite interesting and providing a larger space to address that issue.
Huh, being administrator and work with scientists is not just as easy and simple as it looks like. But, it is potentially more rewarding.
Editorial boards usually do not pay attention what information should user write in the user profile. There might be different reasons why editorial boards do not pay attention to that very important part.
Actually, some authors really appreciate your journal and they would like to identify themselves with your journal.
Someone may ask: Well, math, chemistry, physics etc. do not have anything to do with someone’s culture.
Although we may argue about that and present a huge amount of information about interrelatedness of science and culture it is good to point that in some cultures middle name, suffix, gender or other personal details may be very important part of someone’s identity.
Do we want to ignore that even if price of that will be that the user (reader, reviewer, author, librarian etc.) might feel neglected, not respected, discouraged or hurt?
When I train users to use the Open Journal Systems I explain them that such fields are very important and that editorial board that takes care about their users should in manuals and other information blocks encourage users to create their profiles in a way that does not push their culture in the backyard. If someone’s name contains name of mother, grandmother or father and grandfather that should be put inside whatever it is personal cultural belief of member of editorial board. If author asks editor to take into consideration religious holidays during which author will not be available that should be taken into consideration and the field Comments for Editor should be understood as completed in a legitimate way.
Your users are not genderless, depersonalized entities without culture regardless of scientific research they could be interested in. Encourage them to be open and free to express all cultural characteristics and to contribute where possible to make your journal appreciated to people from different cultures.