A journal's personality is the product of its history, its format, its features. But more than anything else, the editors' quirks and qualities are what give a journal its distinct flavor. For that reason, upcoming changes among our Editors deserve to be noted.
At the end of this year, Jon Samet and Dale Sandler will step down as Editors of Epidemiology. It will be hard to see them go. When I took over the journal in 2001, I looked for experienced people to help steer the journal. Jon and Dale had both served as editors at other epidemiology journals. Both came with strong track records as researchers. Jon's expertise in air pollution and Dale's experience with a wide spectrum of environmental concerns fit well with the journal's strong tradition in environmental epidemiology. Perhaps most important, Dale and Jon both brought a broad perspective on epidemiologic research and the diverse purposes it serves.
Over the past 6 years, the Editors (also including David Savitz and Sholom Wacholder) have made their marks on the journal. An example is in the reexamination of our major editorial policies. Our reconsideration of the issue of conflict-of-interest1 was spurred by Jon's concerns about abuses by the tobacco industry. Dale's pragmatic approach to the nuts-and-bolts of epidemiology shows in her editorial on study participation rates.2 Their contributions on our editorial pages, and even more behind the scenes, have been key in making the journal what it is. I'm deeply grateful for their service.
Happily, David and Sholom will continue as Editors. They join me in welcoming three new Editors to our ranks. With this issue, Miguel Hernán, Jay Kaufman, and Stephanie London take on the duties of Editor. All are highly skilled practitioners of the trade. (In fact, two are past winners of Epidemiology's Rothman Prize for best paper of the year.) All three have served on our Editorial Board. And all are younger than the current crop of Editors. They bring the fresh perspective of a younger generation of researchers.
The way scientists use the scientific literature is drastically changing, and journals have to change too. For this reason in particular, I'm glad to have the advice of some who are closer to the leading edge. The new Editors have lost no time in making suggestions. At our first meeting, they asked why we arrange our table of contents under such drab headings as “Original Report” rather than by subject matter of the papers. You can see the result on our front cover. It's a small change, but I take it as a refreshing sign of things to come.
1. Wilcox AJ. On Conflicts of Interest. Epidemiology
2. Sandler DP. On revealing what we'd rather hide: the problem of describing study participation. Epidemiology