Jennifer Bell, a superlative Executive Editor for the JEM for nearly 3 years, has decided to return to her home and family in Scotland. Jen will be sorely missed, but will continue as a consultant to the JEM, so many of you will see her at meetings and will continue to work with her on commentaries, meeting reports, and other articles.
Despite the demands of her position, Jen was always upbeat in her efforts to enrich the Journal and its service to the readership and authors. She set out her mission in an editorial upon arrival (JEM 198:1131) and wasted no time in implementing her goals. During Jen's tenure at the JEM, the editorial board was expanded to broaden its expertise, including the appointment of two international editors (Anne O'Garra and Jean Laurent Casanova), who participate in weekly editorial meetings via teleconference. The Journal's advisory editors were given a broader role and have become more actively involved in the editorial process. Review times for manuscripts were kept low under Jen's leadership, despite an increased submission rate, and the quality of publication was continually elevated (JEM 199:1293; JEM 201:1).
Other improvements implemented during Jen's tenure include expanded access to the contents of the JEM, which is now provided free of charge to 142 developing nations. The entire scientific community also has free access to JEM articles 6 months after publication. The JEM's Production Director, Rob O'Donnell, led an effort to archive prior volumes of the JEM, providing searchable full text electronic access to every article published since the Journal's inception in 1896. Jen also broadened the appeal of the JEM by launching a front news section in January 2005. She recruited Heather Van Epps to equip the Journal with accessible news coverage of the most significant findings in each issue, as well as articles highlighting classic JEM papers from the archive.
One of Jen's most notable missions at the JEM was to increase the publication of articles involving patient studies. She actively recruited these papers and ensured their evaluation by scientists familiar with research in humans (JEM 198:1621). This effort has been a success, with the number of human studies published in the JEM increasing significantly in the past 2 years. We are pleased that many of these papers have been highly cited.
In addition to improving the overall quality of the publication, Jen has focused on the real roots of success—a devoted community of authors and readers. She has visited many campuses around the world to speak with scientists and potential authors about the JEM and has always been available for discussion with authors seeking advice about their manuscripts. Her successor will undoubtedly sustain her excellent track record of working openly with authors, referees, and editors to perpetuate the collegiality and excellence that is required in scientific publishing.
A search has begun for that successor. The new Executive Editor will be joined by an Associate Executive Editor, who will help to increase interaction with the scientific community in an effort to publish incisive, high impact, and long lasting papers in experimental medicine. The Editors are certain that JEM's readers join us in thanking Jen and wishing her well as she raises her family and continues to contribute to scientific publishing.