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Science’s New Executive Editor to Elevate Community Collaboration, Policy Improvements and Research Dissemination

Valda Vinson
Valda Vinson

Valda Vinson – who joined the Science staff over two decades ago, most recently serving as editor, research – became the journal’s executive editor on Aug. 1. On the various media and social media platforms where the news was shared, the scientific community erupted in enthusiasm.

“Valda Vinson is one of the most accomplished and experienced leaders in scientific publishing,” said Science Editor-in-Chief Holden Thorp. “The Science family and the scientific community have already benefited so much from her judgment and talent, and it is great for us all that will continue for years to come.”

Throughout her Science tenure, Vinson has been known for fostering scientific teamwork and for developing policy to improve the rigor of academic publishing. She recently served as a leader in creation of standards to support transparency and reproducibility, for example. And leading up to 2017, she was instrumental in helping Science adopt the Transparency and Openness Promotion, also known as TOP – which outlined how standards for research quality, transparency and trustworthiness could be improved if journals banded together.

“It’s been exciting working with others in publishing and discovering we’re all committed to the same things,” she said. “We’re all in this together; we all want to publish science that is understandable and reproducible.”

In her new role as executive editor, Vinson will continue to build momentum in key editorial policy areas, managing Science’s involvement in related initiatives with external colleagues. She is eager to focus on policy issues where journals industry-wide could benefit from change. “The more we ask the same of authors across journals,” said Vinson, “the more buy-in we can achieve toward improving publishing workflows and outcomes.”

While Science is at the forefront in many editorial policy arenas, Vinson said there are others where the journal – alongside journals at other publishers – could refine and extend editorial policies. For example, she is keen to see the transparency and reproducibility guidelines she helped develop, most of which have been focused on the life sciences, expanded to other disciplines.

Continued commitment to open science and open data is another goal of Vinson’s. A July 2021 blog post by Science’s editor of physical science research, Jake Yeston, highlighted Science’s progress to date in directing authors to place data and code in repositories for permanent, accessible archiving. But Vinson said more work remains to be done to balance open data requirements with the need for privacy on select datasets.

As executive editor, Vinson said she is excited to work with a great team of professional editors at the Science family of journals to support dissemination of high-quality, world-class research in step with scientific publishing’s ever-faster pace. “Our task is to publish cutting-edge science and communicate it in a way that is understandable to scientists across disciplines,” she said.

She highlighted work of Science colleagues on the Insights, News, Visuals and Science Press Package teams: “Our colleagues at Science take the work we publish and help it reach an even wider audience.”

Some of these groups also help scientists communicate their research to different audiences. “We’re going to have our biggest impact by radiating out in concentric circles like this, starting with the researchers themselves,” Vinson said. She is excited about the use of Twitter by scientists to directly communicate their new work.

As executive editor, Vinson will oversee all activities related to peer review and the publication of research. In her past roles at the journal – as associate editor, senior editor and deputy editor – she handled research studies in the areas of structural biology, biochemistry and biophysics. Most recently, as editor, research, she worked with editorial colleagues in the life sciences to attract important research papers and reviews for publication.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Valda for most of her career at Science,” said Bill Moran, publisher of the Science family of journals. “Her passions for science and peer review throughout her career have earned the trust of the science community and her colleagues, as have her global outreach, insight, relationship-building and knowledge of the scientific research world. I look forward to Valda's continued success in this new role.”

Author

Meagan Phelan

Science Press Package Executive Director

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