It's been almost four years since PLoS launched the first issue of its flagship journal, PLoS Biology, with the ambitious goal of publishing exceptional open-access research across the life sciences, from molecules to ecosystems. The skeptics argued that it just wasn’t possible, but our 14.1 impact factor (all problems with the impact factor duly noted) put the lie to that old argument.
Now, one of the key players in securing PLoS Biology’s success has decided it’s time to take a break from scientific publishing. Managing Editor Hemai Parthasarathy, a neuroscientist by training, is leaving PLoS for a much-needed rest. As Hemai wrote in Bora Zivkovic’s blog (Bora is PLoS ONE’s community manager), “After all, any service industry that results in over 90% customer dissatisfaction (aka high profile publishing) does take its toll.”
Hemai has been with the journal since the beginning and her commitment to serving the scientific community by ensuring scientific integrity and transparency in the editorial process—key elements of PLoS’s core principles—has been an inspiration to those of us lucky enough to work with her at PLoS. And now we’re looking for a new managing editor who can bring the same commitment not just to excellence in scientific publishing but also to the cause of open access. We don't expect it will be an easy task.
PLoS was founded on the principle that turning the world’s scientific and medical literature into a living library—so anyone can not just access the articles but also mine, manipulate, and analyze the underlying data—will open up new avenues of research, stimulate new discoveries, and advance the pace of scientific understanding. Of course, trying to transform the scientific publishing landscape and usher in a new era of scientific discourse in a Web 2.0 world is not a trivial task. But if you’re an experienced manuscript editor who knows your way around the peer review and editorial process in high-profile scientific publishing—and you’re ready to lead the transition into a brave new world of scientific publishing—we’d like to hear from you. And, of course, we wish Hemai the best of luck.