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Guest Editorial

Olivier Dumon, MD of Research Applications & Platforms

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Olivier DumonWe appreciate how challenging the role of an editor can be; the continuous flow of papers many journals receive can result in a queue of manuscripts awaiting review. First, there’s the plagiarism check against the rapidly expanding body of research available; then, for increasingly interdisciplinary fields where research often stems from international collaboration, questions such as “how incremental or significant is the research to my field?” and “who are the best reviewers?” are becoming harder to answer. The information that individual editors use to evaluate manuscripts across the thousands of academic journals can be as varied and complex as snowflakes. Oh, and what do you do with the experimental data that the author wanted to submit…?

How can we at Elsevier help? Well, we can bring together data from existing platforms such as EES,ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Mendeley to create new features leveraging search, aggregation and advanced recommender technologies, supported by our powerful HPCC supercomputer. A prime example of this is the recent upgrade to the Find a Reviewer tool in EES, powered by Scopus.

In this edition of Editors' Update, you will also hear about the next generation of SciVal and the 'term' or journal maps you can use to inform your future journal strategy – both these initiatives also look to Scopus for their data. And we link to data contained in non-Elsevier databases, for example, we recently announced the integration of CrossCheck's plagiarism software into EES, ensuring articles are automatically uploaded to iThenticate at the submission stage. We know how important it is to you and your authors to make the evaluation process faster; the initiatives outlined here are all important steps towards our goal of creating substantial efficiencies in the editorial workflow. Our aim is simple – to provide you with a toolbox, so that you can select which tools work best for you.

These are not just aspirations – we are working hard to make them a reality. We are changing how we build products and features; we are consulting editors throughout the development process, being more iterative in how we build and, more importantly, checking at each stage that what we are building is of value to you. We’re also continuing to develop competencies in online and analytics skills and are enhancing them through ongoing collaborations such as the Big Data Institute with University College London (UCL), which oversees research projects between our product teams and leading researchers in UCL in the area of big data and analytics. And we can go further…

…but first, let's go back to your role as an editor for a moment…

We realize that what is important to you is your real passion; your role at your institute, university or hospital. However, having reviewed incoming manuscripts, there is work to be done on the paper you are about to publish, the two peer-review requests for other journals sitting on your desk, and the grant funding application that needs finishing. The good news is that we can also support you with some of these activities. We can help authors find the best home for their research with our intuitive – and recently upgraded – Journal Finder tool and we can help them understand the impact of their published work through Scopus citations, downloads on ScienceDirect and altmetrics pilots. We can also now showcase their impact on their community via Mendeley.

However, in this issue we are focused on editors and I am excited to share with you some of the innovative things that we are working on to not only help you determine the future of your journal, but to streamline the editorial process so you can choose to spend your time where it matters most.

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