Photograph of a man in a collared blue shirt facing the camera and smiling.
Christopher Rodrigues serves as an associate editor for MicrobiologyOpen in addition to his academic roles at the University of Warwick.
George Archer Photography

Christopher Rodrigues, a molecular microbiologist at the University of Warwick, and his team study the development of spore formation in bacteria. His publication record caught the attention of MicrobiologyOpen, a peer-reviewed journal. Three years ago, he accepted their invitation to serve as an associate editor alongside his full-time role as an academic scientist 

Why did you choose to serve as an associate editor, and what do you do in this role?

I wanted to learn how the publication process worked, and I felt that serving as an editor was an opportunity to contribute to my scientific community in addition to publishing my own research. The tasks provide credentials that can help my career profile, so that’s another benefit. 

As the associate editor, I preview manuscripts to determine if the content fits the scope of the journal. I am required to disclose conflicts of interest such as being a current or recent collaborator with a study author. If the paper fits the scope, I reach out to potential reviewers. I use their comments to decide if the manuscript will be published or needs revision. 

What are the challenges of taking on this role as a full-time academic scientist?

It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to determine if a study is suitable for the journal, and then I contact the first set of reviewers. Sometimes, I don’t have time to get to my reviews during the week, so they eat into my weekend. However, I don’t have manuscripts every week, so on average, I would say that this role only takes up about a half an hour of my week. The biggest challenge is finding reviewers because people decline or may not respond right away, so I need to keep checking and inviting more people to review the paper. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Reference

  1. Meeske AJ, et al. PLoS Biol. 2016;14(1):e1002341