Tuesday 22 December 2015

What Ian did next...

Ian in the Herbarium at Univ Leicester -
holding the 'Botanists' Bible' by Clive Stace,
a fellow former BSBI President
Image: L. Marsh
Sorry these pages have been a bit quiet over the past week, but maybe I can make amends - I have some exclusive news for you!

When Ian Denholm stood down as President last month, making way for John Faulkner, the question on everyone's lips was: what will Ian do next? 

We knew he would continue as Co-Chair of Meetings & Communications Committee and as a BSBI trustee, but would that be enough? Maybe he was champing at the bit to get back to the huge orchid backlog which must have built up while he was busy being presidential? Ian is BSBI's co-Referee (with Prof Richard Bateman) for Orchids. Or maybe Ian was looking forward to a quiet life lecturing at University of Herts. and getting some jobs done in the garden?

Well, he's going to do all of the above but Ian is also taking on a new challenge. As of 1st January, he takes over from Richard Gornall as Editor-in-Chief of New Journal of Botany

Ian and Richard in the Herbarium Library at UoL
Image: L. Marsh
To prepare for taking on this new role, Ian and I attended a recent Round Table session for journal editors, run by Taylor & Francis, and he has also been up to the Editorial Office in Leicester to spend time with Richard and find out more about the Editor-in-Chief's role. Ian has published extensively but this will be the first time he will have taken on the editorship of a scientific journal. 

A reminder here that Richard (who was BSBI President from 2005 to 2008) was involved in New Journal of Botany from its inception, both as a key member of BSBI's Publications Committee and as the journal's first Editor-in-Chief since it was launched in 2011. 

Richard shows Ian how to use Editorial Manager,
the journal's electronic submission system
Image: L. Marsh
As Editorial Assistant during that time, I've had the privilege of helping Richard as he worked to establish a successor to our much-loved Watsonia which would meet the needs of the C21st botanist in north-west Europe. I've learned a huge amount watching him build up the journal and after five years New Journal of Botany is thriving, and was recently accepted for indexing by Scopus - another feather in Richard's cap and the result of a great deal of hard work over time by him and the brilliant team at Maney, our former publisher. 

We are already forging a closer working relationship with our new publisher, Taylor & Francis, and looking forward to the new opportunities they can offer us. And so Richard decided this was a good time to hand over the reins to a worthy successor, who had this to say about his predecessor: 

The handing over of the reins: Ian & Richard check
paperwork and try to ignore me taking photos!
Image: L. Marsh
“BSBI is indebted to Richard for his hard work and inspirational leadership of New Journal of Botany. Establishing a new journal in a highly competitive marketplace is far from a trivial task. I look forward to working with staff at Taylor & Francis in order to take full advantage of the latest technologies for enabling authors to maximise the reach and impact of their articles. I’m delighted that Louise is retaining her role as Editorial Assistant, and between us we will strive to make the experience of publishing in New Journal of Botany as positive and painless as possible.”

I'm delighted too and look forward to working with Ian and helping him build on Richard's excellent achievements. Lots of hard work ahead and Ian has big shoes to step into on the 1st January - much as John Faulkner did when he stepped into Ian's presidential shoes a few weeks ago. I think we're really lucky to have such talented people in the society! 

Richard (seen here with Zhuoxin in the Alps)
will have more time to devote to his beloved
Saxifrages! This one is S. aizoides
Image courtesy of R. Gornall
Oh and just in case you were wondering how much of your BSBI membership subscription was going to line the pockets of BSBI Presidents or Editors-in-Chief of New Journal of Botany for all their hard work... The answer is absolutely nothing. 

Both posts are honorary and the holders put in long hours of unpaid service for one reason alone. They want to do all they can to promote the study, understanding and enjoyment of the wild plants of Britain and Ireland - and those just happen to be the aims of the BSBI!

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