Why did you become an independent editor?
One of the aspects of being a journal editor that I enjoyed most was supporting authors in communicating their research, to get it noticed and re-used. Most of my time, however, was spent with other tasks. Now, I get to focus on what I like best, while remaining in touch with other scientific editors.
What do you like most about editing a paper?
To me, it is important that science is communicated with integrity and honesty. Data should be reported fully and transparently, caveats discussed and limitations acknowledged. Models are temporary constructs, there to debate, question, build upon and correct, if needed – in my view, this is how science advances. What I like most about editing a paper is working with scientists to communicate their research in a manner that promotes this discourse and helping them convey the excitement and robustness of their data in an accessible and transparent manner.
What do you like least?
A good manuscript edit is also a form of criticism, and I dislike the risk of hurting someone’s feelings.
What is your top tip for writing the best paper?
Before you start writing, decide on the one key message that you would like your manuscript to convey and structure the text from start to finish with this message in mind.
What is the most common mistake people make when writing their paper?
Research rarely takes straight paths: a project might have been conceived with a different outcome in mind, data turn out to be more complex than expected, initial hypotheses need to be revised. It is tempting to describe this entire scientific process in a manuscript, but that strategy often leads to a loss of clarity and might raise expectations in readers and reviewers that, when not met by the data provided, can cause disappointment.
When Anke is not editing, she enjoys reading (anything and all), running (without any ambitions) and being outdoors and as close to nature as possible.