Why did you become an independent editor?
I have enjoyed science writing since I was doing my PhD, and I took advantage of every chance I got to get involved in writing papers, grants or participate in science communication events to explain to others what we were doing in the lab. Eventually I became a full-time scientific editor, and I greatly enjoyed partnering with authors to give their papers the best chance they could have and maximize their impact. The breadth of topics I was exposed to and working with so many talented colleagues and authors made me feel truly privileged. Joining LSE as an independent editor is an opportunity to keep working with scientists around the world and promote the dissemination of impactful science.
What do you like most about editing a paper?
When reading a draft for the first time, I really enjoy the moment when I find myself aligned with the author’s train of thought and understand what they are trying to communicate. That fresh look at a paper allows me to identify experiments that might be missing to support a conclusion or find ways to distill a message so it can better reach the readers.
What do you like least?
When a cover letter of the abstract of a paper sets high expectations but the take home message ends up not being well supported by the data, reading a paper can result in a somewhat disappointing experience. I value a balanced narrative and papers where the conclusions are consistent with the findings that are presented.
What is your top tip for writing the best paper?
I often find that manuscripts that are able to tell a story in a concise and simple manner tend to be more successful. Biology is complex and sometimes it is difficult to simplify, but in general I advise authors to make an effort to streamline the narrative and get to the point as quickly as possible.
What is the most common mistake people make when writing their paper?
Trying to fit every piece of data there is into one figure tends to be a common mistake people make, and this is distracting for readers. It is important to differentiate what are the essential elements that need to be displayed in a main figure from those that can be placed in supplementary materials. Using the main figures to show the key pieces of data required to make a point will improve the flow of the paper and keep readers engaged.
When Javier is not editing, he enjoys running through the city and exploring new trails in the mountains, experimenting in the kitchen or trying to play saxophone without disturbing his neighbors too much.