Five years ago Avi Parush, the original editor in chief of JUS, asked me to join him in that position. I assumed my role would be similar to that of a paper reviewer. But Avi had a strong belief that an editor in chief needs to be more than a reviewer. An editor in chief is a type of mentor who works with authors and reviewers to create papers that they, and we, can be proud of.
I began to see the parallels between being a User Experience professional and an editor in chief. The journal readers are the users, the authors are the developers, and the reviewers are the usability specialists. The editor in chief’s job is to facilitate cooperation between the reviewers and the authors to produce the best product for the readers. The Journal of Usability Studies’ mission provides an additional challenge because it has two overlapping audiences: researchers and practitioners. Unlike most other journals, we publish papers that address the practice of user experience as well as papers that contribute to its science.
As we know, all products are flawed and usability specialists are good at finding the flaws in user experience manuscripts. As a profession, part of our role is making developers aware of those flaws, which can make it challenging to be positive and constructive. Avi’s advice reminded me of an important lesson I had learned in my career: if you lose the respect of developers (authors), products don’t improve. Reviewing must be guided by treating authors as professional colleagues, especially authors of the 70% of manuscripts that do not get published.
It’s has been a great run for me. Thanks to Avi for starting the journal and for his insights about editing. Thanks to the editorial reviewers without whom we would not exist. Sarah Harris, our copy editor, has worked behind the scenes with authors and me to maintain the quality we expect of the journal. Bill Albert has moved seamlessly into the editor in chief role and has been a joy to work with. Finally, thanks to the UXPA Directors of Publication, Susan Dray and Gerry Gaffney, who always supported me and the journal.
I am proud to have been part of the journal’s 10 year contribution to the user experience literature.