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Brief Interview With Stephen Leeder, New Editor Of The International Journal Of Epidemiology

We contacted Stephen Leeder, the new editor of the  International Journal of Epidemiology for this thoughts as he takes over the helm of the journal. The first issue of the IJE under Dr Leeder’s direction was published on April 24, 2017. It is accompanied by a very timely and thought-provoking editorial entitled “Epidemiology in an age of anger and complaint.” It speaks directly to the widespread concern in this era of Trump and Brexit and the many calls for scientists to take action.

In his editorial, Leeder concludes, “Thoughtfully and sensitively contextualized, epidemiology might even aid in setting back on track a wobbling and complaining world, where bluster, arrogance, bitterness, anger, populist sound bites and Twitter feeds have displaced political and social agendas accurately informed by science, facts, scholarship, and debate.” Readers can view the complete editorial  to learn why epidemiology, when defined by Leeder  as the “science of the people for the people”, has the potential to accomplish what he proposes.

Here are our questions to Dr Leeder and his responses.

EM: The final issue under the previous editors is a real behemoth in terms of quantity and topics covered. What changes in form and content or subject matter do you plan to make or hope to make?

Leeder: Yes, George Davey Smith's and Shah Ebrahim's final edition of IJE is truly encyclopaedic - in every sense! They have provided outstanding leadership and leave the journal in high standing

The new editorial team is fully aware, and immensely admiring, of the standard established by George and Shah. We seek to maintain it - a formidable challenge!

The rapidly evolving world of scientific publication demands that all journals, including the IJE, adapt in order to make the best use of electronic platforms. 

We are committed to extending the opportunities of publication to countries where resources are restricted, opportunities to publish are few, and where English language proficiency might be limited. 

EM:  What do you think is the biggest strength and the biggest challenge the journal faces as you take over?

Leeder:  I think the biggest strength of the IJE to date has been the quality of the original articles it has attracted and published. The opportunities it provides for the publication of cohorts, for the re-visiting of important historical papers, for the commentaries and editorials have added greatly to its utility and readability.

The biggest challenge we face is maintaining the quality of the research we publish while simultaneously adapting to changing publication practice. We aim to meet the evolving demands of public health for relevant epidemiological insights and appraisals during this fourth (or fifth!) industrial revolution!  


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