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Meet the PLOS Climate Editor-in-Chief

In this Meet-the-Editor blog post find out about PLOS Climate’s Editor-in-Chief, Emma Archer. From her expertise in the field of climate research to her recommended reading, get to know Emma and what’s in store for PLOS Climate.

What does PLOS’ vision for Open Science mean to you?

For me, Open Science as an approach helps us in our quest to make communication of science more accessible – both for authors and for readers.  In the case of climate change, something we frequently consider is how to get our research out of the lab and beyond an academic audience, to those practitioners and decision makers who might apply it. Open Science, amongst other benefits, really helps support this mission.

What specific expertise do you bring to PLOS Climate?

I have worked on climate (with a focus on sustainable agriculture and managed ecosystems) for more than 20 years, largely on the continent of Africa. I have also trained postgraduate students for almost that long – as a result, ECRs are a key priority for me, and I hope, beyond the expertise that I bring as a scientist, I also hope to use some of my experience in training and mentoring young and emerging scientists.

What is the most exciting part of your job as an Editor-in-Chief?

The opportunity to see submissions building up in key areas is very interesting. We already have a range of fascinating submitted articles, and I am extremely excited for our first volume in 2022.

What do you believe that PLOS Climate will add to the field of climate science in the coming decade?

I think we have some valuable contributions to make – this year is a most timely year to be thinking about climate change, far beyond an academic audience. I hope that in the coming decade, and beyond, we will provide a stimulating and exciting environment, both for authors and for readers. 

What’s a common misconception new authors have about the peer review or publication process?

I find that new authors, in particular (but not limited to) ECRs, often think that more senior scientists either don’t get rejected or don’t get poor reviews. More senior scientists could, literally, paper their offices with rejections and/or negative reviews.  It’s part of the process! The moment one can demystify that, and see it as an inevitable (although hopefully not too frequent) part of the process, and also as a learning opportunity – is the moment one can move forward positively.

What are your hobbies?

I have quite a few hobbies, but the most recent hobby is the (largely accidental) acquisition of free ranging hens. We had one hen move in from the neighbors in lockdown last year, and she ended up staying. Another then moved in (with the permission of the neighbors), and they also brought us a third.  We now have three – Zebra, a Potchefstroom Koekoek (a hardy and handsome South African breed); and Olivia and Daisy, who have a bit of Rhode Island Red in them.  We enjoy their fresh eggs, and they are also enormously entertaining.

Who is the most intelligent person you know?

Probably one of the most intelligent people I ever knew was Professor Bob Scholes, who sadly passed away in northern Namibia earlier this year. The recently released IPCC/IPBES report (of which he was a co chair) is dedicated to his memory. I obviously frequently talked to him about science, but many of my favorite conversations with him had nothing to do with science – about cooking, wine, rugby, family, religion, vegetarianism … he had an extraordinary and wide ranging set of interests, and was a true polymath.

What’s on your reading list for the PLOS Climate community?

Well, I have to give a shout out to the recently released IPCC/IPBES report; and also to the IPCC WG1 report released this year.  We look forward to the other big assessments due out next year; and I would also like to highlight some of the recent Latitude blog posts – an area where we have been very active.  In preparation for the IBPES Sustainable Use assessment (due for release next year), I recently had the opportunity to delve into some of the literature around wild foods, including wild meat – and those links between environment, wild meat and wild foods, climate, and zoonotic disease have provided incredibly interesting material and food for thought (an excellent example is Booth et al 2021 in Current Biology). 

Want to know more about the journal and how to submit your research? Find out more information at PLOS Climate!

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