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Why an Australian editor for JNNP?
  1. Matthew C Kiernan
  1. Correspondence to Matthew C Kiernan, Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and Prince of Wales Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Barker Street, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia; M.kiernan{at}

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There is a term that is rarely used nowadays that describes the Australian sensibility of being a little bit maverick, somewhat iconoclastic. The word is “larrikin”, and far from its original connotations, its modern day meaning suggests a character that thrives on adventure, on doing things a little differently.

It seems fitting then that the JNNP has appointed an Australian as its inaugural non-British editor. The adventurous spirit that buoyed British explorers sent out to discover the colonies centuries ago remains intact today in the independent spirit of Australians. The original British pioneers were not afraid to take a risk, albeit calculated; they were driven to explore, discover and expand. They were not inhibited by boundaries but were ever-mindful of the legacy that would remain for future generations. They may have been unconventional, a little unorthodox, but they were steadfast and bold.

My goals, with the assistance of a fine editorial team at the JNNP, are not dissimilar—to forge new ground from a rock solid foundation of British tradition. In refreshing the JNNP, our aims are ambitious. Some changes will be instantly apparent while others will evolve over the coming year. The first thing to notice is a new cover design. The image of MC Escher’s Rind, inspired by the HG Wells novel The Invisible Man, seeks to reveal both the inside and outside of man, a task akin to the modern day neuroscientist. The fields of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry are not solely concerned with the physiological, chemical and biological realms of the self but also involve the social and emotional self. These diverse concepts are never easily separated nor considered in isolation.

Inside the cover, changes to the journal’s content and layout will be rolled out over the coming months. A range of new features that round out the field of neurosciences will include opinion pieces and reviews from leaders in their fields, mentor biographies, interviews with up-and-coming neuroscientists and patient accounts. Together with a clear coherent layout, we aim to make the journal both enjoyable and accessible to the reader. In conjunction, our website will reflect these new goals with a move towards a simpler system of searching and locating articles.

But the most dramatic changes for the JNNP will be more subtle and progressive. They are driven by the need for the journal to grow and evolve in the competitive world of neurosciences. They include widening the scope for submissions, both geographically and clinically, and growing our readership in more diverse regions of the globe. Our objective will be to attract new, exciting and ground-breaking content from across Europe, Asia and the Americas. By strategically targeting input from these regions we will be achieving two goals—producing a more cutting edge journal and increasing impact.

The first step to achieving these goals will be to reduce turnaround time for the review of manuscripts, in addition to publishing accepted papers instantly online. The next steps include greater exposure for JNNP in regions where readership and participation is lower; along with “theming” issues to focus on specific disease states, syndromes and fields—an initiative that will be mirrored online. In addition, we aim to launch new sections within the journal, ranging from news and medical breakthroughs to clinical conundrums and Q&As.

This January issue coincides with the launch of podcasts, a new feature of JNNP online. Authors will be able to showcase and dissect the critical contributions of their manuscripts to an online audience. In addition, we intend to launch a neurology masterclass series, as delivered by world experts, through our website portals. These initiatives will further increase the learning and teaching capabilities of the journal.

And so it is with these aims, and our strong editorial team, that I hope to take JNNP into an adventurous new phase that has all the hallmarks of its European heritage with a touch of the larrikin—a spirit that is part of the Australian culture but inherently the product of a British naissance. This new spirit will build on the fine traditions of JNNP established by the previous editors and neuroscience luminaries, beginning with Kinnear Wilson in the 1920s, and including David Marsden, Christopher Kennard, Richard Hughes through to the immediate past editor Martin Rossor. I also look forward to working closely with our companion journal, Practical Neurology, in consort with Charles Warlow. Rather than simply chasing impact factors, our concern will be impact itself.

The team and I look forward to the challenges and triumphs ahead. With editorial representation that spans the globe, from London to Sydney, the sun will never set on the JNNP.

New editor Professor Matthew C Kiernan.

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