Reflecting on 18 months as the Editorial Fellow to Age and Ageing

Peter Brock is in his penultimate year of geriatrics training having taken a year out of programme as a research fellow in the Northumbria Parkinson’s disease department. He is the current chairman of AEME, having started out sat in the audience of the first G4J in 2013. He is currently an Editorial Fellow with Age and Ageing, and is completing his Masters in Medical Education at Newcastle University. He tweets @PeteBrock7

18 months ago I began work as Editorial Fellow for Age and Ageing. With my time in the role coming to an end and applications now open for the next fellow, this blog is an opportunity to share my experiences for any interested trainees.

The role of Editorial Fellow is a little bit of a gift for whichever geriatrics trainee gets to take it on. There is no service provision involved, it is pure learning and opportunity, something that is rather rare in my training experience. I have been in the post alongside being a full time clinical Geriatrics reg and the level of work involved has been adaptable to my own level of free time.

At the core of the job is shadowing an Associate Editor to learn their role (I have been very fortunate to have Adam Gordon as my mentor), seeing how decisions on manuscripts are made and how this reflects the ethos and standards of the journal. With time that has evolved into me acting as an Associate Editor for papers with the guidance of Adam. As a trainee this essentially gives you one to one tutoring on how to peer review and how to interpret the views of others, a chance to put your opinion out there and have your mentor feedback on your ideas.

In addition, I have been involved in an audit of editor decisions, which gave me an insight into the pressures and importance of this role. I have been present at the Editorial Board meetings and got to express my ideas and opinions on any matter of journal business that came up. I was also involved in analysing the results of a readership survey and got to be part of updating the journal’s social media strategy.

There is more to the journal than just reviewing papers. It is a business, operating in a competitive world, yet relying on the goodwill and time of many people to operate. That in itself is a fascinating process to observe and be part of – there is an education in leadership and management to be gained from seeing all that take place.

I am the first person to have been an Editorial Fellow with Age and Ageing and I was delighted when the board decided to renew the role. When I applied I was someone who was interested in research in geriatrics but I was also frustrated how often that research seemed unrelated to clinical practice, that the journal that was delivered through my door was unengaging in its layout and that the international brand of Age and Ageing was limited to just journal production. Has being an Editorial Fellow caused all those frustrations to disappear? Not yet, but having my ideas and opinions welcomed by the Editorial Board while I learned about the reality of journal production has been a valuable experience for me and perhaps even for the journal itself. I hope that the voice of trainees continue to be heard through the Editorial Fellows for years to come.

For those interested in applying for the post all details are available HERE.

Acknowledgements: My thanks to Adam Gordon, Katy Ladbrook, David Stott, Rowan Harwood and the rest of the Editorial Board of Age and Ageing for their help and support for my work as Editorial Fellow.


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