How an award-winning editor integrates his experience with his journal

The Source
By: Penny Freedman, Tue Aug 24 2021
Penny Freedman

Author: Penny Freedman

Serving as an Editor-in-Chief of a journal in the research community requires wearing many hats -- typically working on research, teaching or working in a research organization, publishing academic papers, and managing the needs of a journal alongside an equally busy editorial board. Finding a sense of balance can be a challenge. We spoke to Metin Sitti, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Micro-Bio Robotics who was named the winner of a breakthrough of the year award at Falling Walls. He shares insight and commentary on how he integrates his work with his responsibilities as an editor. 

Winner of Breakthrough Award Falling Walls
How do you balance/prioritize your research from the journal’s needs?

Research activities of my team are my highest priority compared to all other services and commitments I have as a director at the Max Planck Society. However, I balance my time to achieve and prioritise the journal’s needs by always working extra. 

How does your own research contribute to the impact of the journal?

My group’s core research activities lie in the topics of the journal related to micro- and biorobotics. We’ve submitted many papers to the journal in the past, and I have full understanding of the top papers, developments, and new directions in this exciting field. I also have direct access to the active international researcher network in this field who can contribute to the journal by submitting and reviewing top papers. Moreover, my group alumni became faculty and senior researchers in the industry around the world, and also contribute to the journal by submitting and reviewing papers. 

Would you ever consider publishing research in your own journal? 

I consider and have already published some of our group’s high-impact works in the journal to show the community that we value the journal as a core high-impact journal in our research field. However, we balance the number of papers we submit to the journal to diversify the journals that we publish our high-impact works in depending on their focus and which audience we’d like to reach.  

How does winning the Breakthrough of the Year Award influence your work on the journal? Has it been instrumental in attracting new authors or inspiring previous authors to publish more research with your journal? 

Such awards and recognitions enable me to expand my research activities and editorial and other roles to wider research networks and public internationally. Thus, through this award, I could access more potential authors to submit a high-impact research paper to our journal, and it would increase the prestige of our journal. 

What inspired the entrance to the Breakthrough Science award?  

I was nominated by the President of the Max Planck Society for this breakthrough award due to our outstanding research on small-scale medical robots. I was also nominated and received a Rahmi Koc Science Prize several years ago in Turkey, which is given to one world-wide pioneering Turkish-origin scientist in natural sciences, engineering or medicine every other year. Also, recently, I received the Best Paper Award in the Robotics Science and Systems Conference and was selected as the Cozzarelli Prize Finalist in PNAS journal, where two papers were selected out of 4000 papers published in 2020.

Do you have any tips or advice for editors looking to better integrate their editor work and research work? Systems or tools that have helped?

The most respected academic editors doing such service as part-time work are typically the ones who are also very research active in the given field. Therefore, it is essential to integrate such activity to the journal’s vision, community and activities. For this, we need to work effectively and use all available online communication tools to do more in a given limited time. 


Penny Freedman

Author: Penny Freedman

Penny Freedman is a Marketing Manager on the Author Experience & Services team based in the New York office. She works closely on sharing insight and guidance on the benefits and services available to our editors, reviewers, and authors.