From having been hidden away in tiny session rooms with a few enthusiasts who already knew each other, the theme of child development has gained quite some momentum. A crucial factor has been the Lancet’s publication of the Child Development Series calling the attention to early development as a global issue with enormous implications for the future. It was therefore not that difficult a decision to attend the session hosted by Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet. For those of you who are not into research: publishing in The Lancet is the big dream of many of us researchers. Especially of those who won’t admit it… So when The EDITOR of The LANCET promises to give you advice on how to get published – you get up, skip breakfast, jump into a taxi, and stand there at 7.30 to listen.
I am not usually that easy to impress, but do I have a weakness for sparklingly intelligent men! (I even managed to marry one.) When they couple that with integrity, a sense of purpose, and a humble love of science, well let’s just say I am ok with him being the editor of The Lancet. I hope he has women of the same calibre working with him because I need women like that to admire more than anything else. Anyway, Richard Horton expressed the exact same concerns about peer review as a process, as I have written about in my Parents and Peers post which is a bit reassuring – at least we all know it’s a biased and conserving process. So I don’t have to feel that bad for having been rejected just recently. I will try again and in fact make an effort to keep his advice: we need to be telling a story that is important, exciting, relevant, and as true as possible. Scientific writing tends to be a killer of stories so striking that balance seems crucial.
Yesterday, there was a fashion fare on at the same time in this huge exhibition centre. All the women in the impossibly high heels where headed to the fashion fare and all of us in the comfy shoes were off to the paediatric conference. And do I love these wonderful colleagues in the comfy shoes! For an introvert like me, networking events and conferencing would be a major pain was it not for the deep and real conversations I can have with these great people. So we take our comfy shoes that allow us to walk down the riverside, take a coffee and discuss patients, science, and life. I think working with child development keeps you near the source of life itself. It risks keeping to rock your world in all kinds of ways, never quite letting you settle down for anything less than a great world for children to grow up in. Clearly we have got some work to do.