It is with a sense of both honour and challenge that we take over the role, jointly, as Senior Editors of The Lichenologist. The challenge is in no small part because the Editorial baton is passed to us from Peter Crittenden, who is universally acknowledged as a superb Editor for the journal. On behalf of the lichenological community, we thank Peter for his long and successful period of tenure as Senior Editor (2000–2019) (Fig. 1).
Peter has an eye for detail, but is also a strategist who has recognized and responded to major shifts in scientific research, combining these skills with a deep understanding of the publishing world. Consequently, The Lichenologist has grown to be ever more respected, be that as an ambition for early career researchers seeking those important first papers, or as the vehicle for integrative research published by lichenology's international experts.
Peter has been supportive in helping us to begin our editorial duties and patient as we come to understand the complexities of managing a successful international journal. We appreciate that The Lichenologist's current and future success is fully a team effort, and we look forward to working with colleagues at Cambridge University Press, our Associate Editors, our Copy Editor and proof readers, and a new Managing Editor – Jo Taylor – who is also part of the transition team to 2020 and beyond.
We are excited to introduce some changes. First, a new layout, seeking to simplify the formatting required by authors in the production process, and with an increased page size to accommodate larger figures, especially phylogenetic diagrams. Second, the opportunity for FirstView, allowing articles to be published ahead of pagination in order to speed up the publishing process. Third, a shortened review time to three weeks, while maintaining the rigour and quality of reviews. Fourth, we will provide authors with an opportunity to attain a broader audience for their research by working with the Cambridge University Press communications team. Fifth, we will seek to strengthen and aim to diversify the Editorial Board, and we are delighted to welcome three new Associate Editors to the team: Paolo Giordani, Tiina Randlane and Leopoldo Sancho.
The first issue of The Lichenologist (1958) contained seven articles, by five authors, all of them from Britain. By contrast, as we write this, the latest issue of The Lichenologist (Volume 51, part 5) contained six articles, though by 24 authors from nine different countries. Lichenology has become an internationally collaborative endeavour, and yet the original role of the journal ‘…to encourage the study of lichens…’ remains our central goal. We will achieve this by maintaining the journal as a place to unite and support the international community of lichenologists, disseminating and promoting your research.
Navigating The Lichenologist through today's changing publication landscape is, of course, not a one-way process and we aim to continue a constructive dialogue with authors; for instance, Cambridge University Press has introduced a post-publication survey to monitor author satisfaction. We hope this will drive us towards a better understanding of the priorities and expectations of our authors, undertaking practical action that improves the author experience. Ultimately, however, The Lichenologist is a community effort, guided by Editors and Associate Editors, delivered by a production team, but depending on authors and reviewers to uphold our shared scientific values and to support the journal by submitting their work. We hope that all the old friends of The Lichenologist will continue to provide their support as we warmly welcome new contributors and readers.