I presume that all new journal editors grapple with the question of what the roles of an editor are. I had assumed before accepting “the mantle” that the role is chiefly that of gatekeeper–ensuring the integrity of the peer-review process, and that the journal articles are of good quality. As LIBRES receives many submissions from developing countries, where library and information science (LIS) research is not so well-developed and the native language is not English, the editor has other roles that are equally important–those of gold prospector, diamond polisher and pioneer explorer.
As a gold prospector, I work with the editorial board to identify “good stuff” in otherwise uneven papers, and then mentor the authors to revise their papers to highlight the main contribution. Some papers require extensive editing to polish the papers for readability. The editor also has to guide the journal to establish its identity and areas of strength. In that regard, I work with the editorial board to identify new areas of LIS to champion through organizing thematic workshops and special-themed issues of LIBRES. A workshop on information behaviour on social media was organized at ISIC: The Information Behaviour Conference 2014 that led to an issue of LIBRES with a special section on the topic. Special issues on ontology, digital curation and other topics are being planned. The effort and care of the editorial board members are important in supporting these three roles of the editor, and I thank them for coming with me on this voyage of discovery.