Why I Resigned as Provenance Editor

After four wonderful years, I have resigned as Provenance Editor. I originally planned to finish out my second term (another 2 years). However, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago, I signed a contract to write a book. Over the past couple months as I tried to balance being an editor and writing a book, I discovered that something needed to give.

As I explained to a colleague, being an editor and author use the same part of my brain that requires a lot of concentration, focus, and thought. Spending time editing/reviewing articles and then trying to research and write is quite taxing on both my brain and my motivation.

Many of us have the challenge of taking on too much and becoming stressed or burned out. And many of us have a hard time saying “no.” I’ve been practicing saying “no” over the past few years and am getting better. Often, we are afraid people will judge us for quitting. However, I believe that instead it’s more important to recognize our limitations. By doing so, it will be better all around. If I continued to be an editor and an author, likely both projects would suffer. And both are too important to me to let that happen. Instead, my resignation means that both will be successful – me being able to focus on the book and my successor as Editor will take Provenance to new heights.

When I took over, the previous editor encouraged me to do whatever I wanted with the journal. While it took time to learn the ropes, I definitely made it my own. Under my leadership, all the back issues are online, we moved to an online submission system, we are receiving more submissions than in the past, and there’s greater awareness of the journal. We have two special issues (one on advocacy and one with SNAP), with a third in the works.

I’ve learned more than I can possibly explain being an editor. Not only did I learn about publishing, but communication, needs of the profession, how to work with authors, practices and theories used by colleagues, and challenges of scholarship. I had great support from SGA and the Provenance Board. Most of all, the role cemented my passion about publishing as a focus for my professional activities. I dedicated what feels like countless hours to the journal over the past four years. While I will miss it, I am also relieved to know I can focus on one major project.

I am handing the reins over to Heather Oswald at Emory University. I told her what I was told, that she should take it and make it her own. As I’ve worked with her on the Provenance Board and as Associated Editor over the last couple years, I know she will continue to build upon what I’ve done as well as create new directions and initiatives. I’m excited to see what the future brings.

This decision has no impact on this blog. I am dedicated to continuing this as a platform to share ideas and practices about scholarly publishing in the profession. I’ll continue to use my experience as an editor and now as an author. There’s much to be said about publishing and I hope others continue to suggest ideas and contribute posts.

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