After just over 10 years as European and Senior Editor of Journal of Endocrinology, Hindrik Mulder finished his stint in the summer. Shortly afterwards, he was approached whether he wanted to succeed the present editor-in-chief of Diabetologia, Sally Marshall, who will leave the post at the end of 2020.
- As a researcher, it is a great honour to be extended this trust. It is also a recognition, of sorts, that diabetes research in Sweden generally, and at Lund University in particular, has a strong international standing. The fact that I am active at Lund University Diabetes Centre, where we have created a strong environment for clinical, genetic and experimental research, probably made me a suitable candidate, he says.
Following his towering figures
- It is humbling, but also daunting, to assume a position that has been held by towering figures in diabetes research, says Hindrik Mulder. These include Claes Hellerström (1989–1992), who developed a technique for isolating the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, a cluster of cells that consist mainly of beta cells, which produce insulin, and alpha cells, which produce glucagon. These two hormones regulate blood sugar and metabolism. The technique has been instrumental for understanding how the beta cells function and how they can be utilised for transplantation in patients with type 1 diabetes. Another great editor was Werner Creutzfeld (1973–1976), whose research was ground-breaking, as his group was among the first to study the incretin hormones GIP and GLP-1 in the 1970s. It was not until the 1990s that research within the field really took off and today a widely used therapy for type 2 diabetes is based on GLP-1. A more recent editor-in-chief of Diabetologia was Juleen Zierath, from the Karolinska Institute, who went on to become the Chair of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), as well member of the Nobel Committee.
Conducts out patient clinic
Hindrik Mulder conducts a weekly outpatient clinic for diabetes patients at Skåne University Hospital and is a Professor of Metabolism at Lund University. His research examines disease mechanisms in the insulin-producing beta cells in type 2 diabetes. In addition to research and teaching, he is also a member of the LUDC management group and a board member of the strategic research area EXODIAB.
- Being the editor-in-chief of a research journal is another way of being deeply involved in scientific processes, he says.
The most important journal
Diabetologia is the journal of the EASD. Together with Diabetes, the research journal of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Diabetologia is ranked as the most important journal for diabetes research.
- The established research journals are our most important channels for communicating research and medically significant information to the wider world, says Hindrik Mulder.
He wants research to be more prominent in the social debate as a force counteracting the current surge in fact resistance and dumbing down.
“On social media, anyone can claim anything, and many people listen to this. Those of us who represent established science must step up. But, it is a challenge to reach out to society and inform in a way that the many people can understand and grasp.”
Even though the journal is now fully digital, publishing is adapted to the monthly printed edition, which has a limited print run. Every year, the journal receives around 2 000 manuscripts.
For an article to be published in Diabetologia, the manuscript must first be approved by the editor-in-chief. Almost 70 per cent of manuscripts are sifted out immediately without being reviewed externally – a process referred to as triage. Manuscripts deemed to be suitable for the journal are processed by an assistant editor, typically an expert in the field, who is assisted by external reviewers. To survive this stringent process, the manuscript must fulfil Diabetologia’s stringent requirements of a relevant topic, high quality and great news value. Only 10 to 15 per cent of manuscripts submitted to the journal are published.
Will it be easier now for researchers at LUDC to publish in Diabetologia?
- There is a risk that it rather will be a little tougher for manuscripts from LUDC. I don’t want to attract criticism for favouring someone, even though I do think that research from LUDC is of the highest international standard…