Q&A: Rod Cookson, the new managing director of IWA Publishing

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By Jonathan Andrews

What experience are you bringing to your new role?
Since studying geography at the University of Liverpool, I have spent more than 20 years publishing books, journals and related products for a variety of scholarly and educational publishing houses. Most recently I was responsible for medical journal publishing at Taylor & Francis, and for eight years before that I ran environmental, earth and biological science journal publishing at Taylor & Francis.
My goal has always been simple: to help researchers and practitioners communicate their work quickly and clearly to their peers and other interested individuals worldwide.
Will there be a change in the number of titles produced or perhaps new titles launched?
Water is one of those wonderful research fields that continually evolves and expands, as the questions it asks–and invariably answers–are so central to human life. On that basis, IWA has launched a variety of innovative journals over the past decade, covering topics from water reuse and desalination to the system-level challenges of climate change and global health. We expect to continue that tradition in the coming years, launching new journals where we can see that they will bring genuine benefit to the community.
If there is an area in which you think IWA should start a new journal, please contact me directly at rcookson@iwap.co.uk.
Will you be actively seeking new authors and contributors to the line up of journals?
We are keen to publish quality research from wherever it comes, and to bring new authors and reviewers into the IWA publishing family. Research and practice don’t stand still, and neither should our journals. Twenty years ago, for example, IWA published almost no research from China, but now it is one of our largest sources of published articles. The world changes, and it does so with increasing rapidity.
What would you advise those considering to submit a paper or review? Are you looking for anything in particular?
On behalf of our busy book and journal editors, I would stress a few basic points of good practice. Do make sure that what you are submitting is in scope for the title in question. Make sure your language is clear and easily understood. If in doubt, there are reputable language advisers who can help. And if you are invited to review a paper, please respond promptly–whether you are able to undertake the review or not.
Those points of etiquette aside, we hope that we can find a home for all high-quality water research in an IWA title–be it a new study with a familiar technique, a review of current thinking in a specific area or a revolutionary new approach which could reshape an entire field.

We are keen to publish quality research from wherever it comes, and to bring new authors and reviewers into the IWA publishing family. Research and practice don’t stand still, and neither should our journals

Does IWAP assist in the promotion of published work?
There is much that IWA can do to promote your article or book once it is published. We will be communicating about new initiatives to extend this even further as 2016 unfolds. We additionally welcome our authors’ efforts to publicise their own work, be that through departmental websites, social media posts or in person at conferences. The more you tell people about your work, the greater its impact will be.
We are also eager to keep improving our publishing services. In the course of 2016 IWA Publishing will be circulating an author survey to better understand how our publishing can serve the community.

Anyone interested in submitting a journal article can find information about the scope of each title online at www.iwapublishing.com/journals, or contact Maggie Smith to discuss new book projects, msmith@iwap.co.uk