Dr. Barbara Gastel, professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences department at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, is this year’s recipient of the Council of Science Editors (CSE) Award for Meritorious Achievement. Gastel was presented the award on May 17 at the CSE’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
The award, the council’s highest honor, acknowledges achievements that highlight the CSE’s goal, which is improving scientific communication by pursuing high standards in all editing-related activities.
“It’s wonderful. I’m very touched,” said Gastel, in recognition of the award. “It is especially meaningful to me as it is not only an honor given by my peers in the field but one that has been previously given to some of the people I most admire in the field.”
The award is partly in recognition of Gastel’s 12-year editorship of Science Editor, the CSE journal, and its predecessor CBE Views. In addition to being of significant duration, Gastel’s editorial term was distinguished by her involvement of student interns in the journal’s publication.
“Barbara’s work as the editor-in-chief since 1998 of CBE Views and then Science Editor was crucial to the development of CSE and the promotion of good editorial practices,” said former CSE President and chair of the CSE’s Awards and Honors Committee, Dr. Ana Marusic. “Further, Barbara involved young students in the publishing of the journal, teaching them not only how to prepare excellent articles but about what it means to be an editor and science communicator.”
From degrees in medicine and public health from Johns Hopkins University to international recognition as an authority on science communication, Gastel’s career has traced an illustrious trajectory. Gastel’s noteworthy achievements extend beyond her service to the CSE, including four books-Presenting Science to the Public, Teaching Science: A Guide for College and Professional School Instructors, Health Writer’s Handbook and with Robert A. Day, How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper-and serving as the US coordinator for the China Medical Board Program in Biomedical Writing and Editing for the 12 years of its existence. Also, she has begun working with AuthorAID, an international endeavor to help researchers in developing countries publish their research in scientific journals.
The award is also the latest addition to a host of honors Gastel has received during her career, such as the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, the CSE Distinguished Service Award and the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Harold Swanberg Distinguished Service Award. She has also been named Honored Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.
Gastel will step down this month after serving a historic four consecutive terms as editor of Science Editor.
“A publication benefits from new blood and other people should have this experience,” she said, explaining her decision to resign as editor of the journal.
Although Gastel will continue to contribute to Science Editor, she aims to devote more time to her other projects. These include preparing the manuscript for the new edition of the book she coauthored with Robert A. Day (a previous recipient of the CSE Award for Meritorious Achievement), working on a CD module on medical terminology for AMWA and continuing to serve as the Knowledge Community Editor for AuthorAID.