Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Lessons from Dr. Kirchner

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Lessons from Dr. Kirchner

Article excerpt

Since 1976, I have been a consulting editor for research for JVIB along with Corinne Kirchner. Acknowledging that a 30-year trip down memory lane would require a novella rather than a brief comment, I will recall the high points of my education in research editing under the gentle, yet demanding, tutelage of Dr. Kirchner.

LESSON 1: MAINTAIN FERVOR FOR PRECISION

Dr. Kirchner has always maintained fervor for precision. Woe be upon the supplicant who implied unjustified precision in research results by exceeding Dr. Kirchner's unbending rules of appropriate decimal placement in the reporting of survey result proportions. Woe be upon the contributor who fishes through data and cherry-picks findings on the basis of the asterisks supplied by the statistical software used, disregarding Type I errors and misleading readers. In working with Corinne, I learned that honesty and rigor were essential for good research.

LESSON 2: EXTRACT SIGNAL FROM NOISE

In the old days before e-mail, JVIB articles were forwarded to reviewers by sending the physical document via postal mail from one editor to another. Since I was the only consulting editor not located at AFB headquarters, I was always last to receive the article under review. Since Dr. Kirchner was notoriously "flexible" in her adherence to deadlines, she was always next to last on the list. As a consequence, I benefited by being able to review manuscripts that were heavily notated with comments from my learned colleagues, especially Corinne. As a secondary consequence, I had to review manuscripts that had born the burden of Corinne's habits of reviewing articles while riding the subway and during her lunch periods, resulting in documents so obscured with physical trauma that the skills of a crime scene investigator were needed for decoding. …

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