Celebrating Journal Editors Wayne Gray and Rick Cooper

December 28, 2020

By Caroline Verdier, Managing Editor of Cognitive Science


I’ve been working with two extraordinary people for the past—well, who’s counting the years?  Wayne Gray and Rick Cooper will soon step down as the executive editors of their respective journals, Topics in Cognitive Science and Cognitive Science.  Wayne is the founder of topiCS, and Rick took over Cognitive Science at a critical juncture for the journal.

Some might think the two are mirror images of each other, the Tenerife surfer vs the Adirondack climber, but these are the characteristics that come flying at me when I think about them: thoughtful, colorful, articulate, polite, funny, strategic, fair, caring, forceful, patient, and above all smart, scholarly and hard-working. Despite their packed schedules, they always seem to put their journal duties first, and are as interested in the nit-picky details of running the journals as in the overarching field of cognitive science.

Wayne and I go way back, to the beginning of the journal, when the first year was an unending plea to authors (“please turn in whatever you have”), reviewers (“just tell us: accepted or rejected?”)  and the publisher (“final versions are — on their way — soon — ish”).  Interestingly, for Rick, it was the opposite problem:  we had a mega surplus of papers parked at the terminal, which we could only dribble out  a….few…….at……..a……..time.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to any of us to simply cobble a half-dozen CogSci papers together, and call it a topiCS issue.

I can’t tell you how much I’ll miss working with both Wayne and Rick: the behind-the-scenes strategizing, planning,  dashed hopes or expectations surpassed, griping, unloading, fretting, celebrating—who knew that running academic journals was so much like a soap opera?  I’ll leave off with snippets from their email, which showcase the dedication, enthusiasm and care of both editors:

Yes. Best if I don’t reply.

I wonder how prompt these irate authors are when they are reviewers.

As far as I can see, most authors treat the word count as a very rough guideline.

fingers are faster than the brain this morning . . .

Okay, doing this is easier than doing real work.

This does NOT mean that Caroline and I have been kicking back and knocking down the homebrews (in Caroline’s case) or craft beers (in my case).

Thank you for your email. Your submission has not got lost in the system.

Thank you for your query. I think the manuscript you describe is probably not for us.

I would like also to apologize for the length of time it has taken me to get to this.

Sorry about the slow response to your query.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you with your paper.

This won’t happen in 2017.

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