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Editor Spotlight: Innocent Ijezie Chukwuonye

In this Editor Spotlight, Dr. Innocent Ijezie Chukwuonye discusses his PLOS ONE editorial board experience, the importance of collaboration between clinicians and researchers, and his advice to early-career researchers.

Dr. Innocent Ijezie Chukwuonye is a patient-oriented clinician-researcher, consultant physician and nephrologist. He is the head of the renal unit (2007-present) at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Abia State, a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. He is also serving as a senior lecturer in the internal medicine department at the College of Health Sciences, Gregory University Uturu.

Previously, he was the head of clinical services and training (2013–2017) and internal medicine and psychiatry (2009–2013) at the hospital. He studied medicine at the University of Ibadan and completed his residency program (National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria) in internal medicine at the University of Jos.

The editorial responsibilities have helped me improve my ability to pay attention to even the smallest details… By handling the manuscripts… I have also learned how to be objective in the peer review process.

Innocent Ijezie Chukwuonye

What drew you to contribute as Academic Editor at PLOS ONE? How does this experience complement your work as a physician and a researcher?

I was drawn to PLOS ONE because of its rigorous peer review process, indexing status, reputation, free access, and policies for authors. I have a deep admiration for the journal from my days as a resident doctor and have always looked forward to publishing with colleagues in the journal.

To be an Academic Editor at PLOS ONE, I need to have strong writing skills. The editorial responsibilities have helped me improve my ability to pay attention to even the smallest details. In addition, by handling the manuscripts that are entrusted to me, I have also learned how to be objective in the peer review process.

You are a nephrologist and a researcher who collaborates with other researchers to conduct population-based studies on noncommunicable diseases. Why is collaboration between clinicians and researchers important? How can it help advance the healthcare field?

Collaboration between clinicians and researchers is important because both have knowledge in their respective fields, and during collaborative work, this knowledge is synergized with a better outcome. Research collaboration can often lead to innovative solutions.

By working with the researchers, clinicians can broaden their knowledge of the study subject. They can combine their clinical experience with the researchers’ findings and come up with better treatment options for the patients, with consideration for each patient’s specific situation.

On the other hand, working with the clinicians helps researchers benefit from the knowledge of their colleagues. It also enhances the efficiency and quality of the research and leads to a better understanding of how to manage patients in the health care system.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to early-career researchers?

Attend conferences and seek out networking opportunities whenever possible. They will be your best resource in laying the groundwork for your research as well as improve your presentation and communication skills. Networking with other researchers also help build relationships crucial to your research career over the course of time.

Having a good mentor is also important. Mentors can provide a framework for your thinking as well as guide you in gaining relevant skills in your research. They can also be your advocates and motivators in your path towards being a successful researcher.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by contributors are solely those of individual contributors, and not necessarily those of PLOS.

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