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Editor Spotlight: Olujide Arije

In this month’s editor spotlight, Dr. Olujide Arije talks about his editorial process of achieving a thorough assessment of manuscripts, his focus on health services research, and his thoughts on open science.

Dr. Olujide Arije, a public health expert with a PhD from the University of Witwatersrand and an MBBS from the University of Ibadan, is a distinguished fellow of both the West African and the National Post Graduate Medical Colleges, specializing in Community Health and Public Health, respectively. His educational achievements are expanded with a postgraduate diploma from Erasmus University Rotterdam and an MBA from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.

As a Senior Research Fellow and Consultant Public Health Physician at Obafemi Awolowo University and a former Visiting Investigator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Arije’s work reflects a profound commitment to advancing public health, particularly through his contributions to a mixed methods research approach. This approach underscores the importance of integrating quantitative and qualitative data to enrich understanding and develop comprehensive strategies for public health challenges.

To me, open science means: 1) Accessibility of Research Outputs, 2) Transparency in the Research Process, and 3) Engagement with the Public and Stakeholders.

Olujide Arije

You provide a thorough assessment of manuscripts both as an Academic Editor and a reviewer. What’s your process?

In my capacity as an Academic Editor and reviewer, the responsibility of evaluating manuscripts is pivotal to upholding the integrity, quality, and relevance of the research we publish. My assessment process starts with an examination of the manuscript’s title to verify its clarity and suitability. I then delve into the introduction, paying close attention to the literature review to gauge how well the manuscript sets the stage for the research, articulates its aims, and underscores its contribution to the scholarly community. I scrutinize the the methodology section rigorously, evaluating the research design, data collection, and analytical methods for their appropriateness and thoroughness, including aspects like sample size, data sources, analytical tools, and ethical issues. As I read through the results, my focus is on their clarity and the logical organization, while for the discussion I look for how the authors integrate their findings into the broader academic discourse, highlighting the research’s implications, acknowledging its limitations, and suggesting directions for future inquiry. Usually, I expect the conclusion to succinctly encapsulate the key discoveries and their significance, offering grounded recommendations for practice, policy, or further studies.

My review extends to verifying the completeness of references, the clarity and correct labeling of tables and figures, ensuring they enrich the manuscript’s narrative. I believe this approach guarantees that manuscripts that are accepted are of the highest standards of academic integrity and contribute substantively to the knowledge domain. Interestingly, I reserve the abstract for last, preferring to critique it with a fully informed perspective on the study’s objectives, methodology, results, and conclusions, thereby ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the authors’ presentations.

On the editorial side, an additional responsibility involves identifying suitable reviewers, prioritizing those with specific content or methodology expertise. My strategy often involves consulting ORCID profiles to ascertain a good fit. Given the high likelihood of declines, I find it pragmatic to extend invitations to a broad pool of potential reviewers, aiming to secure the best match for each manuscript’s review process.

As a physician, what draws you to health services research for young people? Why is using both quantitative and qualitative methods important to this field?

As a physician, the draw to health services research, especially concerning young people, stems from a desire to understand and improve the healthcare system’s ability to meet their unique needs. Young people face specific health challenges and navigating the transition from pediatric to adult care can be complex. Research in this area aims to identify barriers to access, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and understand the health outcomes of various services.

Using both quantitative and qualitative methods is crucial because it allows for a comprehensive understanding of health services. Quantitative methods provide measurable data on the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of health services. In contrast, qualitative methods offer insights into the experiences, preferences, and values of young people and healthcare providers. This mixed-methods approach enables a more nuanced understanding of health services, informing more effective and tailored interventions. We may know ‘what’ but we also need to know ‘why’, and mixed methods research is the solution to this.

What does open science mean to you?

Open science represents a broad movement towards more transparent, accessible, and collaborative scientific research.

To me, open science means:

1. Accessibility of Research Outputs: Ensuring that scientific publications, data, and methodologies are freely available to the research community and the public. This includes publishing in open access journals, sharing data in public repositories, and using open-source software.

2. Transparency in the Research Process: Encouraging the publication of research protocols, raw data, and negative results to increase the reproducibility and integrity of scientific research.

3. Engagement with the Public and Stakeholders: Involving non-scientists in the research process through citizen science projects and public engagement initiatives, thereby democratizing science and enhancing its societal relevance.

I believe that open science aims to enhance the quality, efficiency, and impact of research by making it more inclusive, collaborative, and transparent.

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

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