The beginnings of Medical Manuscripts
Christine runs Medical Manuscripts from her home in Lynge, a village north of Copenhagen, where there are cows grazing in the meadows.
The next stage in the journey was when Christine attended a meeting organized by the European Association of Science Editors, which was held in Tunbridge Wells, UK. Communications expert John Kirkman gave an outstanding presentation. On her return to Copenhagen, her boss Professor Jørgen Rygaard, Editor-in-Chief of APMIS, received a glowing report; and a quick phone call led to a series of courses throughout Scandinavia taught by John and his team. The goal was to attract promising young researchers and encourage them to submit their articles to APMIS.
The groundwork had been laid.
Then one day everything came together: native English language, a British degree and teaching qualifications, experience as a Liberal Studies lecturer in the UK, wide teaching experience in Denmark, experience at the British Council Library, an understanding of what it takes to get a manuscript published, and inside knowledge of the workings of an editorial office.
Professor Mogens Holst Nissen, a former member of APMIS’s editorial board, was instrumental in setting up the first courses at Panum (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Copenhagen University). Christine kicked off by giving a presentation on Grammar and Usage as part of John’s course, shortly before his retirement. She was subsequently contacted by Bispebjerg Hospital, who invited her to set up her own course. This adventure was followed by many other courses, presentations, seminars and workshops at Panum and Rigshospitalet, and at other hospitals and research institutes, both in Denmark and abroad.
And the rest is history, as they say.
It was a unique combination of circumstances that led Christine Møller to establish Medical Manuscripts.
Christine arrived in Denmark intending to teach English to Danes, but was held back by her lack of Danish qualifications and her inability to speak their language. Needs must, however. So, instead of pursuing her anticipated career, she embarked on a succession of temporary teaching positions.
Marriage and two children followed. She eventually gave up the idea of teaching and took a full-time job at the British Council Library, where she could happily have stayed for the rest of her working days. Unfortunately, Margaret Thatcher had other ideas: she closed the library and sent all the books to Poland. Christine’s future looked bleak, but, as luck would have it, APMIS, the Scandinavian-based journal for pathology, microbiology and immunology, was advertising for an assistant at its editorial office.
One door closes and another door opens.
The tasks at APMIS initially included the registration of English manuscripts and correspondence, and later language revision, editing of texts, contact with the editorial board, authors and reviewers, and the organization of editorial meetings. Along the way, Christine learned about P-values, fake reviews, and the Impact Factor. She also learned that the most difficult parts of an assistant editor’s lot are getting reviewers to turn in their reviews and editors to clear their lists. Furthermore, she learned that if there is something wrong with a manuscript, it’s usually somebody else’s fault, as in the ‘I didn’t write that bit’ syndrome.