Maria Meuleman is the Editorial Assistant for the International Journal for Parasitology (IJP), and was made a Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology in 2009.

Citation and reflections

Maria Anna Meuleman

Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology

The International Journal for Parasitology (IJP) is sponsored by the Australian Society for Parasitology (ASP). It is a source of great pride for the Society and financial support of many of our projects. Maria Meuleman has served the Society as editorial assistant for the IJP on several occasions since 1995 and continuously since 2000. This includes a shift from Sydney to Melbourne. Maria’s role has been to support the Editor-in-Chief in every aspect of handling papers for the Journal and running the Journal Office. She has a significant role in holding the members of the editorial team together.

During her period of tenure the profile and status of the journal have increased at an exceptional rate. The major features are increasing submissions, impact factor and income to the Society. Submissions now top 600 articles per year. Thirteen of the last 14 years have seen increases in impact factor from 1.2 in 1995 to nearly 3.5 in 2007, so that it is now the leading research based journal publishing exclusively in parasitology. Income has also steadily increased and represents the major income stream for the Society.

Maria has provided much of the support to underpin this advance and remains an integral part of that success. During this time she has worked with 5 different Editors-in-Chief and 4 Elsevier representatives. The continuity of her role provides significant corporate memory of the activities and practices of the Journal. A major driver for the success and the ever-improving metrics has been Maria’s commitment to the rapid and efficient processing of papers. Statistics for a period in 2005 place the IJP above all other journals in the area. Reports indicate that the average time from submission of papers were: Editors assigned, 1.1 days; reviewers invited in 5.3 days and reviews completed in 21.4 days. Maria was also involved in pioneering improvements not yet adopted by other journals including email submission, on line editing, on line submission (Elsevier Electronic Submission) including the design of the interface components and the Society Service for free member access to papers. Maria also provided an electronic presence for the IJP and her polite, but persistent pursuit of late reports not only helps speed the process, but also lets the scientific community know the IJP is serious about the process. She is also a key point of contact for the Specialist Editors.

The IJP’s success, and in turn the flourishing of the ASP, owes a great deal to the professionalism, high standards, commitment and passion Maria has displayed for more than a decade in her role as Editorial Assistant. She is the lynch pin of the Journal.

Maria has provided conspicuous service to the ASP and deserves the award of Fellow of the Society.

Maria Meuleman, FASP, 2009, reflects here on being a Fellow of the ASP.

My introduction to IJP, and consequently ASP, was in 2005, after being retrenched from CSIRO Animal Health at the old McMcMaster Laboratory at Sydney University, where I worked in administration and dealt with people including John Steel, Peter Waller, Des Hennessy, Rob Dobson, Liz Barnes, Ern Lacey, David Emery, David Ali, Michelle Power and many others.

Alan Donald was IJP Editor-in-Chief and had an office in the new CSIRO McMaster Laboratory at Prospect. Our lovely receptionist, Michelle Shalhoub, became the IJP Editorial Assistant. However, the distance to Prospect lead to Michelle leaving and I was asked to fill in for a few months, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Camille Sainsbury, a wonderful lady who replaced Michelle, moved across to work with Alan Johnson as the next Editor-in-Chief at the University of Technology, Sydney. Camille decided to move on and I successfully applied for the job. I enjoyed working with Alan but after 18 months felt compelled to move on; however I was invited back, commencing in March 2000.

It was déjà vu moving to Sydney University to work with Nick Sangster in the old McMaster building. The move to Melbourne was timely and when Brendan Crabb later agreed to my working from home it began a new chapter. Alex Loukas and then Brian Cooke both enabled this arrangement to continue and with the current electronic system (and good communication) it works well.

I have enjoyed working with different Editors-in-Chief, Deputy Editors and Editorial Board members. Each person has something different to offer. I am fond of them all and feel sad when they move on but ‘change is good’ is the motto I try to embrace.

Attending the conference and helping on the registration desk gives me great pleasure and the opportunity to meet and catch up with people. I love meeting new PhD students and watching their confidence increase each year until eventually they are bringing their own students to the conference. I also enjoy the down-to-earth nature of parasitologists. They are good to be around.

My IJP job keeps getting busier; electronic systems have in many ways increased, rather than decreased, the workload but I still love it. One of the best things is knowing that IJP helps to generate income for the ASP which supports students and parasitology in so many ways. It feels wonderful to be able to contribute to that in some small way and I enjoy building relationships with editors, authors and referees.

Being made an ASP Fellow was very special and is always a reminder that hard work is appreciated.