Editorial direction

Dr Ciara Scott

As Dr Ciara Scott prepares to step down from her role as Honorary Editor of the Journal of the Irish Dental Association, she speaks about the Journal’s important role in providing information and education to dentists and wider society.

What is your professional background?
I qualified in Bristol, and completed my specialist orthodontic training in Dublin in 2005. Since then, I’ve practised in the HSE, I’ve been a supervisor in the Dublin Dental University Hospital, I’ve been an examiner with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and I also work in the Blackrock Clinic.

How did you first get involved in the IDA?
I’m a member of the Orthodontic Society of Ireland, and I was Orthodontic Rep on the IDA Council for a couple of years. That was really interesting and gave me a real insight into the IDA. I served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Irish Dental Association (JIDA) for a number of years, and was appointed Honorary Editor in 2018.

What led you to take on the role of Honorary Editor of the JIDA?
I applied for it because I’d really enjoyed my involvement on the Editorial Board. I was mindful that I came into the role with a different skillset from Prof. Stassen, the previous Editor. He was an academic, and I’m primarily a clinician, but I wanted to bring that as a strength, while learning more about the academic process and the publishing process. We have a culture of contribution, where everyone on the Editorial Board brings different strengths – our academics, our practitioners, our publishers, and our colleagues in IDA House, and I’ve really valued that support and collaboration. I was also attracted to the challenge, to doing something different that I could bring my clinical knowledge to. And having that networking with the publishers, the sponsors, the authors and peer reviewers, the Editorial Board and our readers – that’s something I’ve really enjoyed about it.

Why do you think the JIDA is important for the IDA and for Irish dentistry?
In one sense, we are an academic journal, and we do have a peer review process. But in another sense, it’s about providing quality content that our readers value, in a way that’s accessible. Most of our readers work primarily in general practice, so I have focused on how we can edit, commission and create content that’s appealing and valuable to them. The GDPs on the Editorial Board have played a key role in this.
Another of my goals was to provide a forum for PhD scholars and researchers in Ireland to share their work with other dentists and lead Irish dentists to their primary research papers. Good quality research should be accessible and I think the JIDA is the right forum for experts and academics in Ireland, and internationally, to share their knowledge and experience with the rest of us. One of the things the pandemic has shown is that there is a real appetite for good information, and the understanding that there are such things as trusted sources. I think it’s really important for us in our profession not to underestimate patients’ and professionals’ appetite for real science and quality information, and look for new ways to ensure that the JIDA continues to be a trusted resource for the profession.

What would you say to anyone who is considering applying for the position of Honorary Editor?
I would say go for it. I really enjoyed it. It has been a great learning curve; I felt very supported by Prof. Stassen when he handed over, and by the publishers, by Fintan, Liz and the IDA team, and by Siobhan and the Editorial Board. I also did a number of courses to improve my skills and connected with other journal editors. You don’t start a new role with all the skills, but when you’ve got good people around you, and you’re open to learning, then you can really enjoy it. I wanted to bring my own values and strengths to the role and I think a new editor will do the same, to move the Journal on to the next stage.

Ciara has literally travelled the globe, from sailing around the world to taking part in expeditions in Ghana, the Arctic and Antarctica, and has completed a number of cycling challenges. While the Covid-19 restrictions have halted travel and other activities, she says she has found a new appreciation of staying home, and completed a postgraduate diploma at the RCSI Centre for Positive Health during the last year.