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Frances Watkins, Editorial Manager of HSJ, retires

After 27 years dedicated contribution to IAHS and its official journal, Hydrological Sciences Journal (HSJ), Frances Watkins retires on 26 February 2021.

Pictured left to right - Sara Rafferty (HSJ Editorial Assistant), Günter Blöschl (President IAHS), Christophe Cudennec (Secretary General IAHS), Attilio Castellarin (Editor-in-Chief HSJ), Frances Watkins (HSJ Editorial Manager), Helen Houghton-Carr (Company Secretary IAHS), Kate Heal (Treasurer IAHS), Claire Lupton (Executive Secretary IAHS) and Eilise Norris (Managing Editor Agriculture, Environment and Water for Taylor & Francis) in 2019.

There have been many changes in IAHS, HSJ and publishing over the past 27 years, but one constant – in addition to Frances - has been the location of the IAHS Office in Wallingford, UK, formerly the Institute of Hydrology (now the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), where Frances joined Penny Kisby and Jill Gash in November 1993. Frances’ first project was HSJ volume 39 (1994), which included 6 issues and about 700 pages. In those days papers arrived as hard copies by post, and were typed-up and edited in WordPerfect 5.1. To indicate the scale of changes since, the latest HSJ volume 65 (2020), contained 16 issues and 2826 pages, all handled electronically. The number of Associate Editors has increased from 30 to 60 and there are now three HSJ Co-Editors – Attilio Castellarin, Stacey Archfield and Aldo Fiori – building upon the advances of previous Editors - Terence O’Donnell, Zbigniew (Zbyszek) W. Kundzewicz, Demetris Koutsoyiannis, Mike Acreman and Ross Woods. To support the growth of HSJ, Sara Rafferty joined the IAHS Office as Editorial Assistant in 2017, focussing on the processing of papers and communications with Associate Editors and reviewers under the management of Frances. 

Frances manning the IAHS booth at the IUGG General Assembly in Prague in 2015.

The continued growth and success of HSJ over the past 27 years, whilst maintaining high scientific and linguistic standards, would not have been possible without Frances. Frances is renowned for her English language skills, high quality of work and attention to detail. She has used these to support the publication of papers from hydrologists all around the world, especially early career scientists, thus helping IAHS to fulfil its charitable mandate. As well as her HSJ duties, Frances worked on the production and copy editing of many IAHS Red Books. Frances has also developed excellent relations with Taylor & Francis, publishers of HSJ since 2010, who provide valuable expertise and promotion of HSJ, and now do most of the copy editing. Through all these activities, Frances supported Cate Gardner, who followed Penny Kisby as Manager of IAHS Press, until Cate’s retirement in 2015. 

Following the reorganisation of the IAHS Office under Cate’s leadership and the appointment of Claire Lupton as IAHS Executive Secretary in 2015, Frances has helped Claire maintain the friendly and efficient reputation of all IAHS operations. Many will recall Frances not just from her beautifully written emails, but from meeting her in person at the IAHS stand at Scientific and General Assemblies, or at HSJ editorial retreats. 

As with her careful work for HSJ, Frances’ retirement has been well-planned and organised. Frances gave advance notice of her intentions, enabling IAHS to appoint Lottie Rundall as HSJ Editorial and Production Coordinator in January 2020. This has allowed a 1-year handover to tap Frances’ encyclopaedic knowledge of HSJ before Lottie took over the HSJ Editorial Manager role.

Frances’ inputs to HSJ and IAHS have been outstanding over the past 27 years. She has overseen the publication of over two-thirds of HSJ pages ever published and tirelessly mentored HSJ Authors, Associate Editors, and Editors. Frances has achieved all this with her characteristic warmth and empathy, making the HSJ Editorial Team feel like a welcoming family. All the IAHS staff, HSJ Editors and Associate Editors, IAHS Officers past and present, and HSJ Authors send their best wishes to you, Frances, as you embark on a well-deserved retirement.

Kate Heal
Chair IAHS Ltd.

Appreciation shown to Frances at the annual board meeting of IAHS Ltd in 2021.
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