Spotlight - Jessica McArt

Name: Jessica McArt
Title: Associate Professor, Ambulatory and Production Medicine
Institution: Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
Role with Journal of Dairy Science:  Senior Editor, Health, Behavior, and Well-being section

Can you tell us a bit about your background, and what your current research is focused on?
I’m a dairy veterinarian by training and spent two years as a clinician before returning to graduate school in epidemiology. I joined the faulty at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014 and enjoy integrating clinical ambulatory work, veterinary student teaching, and applied research. At the McArt Dairy Cow Lab, we focus on periparturient metabolic diseases in dairy cows with particular emphasis on hyperketonemia and hypocalcemia. We are currently wading through data from recent projects looking at endocrine function in cows with differing calcium dynamics and investigating patterns of milk constituents in early lactation.

What advice do you have for grad students or other early-career scientists submitting their first manuscripts? What are common oversights you see?
Our editor-in-chief, Paul Kononoff, recently gave a series of webinars on the scope of JDS, how to develop a manuscript, and how to approach responding to reviewers. My students have found these quite helpful as they begin their first manuscript. I also encourage everyone to read the JDS Instructions to Authors (before you start writing), follow a reporting guideline checklist (make sure to address every applicable point, which is most of them), and find one to two papers that you really like and use their organizational style as a template (you want to write a reader-friendly manuscript). When you get bogged down in the Results or Discussion, go back to your objectives and focus on what you set out to answer. Find a friend to proofread your work who was’t involved in the project—then you’ll know if you were clear with your writing!

Why should authors publish in JDS?
JDS is a prestigious journal in which manuscripts are handled by experts in their respective fields. Authors receive fair peer reviews in a reasonable timeframe and get great support from our technical and editorial staff. As a premier journal in dairy foods and production, authors’ work will be highly visable and read by an audience worldwide.

What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing the dairy industry, and how is JDS part of the solution?
Public perception of the dairy industry, and food production systems in general, is a challenge when misinformation abounds. As an academic, I value scientific evidence as an integral part of food production. However, timely dissemination of this knowledge to the public in an understandable form is something with which many scientists struggle. JDS can be part of the solution through delivery of high-quality knowledge to large audiences, but we need to ensure that our delivery is reaching our target in a digestible form.