Xavier Thierry

editor-in-chief of ined.fr

(Interview conducted in December 2019)

What made you want to become editor-in-chief of the INED website?

I wanted to get involved in a collective activity again. In general, I’m extremely interested in the work of communicating and diffusing scientific content, which I discovered through the Elfe study [French Longitudinal Study from Birth]. I really enjoy making texts clear and concise and eliminating jargon. So it seemed interesting to me to try to use this personal orientation to serve researchers and their readers on the INED website.

What are a web head editor’s missions?

I would say there are five levels of responsibility.

- Ensuring at all times that information available on the INED website is up-to-date and clearly presented, so that the site reflects the Institute’s demographic research mission;
- Working collectively with website team members;
-Maintaining site traffic and increasing it as much as possible: in 2018 we had 1.63 million visitors;
-Offering new content that meets what we have reason to believe are our users’ needs and expectations—and never giving in to the risk of monotony in our activity!
-Systematically reading over scientific content with a scientifically trained eye.

What new features do you want to bring to the site?

My training as a demographer means that I am more preoccupied with numbers than letters! My past research on quantifying migration flows, and my current involvement in the Elfe surveys, naturally lead me to home in on the “Population in figures” section of the site. I’ve already identified ways of improving what we’re setting up for it. For example, INED was chosen by the United Nations Population Division to diffuse its new world population prospects in France. So we’ve been working on developing tables that will represent these highly probable projections of how people will be distributed over the earth from one continent or country to another in the second half of this century. We are also trying to simplify access to some figures.

What is the site’s editorial policy?

It’s very simple: to inform people clearly and quickly of INED research activities, new publications, scientific conferences and meetings, and all other relevant events. And to produce and diffuse more material designed for the general public, such as video interviews and animated instruction material. I also hope we will soon be designing new infographics for the site. Meanwhile, it is important for the site to reflects the Institute’s more institutionally focused activity as well.