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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

“NIDA Notes” Editor Anderson Retires After 20 Years

David Anderson

"NIDA Notes" Editor David Anderson recently retired.

NIDA Notes Editor David Anderson has retired after 20 years at the helm of NIDA’s signature science publication. When he arrived at NIDA in 1999, the biweekly newsletter was printed in 2 colors and had a mailing list of around 16,000 subscribers. Under his leadership, the publication now enjoys more than 1 million online views each year.

In 2006, Anderson updated the publication to a 4-color format, and in 2007 published the article “Drugs and Neurotransmission,” the first of a series of reference articles which, after a 2017 update, continues to be the most-read article every month. In 2012, he led the switch to a digital-only publication over the objections of many readers who loved seeing the printed NIDA Notes in their mailboxes every other month. Avid fans soon realized the advantages of the online format, which gave NIDA the ability to post journal article summaries more quickly—linking to the journals themselves—and offering a platform for animations and videos. 

In 2014, Anderson published the first installment of his “Narratives of Discovery” series, hoping to offer readers an intimate look at the complex and often agonizing journey of a research career. The stories followed selected grantees in their quest to develop breakthrough addiction treatments. One series, now four installments long, is still chronicling the work of University of Kentucky grantee Dr. Linda Dwoskin as she works to develop a compound to treat methamphetamine addiction.   

Anderson also developed the NIDA journal Science & Practice Perspectives (later titled Addiction Science & Clinical Practice)—the first journal to initiate a direct conversation between researchers and clinicians as they reviewed and commented on each other’s articles. The journal published 10 issues, and in 2011 was handed off to Boston University School of Public Health, where it continues to be published with its original translational mission.

Anderson set a high standard while translating complex scientific concepts in the challenging field of drug use and addiction. With each NIDA Notes article, he illuminated and honored the work of NIDA-funded investigators, with a profound respect for the science. 

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