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My escape from the lab: scientific publishing - 1st year Grad Students & Undergrads

Matteo Cavalleri
February 17, 2021

My escape from the lab: scientific publishing - 1st year Grad Students & Undergrads

Across the world and across disciplines, numbers reveal that the term “alt-ac” – referring to positions within higher education and research alternative to the professoriate – is a misnomer. Permanent academic jobs are, in fact, the “alt-ac”. In this talk, I’ll share my (happy) experience going from a computational chemistry lab to my current career on the “other side” of scientific publishing, and explore roles for STEM Ph.D.s in the publishing industry. Talk especially tailored for 1st Year Grad Students & Undergrads.

Matteo Cavalleri

February 17, 2021

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  1. Wiley My escape from the lab: scientific publishing Dr Matteo

    Cavalleri, Publisher, Materials Science & Physics, WILEY @physicsteo 11 December 2020, UoIChem linkedin.com/teowaits
  2. Who I am M.S. in Chemistry (1999) PhD in Chemical

    Physics (2005) PostDoc 2005-2008
  3. Why publish? •Fame •Recognition by peers •Fortune •Promotions •Grant applications

    •Establish precedence •Responsibility •Taxpayer-funded research • Making your research public • “If your research does not generate papers, it might just as well not have been done.” –George Whitesides • Papers provide the shoulders that others can stand on
  4. Why journals? -REGISTRATION: Recording author precedence and merit -VALIDATION: Quality

    control via peer-review -DISSEMINATION: Sharing results and methods -ARCHIVING: Maintaining records of publication And more recently: -SEARCH & NAVIGATION: Increasing the discoverability
  5. What is the peer-review process? “Peer review is the critical

    assessment of manuscripts submitted to journals by experts who are not part of the editorial staff”-International Committee of Medical Journals Editors WHAT IT CANNOT DO (*) WHAT IT SHOULD DO -Filter out bad/uninteresting work -Make as sure as possible the work is reported correctly -Make sure results are interpreted correctly, and convincingly -Improve the quality of publication -Detect fabrication -Prevent duplicate publication -Pick the most interesting papers -Ensure quality -Ensure the article is right for the journal (*) AUTOMATICALLY
  6. Accept, reject, or revise? -REJECTION - Without external referee reports

    (Editor) - Based on reports -REVISION - Reconsideration or resubmission possible after major revisions -ACCEPTANCE - Without changes (rare) - With minor changes The decision is the Editor’s job…the reviewer ‘s recommendation is not a vote -- it’s advice!
  7. The editorial office EXTERNAL EDITORS IN-HOUSE EDITORS …all ACS, T&F,

    OUP, most Elsevier, most Springer-Nature, Elsevier, Wiley journals… …+ some APS, RSC, IOP titles, Cell Press, EMBO, Science, PLOS, The Lancet…
  8. The editorial office EXTERNAL EDITORS IN-HOUSE EDITORS Work full time

    on journal – can dedicate more time and resources on new developments General view PhDs, PostDocs wanted! Have own research group Expert in specific field Vacancies not posted, not for early-stage career researchers BOTH: peer-review, decision making, dealing with appeals, commissioning, conference participation and lab visits, writing news stories, contributing to “input” marketing …
  9. Who I am (Typical) M.S. in Chemistry (1999) PhD in

    Chemical Physics (2005) PostDoc 2005-2008 Most editors are PhD-trained scientists… often with PostDoc experience. Own research experience is invaluable!
  10. What I did all day* @WileyCTChem http://q-chem.org • Founded in

    1967, in-house editorial office since 2011 • Expanded scope, new look, online only • Rapid peer-review, fast publication processes *Work days are pretty reasonable, actually
  11. Publishing is a career for PhDs Peer-Review Editor (2008-2010), Berlin

    Associate Editor (2010-2012), NYC Editor-in-Chief (2012-2020), NYC Executive Editor (2017-2020) & Publisher (Present)
  12. Where I work HOBOKEN, NJ • Founded in 1807 in

    NYC • Headquarters in Hoboken, NJ • Publicly listed in NYSE • ~5000 staff worldwide • ~1700 journals • ~9000 books …in partnership with 1085 organizations (865 scholarly societies, + institutes, universities, governments,…)
  13. Where I work HOBOKEN, NJ • Founded in 1807 in

    NYC • Headquarters in Hoboken, NJ • Publicly listed in NYSE • ~5000 staff worldwide • ~1700 journals • ~9000 books …in partnership with 1085 organizations (865 scholarly societies, + institutes, universities, governments,…) View from the office (not my office) #WorkFromHome #FlattenTheCurve
  14. Journal Editor: A day in the life OUTREACH DAY-TO-DAY MANAGEMENT

    OF A JOURNAL • Read manuscript submitted to the journal • Identify and assign manuscript to reviewers (or sub-Editors) • Make editorial decisions • Solicit manuscripts and special issues • Deal and resolve (hopefully!) ethical issues regarding submissions/published papers • Collaborate with editorial, production, marketing team • Work closely with authors, reviewers, other editors • Beta testing new publishing technologies • Help authors to disseminate their work further • Attend international conferences • Workshops, lab/institution visits
  15. In-house editors: Life as a pro …AND WHAT WE ARE

    NOT… • Active in research (not even part-time!) • Lone wolves & hermits WHAT WE ARE… • Full-time employees of a publisher • Former researchers (PhD, often PostDoc experience) • Working in small editorial team (1~20 ppl), supported by editorial board • Work (mostly, especially initially) from the publisher’s offices* • Holding different titles (EiC, associate,..) depending on experience & responsibility • Responsible for peer-review process and editorial decisions • Responsible for content commissioning • The face of the publisher in the community, voice of researchers in the publisher *pre-COVID, at least
  16. What I do all day now Executive Editor & Publisher

    (Present) International in-house editorial team of 7, based in East Coast of US Lead US in-house editorial team (co-founded in 2010) Publisher of the Materials Science & Physics team Portfolio includes OA & subscription titles
  17. Publisher: A day in the life LAUNCH/ACQUISITION OF NEW PRODUCTS

    • New journals • Journal relaunches • Awards, conferences, workshops • Webinars, online courses STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF JOURNALS • Hire and train new editors • Roll out new publishing initiatives and processes • Planning, budgeting, and reporting (Editors don’t deal with finance!) • Develop common strategies and goals for portfolio/groups of journals • Bring the perspective of the researchers to the company • Collaborate closely with editors, marketers, other colleagues
  18. Other roles: Not just peer-review MANAGING EDITOR/JOURNAL PUBLISHING EDITOR •

    Scientific background (sometimes, but not always) • Support academic EiC, liaison with production and marketing team • Can be involved in making desk rejections DEVELOPMENTAL/ACQUISITION EDITOR • Scientific backgrounds (often) • Commission articles and special issues • Responsible for acquisition/launch/improvement of scholarly products • Common role in book publishing COPY EDITOR • Scientific background (often at MS/BS level, not PhD) • Responsible for proof-reading manuscripts • Mostly present in ”apex” titles, major brands
  19. PhD sightings in STEM publishing… SCIENTIFIC WRITERS/JOURNALISTS (often freelancers) PRODUCT

  20. What’s hot & what’s not …AND WHAT I WOULD DO

    WITHOUT • Journal/process development can be slow and frustrating • Angry authors are difficult to deal with • Fraud/Ethical violations are not uncommon and very exasperating! • Sometimes I miss coding, hacking hardware (being a “lab-rat”) • Career progression after Editor-in-Chief not easy WHAT I LOVE… • It’s a career at the “center of science” • Entrusted the knowledge of entire disciplines • Bird’s-eye view over science, see best results 1st! • Contact with the scientific community • Add & participate to the scientific debate and progress • Plenty of (international) travel* • Real possibility of professional growth *pre-COVID, at least
  21. What is a good editor made of? … BUT YOU

    WON’T LOVE IT IF YOU … • love being in the lab and doing research • enjoy being the world expert in a specific subject • don’t like changing topics several times a day • hated writing your thesis IT MAY BE THE JOB FOR YOU IF YOU … • are passionate for science communication • recognize the importance of publishing in the scientific process • are curious about a broad range of topics & disciplines • know the art of diplomacy and have people skills • have analytical and decision-making skills • are creative, with an eye for detail (and the “next big thing”) ENGLISH IS THE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE • Publishing not restricted to native speakers anymore • BUT, you need to be fluent in communicating science with it
  22. Wiley is wonderful. Really, but other places are available…. and

    more… In-house editors wanted: Other roles: