Career Inspiration: Careers in Scientific Publishing

We welcomed the following four people currently working in scientific publishing to come and talk to students about their industry and careers.

**Ruth Francis – Head of Communications at BioMed Central (previous includes Head of Press Nature Publishing Group and Press Officer King’s College London and Cancer Research UK)

**Luke Fleet – Associate Editor at Nature Publishing Group (previous includes Assistant Editor Nature Communications and a PhD Physics, Quantum Nanoelectronics)

**Michael Osuch – Publishing Director for Neuroscience and Psychology journals at Elsevier (previous posts were at Nature, Informa and Wiley Publishing)

**Francesca Lake – Managing Editor, Future Science Group

The following are some of the suggestions they had for those who are seriously considering choosing scientific publishing.

  • Think carefully about what kind of organization you’d like to work in. There has been a lot of consolidation in the industry recently, meaning it is dominated by a small number of big players. These big firms may have very different organizational cultures: Elsevier for example has a conservative reputation, while NPG is considered by many to be more innovative.
  • The speakers said they look for candidates who are well-prepared and can talk about the company. Candidates who ask lots of questions and can build rapport will have an advantage.
  • Qualities that you should be able to demonstrate include motivation, interpersonal skills, and being organized. A PhD may provide useful evidence of this, but is not a pre-requisite.
  • Luke recommends postdocs not to remain in a single niche. Having diverse subject matter expertise can be an advantage both in academia and outside of it.

Our speakers said that scientific publishing can be an alternative to academia, that allows you to stay in touch, and make use of, your subject matter expertise. You may want to consider whether you prefer the journal development aspect of the work, or management, as with experience you may need to choose a track.