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Assistant Manager, Publishing

Sophia Anderton

I oversee the publishing of a scientific journal.

00:16 I work in the Publishing Department of the Royal Society of Chemistry, looking after journals, scientific journals.

00:23 I always liked chemistry at school and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career,

00:28 so I just carried on doing the subject I enjoyed doing when I chose my degree subject at university

00:34 and so I carried on with chemistry, I liked chemistry

00:37 but I realised that I didn’t want to work in a lab but I wanted to stay in the industry,

00:43 so I saw the job advertised for publishing at the Royal Society of Chemistry and I thought ‘that sounds perfect’,

00:49 it’s staying in chemistry, working in an office, not working in a lab

00:53 but still keeping completely up to date with all the latest developments of what’s going on.

01:01 The journals that we work on report new scientific discoveries that

01:06 academics all around the world are making, they’re really important so that other researchers in the field

01:13 can see what other people have done, see the results that they’ve got and

01:18 know how to take the science forward in that direction.

01:29 Chemistry really does open up a lot of doors, it gives you a lot of skills

01:33 that you can apply to all sorts of different things, you have to be literate and numerate 

01:38 so that it opens doors into a wide variety of careers whether they be

01:42 science-based or you take them into a different industry.

01:50 I started as an assistant editor, which looked after the peer review of manuscripts.

01:54 So, academics submit papers to journals and we assess them for their suitability for publication.

02:02 If we think they might be suitable we then pick some referees

02:06 who are other academics working in the same field.

02:09 They read the paper and write a report on it, recommending whether it’s suitable for publication or not.

02:14 After a paper is accepted we edit the papers for English content

02:20 and also consistency in the chemistry, after that the authors get sent a proof and

02:27 they read it and ask us to make any proof corrections which we then apply

02:32 to the manuscript, we then publish the papers on the web immediately,

02:36 and then gather them together in issues when they get published in print at a later stage.

02:45 It’s science and publishing, we have to be chemists to be able to do the job,

02:51 we need to know whether the chemistry is up to scratch.

02:54 We also need to know that when we’re editing a paper that the chemistry

02:59 is correct and consistent throughout, so it’s really important to have a good strong chemistry background,

03:05 as well as good English skills to be able to make sure the paper’s written well.

03:10 I’m quite a naturally organised person so I enjoy that element of the role

03:16 and I do enjoy being a manager; I find that the extra bits that brings to the role makes it a more varied role.

03:24 Interacting with lots of different people, which I find really rewarding.

03:32 I spend most of my time either working on a computer or in meetings with other colleagues,

03:37 discussing manuscripts, you’ve got to have quite strong computer skills, I use Excel a lot,

03:43 and Word, we do have some specialist manuscript processing software that we use.

03:51 It’s a web-based programme which monitors the progress of papers throughout the system,

03:57 so we can keep a track of where they are, whether they’re with authors, with referees

04:01 and at what stage they are so we can keep close contact with them all.

04:10 You also need to have a very good knowledge of science,

04:14 so that you know that the papers are good quality.

04:22 The end process of publishing is the hard copy of the journal,

04:26 and it’s a great feeling seeing the hard copy land on your desk

04:30 with your name in the front of it and you know you’ve had some input into those papers.

“It's a great feeling seeing the hard copy land on your desk with your name in the front of it and you know you've had some input into those papers. ”

How did I get started?

I always liked chemistry at school and I didn't really know what I wanted to do as a career so I just kept on doing something I enjoyed when I chose my degree subject.

Career progression

I started as an assistant manager in charge of organising peer review of papers. I've found my current role as a manager really rewarding.

Skills used

Data Handling and Research, Communication, Team Worker, Organisation, Management, IT and Technology

“I carried on with chemistry, I liked it but I realised I didn't want to work in a lab; I saw the job advertised with the Royal Society of Chemistry & thought 'this sounds perfect!'”