Eleonora Presani, PhD – from CERN to Scopus

“Elsevier has offered me the perfect combination: I have been trained to work in a technology-oriented corporation while remaining in close contact with academia.”

location New York, USA

Photograph of Eleonora Presani

Many of Elsevier's employees come from academia and industry, where they worked as researchers, technologists, data analysts, engineers, clinicians and more. At Elsevier, they use their skills and experience to develop a wide range of products that help researchers, clinicians and technologists make a difference. In this series, employees with PhDs talk about why they joined Elsevier and how they put their expertise to work here.

Born in Trieste, Italy, Dr. Eleonora Presani began her career as a physics researcher. She did her PhD in astroparticle physics at the University of Amsterdam, working on a neutrino detector in the south of France: ANTARES. After that, she worked at CERN in the AMS-02 experiment in Geneva. This experience helped her develop analytical thinking and data analysis skills.

She joined Elsevier in 2012 as a Publisher in high energy physics, responsible for 14 academic journals. Her knowledge of the field helped launch two new journals, Physics of the Dark Universe and SoftwareX. In 2016, she moved from Amsterdam to New York to join the team of Scopus, the world's largest abstract and indexing database of peer reviewed literature. As Product Manager, she focuses on research data and author profiles.


What brought you to Elsevier?

After a postdoc at CERN, I wanted to find a more stable role, but I didn't want to leave the research environment completely. Elsevier has offered me the perfect combination, where I have been trained to work in a technology-oriented corporation but at the same time remaining in close contact with academia, talking with my professors (who are editors) and staying current with all the new discoveries in my field.

What aspects of your professional background and training do you use at Elsevier?

Doing research in physics gives you two very important skills: analytical thinking and a humble mind. You get used to having to learn new things from scratch and not understanding everything at the first try, but you know how to learn quickly and approach problems with a scientific mind. People often believe that having a scientific approach is all rational and no emotion, but I think physicists are about the most emotional people about their job that I know. Intuition is the right way to start any new project, but the important aspect is to be humble and understand that for that project to be successful, decisions must be made with an analytical mind. The right combination of intuition, passion and analytics is the key to succeed, and I think science is queen in that realm.

How is your work here different from what you used to do?

The main difference between my current job and my life as a researcher is the structure of the company. There are politics and structure in academia as well, but people tend to work more independently or in small groups, even when you are part of a big collaboration. In a corporate environment, you cannot avoid depending on other departments or having other departments expecting something from you. I enjoy team working, so I am happy about it, but sometimes I miss the simplicity of just being able to do what you believe is right without having to ask permission to a whole genealogical tree.

Do you find meaning in your work here?

Absolutely. I love working in technology — this is one of my biggest passions — but I wouldn't want to work for a company that produces something I don't believe in. Knowing that we're building tools that help researchers perform their work gives me an extra purpose in my job.

What's your favorite thing about working for Elsevier?

My colleagues, for sure. Elsevier has a great combination of different backgrounds: researchers, engineers, social scientists and smart people in general. It is a pleasure to be able to talk philosophy and new technologies over lunch, and it makes going to work a truly enriching experience having colleagues you can learn from every day.

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