Life at Elsevier:
Najamuddin Khan

locationDayton, Ohio, USA

“What excites me most is that every day it’s a new challenge. It’s a new problem to solve, a new metric to implement or a new data feed to use."

Najam Khan

Tell us about your role within the company. What do you do?

I’m a software engineer working with SciVal. SciVal is one of the products Elsevier offers for research management, and I work primarily with HPCC, which is High-Performance Computing Cluster technology. It’s a big data tool where I generate a large number of metrics, like scholarly output and H-indexes at researcher level, at the institution level, for all the countries and the world, using Scopus, which is another offering of Elsevier and also the world’s largest abstract database. We crunch metrics on that database, producing 30 or 40 metrics for the researchers, institutions, countries and world.

What’s your favorite experience so far working at Elsevier?

It has to be the first time I visited Amsterdam for a project kick-off meeting at the head office. I got to meet people from across the world and from different departments that I’ve worked with for years, but seeing them and meeting them for the first time face to face and seeing where everything happens. We were just developing these products, but then actually the sales people, the marketing people, the people from journal publishing, all of them were coming together in one building and having a blast. That was one of my favorite experiences.

What professional achievement from your time at Elsevier are you most proud of?

When Elsevier started a product called Strata several years ago, which was the first of its kind at Elsevier, looking to provide analytics around researcher data, I was chosen as the lead engineer to manage a large group of engineers working from several different offices across the world: Amsterdam, Italy and several offices in India. It was a really good learning experience to successfully launch the product developed by using new technology. We were using High-Performance Computing Cluster  to deliver this unique product, which would help deans and librarians at various organizations make informed decisions in the world of science and technology.

How has working at Elsevier helped you achieve a positive work-life balance?

I would say Elsevier really encourages a very healthy work-life balance. My managers always encourage it. I have small kids, and company policy is very flexible, which allows me to take a small break, go to their school, attend some events and come back. And recently I started running to keep myself healthy, and I do that during lunch hour. I come back from a good run, take a shower at the office facility and then get back to work fresh and energized again. So it’s really a very flexible work-life balance that is maintained here. It’s one of the reasons I’m here.

What excites you about Elsevier and gets you out of the bed in the morning?

What excites me most is that every day it’s a new challenge. It’s a new problem to solve, a new metric to implement using a new algorithm that we have researched, that we can provide to the customers, or we get to analyze a totally new type of data feed and see if we can use this and how we can integrate it into our products. There is never a dull moment. The people I work with are really great to be around, and I’m constantly learning from them. It’s really a very good company, and it’s moving toward adopting newer technologies. It has been a publishing giant, and the focus was all on the journals and research, but now I see a lot of money being invested into development and adoption of new technologies, moving to Cloud, using newer and newer technologies like HPCC or Spark.

How does working at Elsevier help you make a difference in the world?

I really feel proud. I really feel good to work for a company which is dedicated to supporting research professionals and decision-makers with the latest scientific data to help them make well-informed decisions and for them to make ground-breaking discoveries, because eventually all this work is going to lead to the betterment of the society around us. That’s the best part about it.

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