Faces of Elsevier - Biji Mathilakath, Team Manager - Author Services

"For me, success is when I complete tasks on time and learn from my mistakes."

By Biji Mathilakath - June 25, 2021  4 mins
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  1. What was your background before becoming Team Manager in Elsevier’s Author Services group?
    I worked as a Shipping Quality Assurance Lead in a vendor company, Premedia Global in Chennai, India. I was managing a team of eight and doing quality checks of final print pages for books and journals.
  2. Tell us a little about what your role entails.
    My current role is to ensure smooth operations for Elsevier’s Author Services platform which provides pre- and post-publication services for authors. This is done with the help of my team based in Chennai and Beijing. I organize the team’s workload, assess the team’s processes, and drive efficiency. I also work along with my manager and external developers to develop my Product Management skills by participating in product discovery, implementation and testing new features.
  3. How would you describe a typical working day?
    Each day, my work starts by checking the emails received in the team mailbox. I ensure the emails received are assigned to each team member for timely action. I then check in the Author Services backend for technical issues and if needed contact our developers for investigation. I interact with my team members on their workload and provide guidance. Finally, I look at the pending activities in our team projects and follow up with the stakeholders for details and further actions as required.
  4. How do you measure success in your work?
    For me, success is when I complete tasks on time and learn from my mistakes. Apart from that, I feel the team’s work is successful when I see our customer base growing – that must mean we’re doing something right!
  5. Do you have any particular advice for new authors?
    I suggest new authors learn about the publishing process and the timelines involved and plan accordingly. Also, it would be good if they collaborate well within their community to get maximum benefits.
  6. What is the most rewarding aspect of your work for you and what do you find difficult about the role?
    The most rewarding aspect is the immense support I get from my team and management to perform my work. Also, it makes me feel good knowing my role is helping the research community.
    The difficult part is the waiting period for the new developments to happen. Particularly during this pandemic, maintaining the same level of patience and motivation has been very challenging.
  7. Name one item/tool/resource that you cannot do without in your job.
    Regular catchups are important. These help me to gather up-to-date information and develop a rapport with all the stakeholders.
  8. How do you see your role changing (if at all) over the next few years?
    As I’m interested in product management, I'm trying to involve myself in all the projects in the team like discussions with marketing agencies, developers, doing the testing in the staging environment, collecting customer feedback, and generating ideas from the team for how we can improve our services. In this way, I'm taking on more responsibilities and getting ownership of the product which helps me learn product management. My ambition is then to help expand the scope of my responsibilities, leading a wider and more complex set of products, or working groups. I want to keep growing my experience and personal skills and use these to help the business thrive.
  9. What would you be doing now if you were not working in publishing?
    My dream was to do a PhD in chemistry and work as a college lecturer.
  10. What is the most interesting/amusing/inspirational thing you’ve worked as Team Manager, Author Services?
    The front-end/website revamp for Elsevier Author Services platform, implemented in 2019 is one of the biggest projects I worked on. I learnt more about product management where I interacted with the designers and developers doing the testing of new releases.

Contributors


Biji Mathilakath
Written by

Biji Mathilakath

Written by

Biji Mathilakath

Biji Mathilakath has been working in STM publishing for the past 10.5 years. She joined Elsevier in September 2010 as a Team Leader. Her role involves overseeing operations in the Author Services team. She has an overall experience of 17 years in the field of publishing. Biji has a postgraduate qualification in biochemistry and she is based in Chennai, India.

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