- What was your background before becoming a Publishing Content Specialist?
I worked as a publishing assistant and then a marketing executive at Oxford University Press before joining Elsevier. I supported academic journals whose Editor-in-Chief or editorial office was based in China. I found myself enjoying working in academic publishing from my previous roles. So, when I noticed there was a vacancy posted on Elsevier’s LinkedIn account, I applied without hesitation!
- How would you describe a typical working day?
I always start my busy day by checking my inbox and prioritizing the different queries and issues I receive. As I support all KeAi journals (a joint venture of Elsevier in China, publishing OA journals) and Procedia titles (online collections of conference proceedings), my daily contacts are mainly journal managers, KeAi publishers, Elsevier publishers, and conference organizers. My daily tasks include: answering queries from my main contacts; liaising with internal teams, KeAi and the editorial office for launching journals; monitoring the approval process for new journals; ensuring the relevant systems are set up in time; solving operational issues, etc.
- How do you measure success in your work?
The most straightforward measurement of my work is if my journals are running smoothly. I try to keep my contacts well informed and help them understand what needs to be done on their side and what is going on in elsewhere. If the work is going according to plan and schedule and we don’t have problems jumping out, then I can feel that I’m doing a good job.
- Do you have any particular advice for new editors?
Our editorial system trainers are reliable partners during your onboarding. The insights that our trainers provide during your introduction to the editorial submission system will be very useful when you start to work on “real life” manuscripts. They will walk you through every step and cover all the aspects you will need to know as a new editor. They have lots of experience with new editors and all questions are welcome, so be sure to make full use of this great resource!
- What is the most rewarding aspect of your work for you and what do you find difficult about the role?
The most rewarding and also the most difficult part of my role is launching new journals. I need to work very closely with many different teams to get a journal properly started. During the launch process, good communication between all parties and especially with the editorial office is essential. When a journal is running smoothly and attracting authors, I feel a sense of reward from the experience.
- What is the most important attribute for being a Publishing Content Specialist?
Multitasking. PCS may have a large number of journals to take care of, so we need to be very clear of what is going on for different journals and be able to prioritize tasks appropriately.
- Name one item/tool/resource that you cannot do without in your role.
Scopus is a very useful tool for analyzing journal performance. We rely on Scopus to evaluate journals, issues and articles. Also, it’s a good resource to find scholars or institutions of impact within a specific subject area. It covers a wide range of journals from different publishers.
- How do you see your role changing (if at all) over the next few years?
I’m in a big team of more than 20 people in Beijing. While many of my colleagues are working on special issues, we have also started to take on different tasks (like my support for the KeAi journals, or a colleague who is supporting a project on OA). Generally, the PCS role is changing in tune with the wider trends in academic publishing and alongside the company’s evolution.
- What would you be doing now if you were not a PCS?
I haven’t given this question much serious thought.... If this is a purely hypothetical question, I would probably like to start a small bakery – I’m a fan of bread and I enjoy making dough. Sometimes I even stop by a bakery just because the baking smell is so good!
- What is the most interesting/amusing/inspirational thing you’ve worked on as a PCS?
It’s really hard to tell which one is the most interesting/amusing/inspirational thing. I handle many journals, some in rather obscure areas, others closer to everyday life. For example, I handle a journal called Food Science and Human Wellness, where I can find articles talking about risk factors in street food, soy product consumption and breast cancer incidence, etc. – it’s always good to learn some facts about food and health.
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