Practical Tips

The Inside Track: Elsevier Employees Share their Thoughts

Elsevier employees in China, Taiwan and India talk about research developments in their countries

Print Friendly and PDF
Share story:  

No-one is better placed to offer advice about Asia than those who live and work there.

Below, Elsevier employees in China, Taiwan and India talk about research developments in their countries and share tips for editors wanting to build closer links with Asia.

Victor Henning

Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company?
A.
I have worked in Elsevier for four years. Currently I’m a Journal Publisher.

Q. Do you manage any journals?
A. Yes, a portfolio of 11 journals in Physical & Theoretical Chemistry, e.g. Electrochimica Acta, Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics, Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A, B & C, etc…

Q. What is the general view of Elsevier in China?
A. From my personal experience, people within the scientific research community do know Elsevier and respect it. They associate Elsevier with top quality and feel honored to publish in (some of) our journals. But of course, I can’t speak for all.

Q. Have you encountered any cultural differences working in an international environment?
A. Researchers in Asia (e.g. China and Japan) sometimes progress on to a political career. Inevitably they then have no time to devote to research, which is a pity for us because they could have been good candidates for journal editors, editorial board members or authors.

Q. Do you have any tips for editors who would like to attract papers/editors from China?
A. Promote the journal, know the market (what are the strong subject areas, who is leading the projects), and build connections. Of course, that is our job as publishers too.

Q. What are your thoughts about the scientific progress made in China in the last five years? What do the developments mean for the country?
A.
From an overarching point of view, the number of researchers has now reached 1.4 million, just second to the US. Other figures have also seen a big increase, e.g. the number of papers, expense on R&D. Investment in Science & Technology in the past 10 years has increased by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 24%. The Chinese government has also developed a few national programs to attract high level researchers back to China.

Q. What are some of the biggest scientific changes you think we will see in your country in the coming five years?
A. I think it’s foreseeable that there will be further growth in research output and improvement in paper quality.

Q. Are there any other observations you would like to make?
A. The rating system in Chinese institutions puts too much emphasis on the Impact Factor – that’s already widely known and discussed. In the meantime, some universities require research students to publish papers to graduate. The incentive for professors and researchers to do real science is therefore eliminated. And problems like plagiarism are still an issue.

Sabine Yu

Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company?
A.
I joined Harcourt in 2000 handling the local publishing (translation & reprint) business for HS books in Taiwan and China. I entered journal publishing in 2003 as a coordinator between the Singapore and Taiwan offices a year after Elsevier acquired Harcourt. We only had three Taiwan journals and four Hong Kong journals then. I’ve learnt a lot about this business and the society clients; it’s what I’m truly fond of. I took full responsibility for this area in 2005 (acquisitions, profits and loss, marketing, customer service, etc…). We continue to sign up more new journals year after year and now have 22 journals in Taiwan and five in Hong Kong.

Q. Do you manage any journals?
A.
Our team handles a total of 27 journals in Taiwan and Hong Kong. They include Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences (KJMS), Journal of the Chinese Medical Association (JCMA) and Asian Journal of Surgery (ASJSUR).

Q. What is the general view of Elsevier in Taiwan?
A. Most societies and doctors/professionals know about Elsevier. We’re a prestigious international publisher. Many of them have submitted to Elsevier journals themselves or have had experience reviewing articles for Elsevier journals.

Q. Have you encountered any cultural differences working in an international environment?
A. I like the working culture and environment in international companies which allow one to work independently and at the same time in a big team.

Q. Do you have any tips for editors who would like to attract papers/editors from Taiwan?
A. Since we’re not a native English-speaking country, authors in Taiwan would like to know more about how to publish in international journals and especially in the high IF journals. They need to be connected to the global resources and channels.

Q. And any tips for Asian researchers/editors who want to work for Elsevier?
A. I think a lot of them are interested in working with, or for, Elsevier. First, they need to be informed of such opportunities. Second, they should know clearly what they are expected to do and what resources they have to accomplish their tasks.

Q. What are your thoughts about the scientific progress made in Taiwan in the last five years? What do the developments mean for the country?
A. From the scholar’s perspective: “The biggest progress is the governmental investment in the scientific development. The Government has granted 1.7 billion (USD) in five years to encourage the enhancement of scientific researches and advancement of the technologies. The salaries of scholars have improved too. This has allowed Taiwan to be more competitive in the scientific development. As far as the publication quantity, it’s been quite stable for the past few years. As the non-native English speaking country, the quality of the papers is also improving. We’ve seen more papers got published in prestigious international journals like Nature & Science.” Prof. Huang, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Formosan Medical Association (JFMA).

The number of journals in Taiwan has also grown beyond expectation and last year we contracted four new ones. Many existing local journals have also decided to publish with Elsevier. The mindset of Taiwan medical societies has changed; they would like to contribute to the international health science community. The internationalization of Taiwan journals helps to bring attention to the research and scientific works done in Taiwan. Our society partners all rely heavily on Elsevier’s global resources and channels to promote their journals to the world.

Q. What are some of the biggest scientific changes you think we will see in your country in the coming five years?
A. The governmental scientific investment will continue. This has stimulated the private sector and we expect investment from the “biopharma” industry to increase. This will certainly help to enhance the R&D environment in Taiwan.

Q. Are there any other observations you would like to make?
A. As Asia rises, the researchers and scientists in our regions hope to play a more active role in the international community. The Editors’ Conferences are a good opportunity for them to do that. Those who attended the Hong Kong event last year all had a wonderful experience with Elsevier. Thanks to Gerrit Bos, Managing Director Health Science APAC, all our journals are now in the Production Tracking System (PTS) for journal workflow and benefit from the full scope of our publishing services. My purpose is to connect our editors to our global resources, so that they can truly benefit from Elsevier’s brand name, which will also ensure Elsevier’s leading position in the Taiwan market.

Elsevier is the only international journal publisher who has local publishing support in Asia and that is one of the reasons we have had no competition in Taiwan until now. To sum up, our strength in the Taiwan market is really “pay locally and publish internationally”.

I’m also looking forward to EVISE, the new online submission Elsevier Editorial System (EES), which takes into consideration the needs of Asian journal editors.

Sheenam Aggarwal

Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company? A. I work as a Product Manager for the Elsevier India Journals Program. I have been associated with the company for two years now.

Q. Do you manage any journals?
A.
Elsevier India has built up a journal portfolio over the last couple of years and my role includes, but is not limited to, setting up the journal production workflow for both online and print so as to ensure a seamless production process, timely delivery and quality output. The journals I have established include Indian Journal of Rheumatology and Medical Journal Armed Forces India.

Q. What is the general view of Elsevier in India?
A.
People, especially students pursuing medicine as a career and specialists, are very well aware of Elsevier and look up to it for providing them with world class content. They recognize Elsevier as a high class brand that publishes breakthrough content written by some of the best people in the world.

Q. Have you encountered any cultural differences working in an international environment?
A.
I have been interacting regularly with our international colleagues, specifically in the APAC region. From what I have gathered, markets and societies in countries like Australia and Taiwan etc… are mature, have established publishing programs and follow a very structured approach and standard workflow. In the Indian market, since the societies are fairly new, they are bit reluctant to follow a standardized approach. We have been trying to convince them to follow workflows such as the Elsevier Production Tracking System (PTS) and are hopeful that our publishing program will soon be on a par with international standards.

Q. Do you have any tips for editors who would like to attract papers/editors from your country?
A.
Yes I do.

  • People in India place a lot of emphasis on writing quality articles and contributing to the scientific community and are extremely inclined towards submitting their work to highly regarded and valued journals – especially those that are indexed.
  • The acceptance of a paper to an indexed journal with a high Impact Factor is highly credible for the author and gives him/ her global visibility and reach beyond their own country.
  • Participation in society conferences in India is one of the best ways to attract Indian manuscripts, as these conferences guarantee the attendance of the majority of the people in that particular field.

Q. And any tips for Asian researchers/editors who want to work for Elsevier?
A.
Asian researchers / editors who work for Elsevier will have the unique privilege of being part of the Elsevier family. Almost all our systems are automated and we use user-friendly online interfaces. Elsevier has a very transparent system in which the researchers / editors are well informed at every stage of the manuscript lifecycle. They also get access to the world’s largest scientific repository – ScienceDirect – and get an opportunity to have their work cited in Scopus and Embase etc… Elsevier believes in improving their systems and services continually by capturing the customers’ feedback via, for example, the author and editor feedback programs.

Q. What are your thoughts about the scientific progress made in India in the last five years? What do the developments mean for the country?
A.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Over the years the Indian government has invested a lot of money in R&D and creation of infrastructure, as well as institutional capacity and instrument and laboratory facilities. The institutional participation in research has almost doubled. Indian authors’ contributions to quality journals have improved, resulting in an increase in their average impact per paper. Also, the average citations received per paper have improved marginally over time. There has been a substantial rise in publication output in emerging areas, such as biotechnology, drugs and pharmaceuticals, material sciences, and medical sciences, to name but a few. The number of peer-reviewed international journals reporting India’s research output has increased consistently. More and more scientists are publishing in medium & high impact journals, there has been a strengthening of current arrangements for international collaboration and institutes have set up open access archives to make their research more widely accessible. All these developments highlight India’s potential to become a significant contributor to the growth of science.

Q. What are some of the biggest scientific changes you think we will see in your country in the coming five years?
A.
I believe that India has the potential to deliver and sustain much higher publication growth. The Indian government is setting up more and more premier institutions along the lines of the Indian Institute of Technology & All India Institute of Medical Sciences. With this increasing emphasis on research, there will be a phenomenal increase in the amount of contributions and publication of research findings. India will probably catch up with other leading countries in the world by encouraging greater institutional participation. I think we will also:

  • make sophisticated laboratory and instrument facilities more widely available;
  • increase investment in R&D;
  • improve the research environment by introducing goal-oriented research; and
  • increase scientific cooperation with developed and developing countries.

I also feel that more research programs will be initiated to attract bright young talent into the field of science.

Q. Are there any other observations you would like to make?
A.
Communication with the Indian authors should be more sensitive and culturally compatible.

comments powered by Disqus

Share story: