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Janet Fisher

Senior Publishing Consultant, Publishers Communication Group

Janet FisherFirst, tell us a bit about yourself (hometown, current locale, family, hobbies, community involvement?)

I spent my early life mostly in Austin, Texas, where I got my degree in music with a concentration in piano performance. I moved to New England in 1989 and love it here. The change of seasons keeps things interesting, and I really do love the snow (but not the occasional ice!). Two years ago I remarried and moved to Maine with my new husband, and now work from there and my company’s office in Boston.

Describe some of your responsibilities, and how you or your organization fit into the scholarly communications web.

Currently I am Senior Publishing Consultant with Publishers Communication Group, a division of Publishing Technology. I work with publishers to deliver market research and promotion campaigns aimed at building a publisher’s share of the marketplace. It’s interesting and challenging because there is a lot of room for creativity. New problems are always being presented and new challenges come looking for solutions. The creation of Publishing Technology from the merger of VISTA and Ingenta (the owner of PCG) five years ago broadened the scope of what we can do as well as our global reach. New offices in Brazil, India and China have brought new colleagues and closer interaction with other cultures where publishing is opening up new markets.

What career path led to your current position?

While working on my degree, I got a 10-hour/week job as an editorial assistant for a literary criticism journal called Texas Studies in Literature and Language. I enjoyed the work and when the journal became part of the newly formed journals program at University of Texas Press, my position was moved to UT Press and over time increased to 30-hours per week. During this period I had a role that included whatever needed to be done – that was the best thing for my career! I learned all the different  aspects of journals publishing, and after becoming full time when my degree was over, I became Journals Manager there because of my wide experience.  After 9 nine years in that position, the journals manager position at MIT Press opened up and I took the plunge and made the move to New England.

After 13 years as Associate Director and Journals Managers there, I was ready for a change and took a job with a new start-up which lost its financing very shortly after I started. So then began a round of trial positions and consulting until I landed with Ingenta in 2003 and Publishers Communication Group in 2005.

Where do you see scholarly communications heading, and what new directions interest you most?

What I find most interesting now is the move to online delivery of books as well as new types of content products beyond the traditional book and journal models. It continues to be a fascinating time in the scholarly publishing industry as products change and the global market for such products expands into areas that were previously very difficult to reach with print.

What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?

I am constantly surprised that I found this career! What was I thinking getting a piano performance degree?? It’s been a wonderful place to meet many interesting and creative people. The industry attracts a wide range of interests and talents, and the constant changes in the scholarly communication system over the last 15 years have meant there is rarely a dull moment.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications? What new roles or opportunities do you see emerging in the field?

I would say be content to start small and get a wide range of experience. That will give you the experience to know where you will best fit – whether it is production, or marketing, or sales, or editorial. Then you can move sideways or upwards as opportunities open up.

Publishing Technology blog and the Publishers Communication Group website.