Director, Editorial Production, The Journal of Rheumatology
Please tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).
I’ve lived in Toronto, Canada, for nearly 20 years. Before then, I lived in the UK and in various countries in Southeast Asia. I have an English degree and an editing certificate and have had a variety of publishing roles over the years.
Describe some of your current responsibilities and what type of organization you belong to.
I am with an independent publisher, The Journal of Rheumatology, as Director of Editorial Production. I am responsible for all manuscripts post-acceptance, overseeing a small production team, hiring freelancers, copyediting and ensuring high standards for print and online publication. Because we’re a small team, I am also involved in idea generation, social media content creation, marketing and promotions, and strategic initiatives.
What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?
I started in the industry as an editorial assistant at The Journal of Rheumatology and worked my way up to my current role. Prior to that, I worked in various roles in lifestyle publications, from proofreading to copyediting to editor-in-chief. I was also a freelancer for many years.
If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.
One of the pivotal moments in my career was realizing all the changes that needed to be made and the short time frame I had when I took on my current role. It was definitely daunting, but with a lot of hard work and collaboration with my amazing colleagues and mentors, it was exciting to see everything come together. I was excited to have a leadership role and to be able to make meaningful changes that would make a lasting difference to the organization.
What tools, websites, and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?
There are so many tools and organizations that are out there with so much information. I follow The Scholarly Kitchen, SSP, and CSE. The AMA Manual of Style is what I use the most in terms of style guides. I also find conferences and mentorship programs to be extremely valuable for learning as well as networking.
What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?
The scholarly publishing landscape changes on a daily basis, so there’s a lot to learn. The addition of online avenues and social media also brings new challenges. As an independent publisher, we don’t have access to as many resources and knowledge, so I’m always looking for opportunities to learn. I am also surprised at how fascinating the industry is and how much there is to discover every day.
What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?
Keep trying and never give up. Make use of the networking tools available, such as coffee chats through LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t pigeonhole yourself either, as there are so many aspects of scholarly publishing that you may not think you’re suited for but could be the right role for you.