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Roohi Ghosh

Ambassador for Researcher Success, Cactus Communications (CACTUS)


Please tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).

I am from the city of Mumbai, India, also known as the city that never sleeps. I spent my formative years in Pune, about 3 hours away from Mumbai—a city that has some really good academic institutions and universities and is sometimes also referred to as the Oxford of the East. I have recently relocated to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I now reside with my spouse, our bright 8-year-old son, and our adorable 5-year-old Shih Tzu companion. Driven by our innate love for diverse experiences, this has been an exhilarating chapter for the family, and the experience so far has been filled with discovery, growth, and the thrill of embracing the unknown.

Academically, I hold a Master’s degree in Mass Communication with a specialization in audio-visual production. While my educational background laid the groundwork for my professional journey, the path I tread today diverges significantly from what I initially envisioned—and yet, it’s proven to be infinitely rewarding. My foray into the media industry provided invaluable insights into my own strengths and aspirations. Despite my affinity for creativity and a fast-paced environment, I discovered that the cutthroat nature of the industry wasn’t conducive to my authentic self. It was a pivotal moment that prompted me to realign my career trajectory with my true passion, leading me to where I am today.

In my current role, I’ve found the perfect synergy between leveraging my strengths and staying true to my core values. I’m grateful for the journey that has brought me to this point, and I relish every moment of the fulfilling work I do.

Describe some of your current responsibilities and what type of organization you belong to.

I serve as the Ambassador for Researcher Success at Cactus Communications (CACTUS), and in this role, I am driven by a singular purpose: to champion the needs of researchers as they navigate the publication process. My aim is to shed light on the obstacles researchers encounter and to help stakeholders in academia understand their perspectives and think of innovative solutions to streamline the authors’ publication journey.

Acting as a bridge between researchers and various stakeholders in academia, my focus is to amplify researchers’ voices on a global scale. To do this, I contribute as the Scholarly Kitchen Chef, using this platform to address topics pertinent to researchers’ perspectives. Furthermore, I co-chair the Peer Review Week committee and hold the position of Vice Chair at the EASE (European Association of Science Editors) India chapter.

While my engagements may vary across these organizations, my overarching goal remains consistent: to advocate for researchers, foster collaboration, and cultivate a positive research culture. I am deeply passionate about promoting inclusivity and creating a supportive environment within academia.

What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?

I embarked on my academic journey as a trainer for academic editors at Cactus in the year 2005. This role provided me with invaluable insights into the challenges authors encounter in the publication process, particularly for non-native English speakers. As time progressed, I transitioned through various roles, from designing online courses for researchers to orchestrating workshops and webinars tailored to their needs.

I took the helm at Editage Insights, Editage’s author resources platform, and also curated email training programs for authors. These experiences eventually culminated in my current role as a dedicated advocate for researchers. Today, I proudly represent the researcher perspective in platforms like the Scholarly Kitchen blog, leveraging my diverse academic background to contribute meaningfully to the discourse surrounding scholarly publishing.

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

Personally, a turning point in my life was when my son was born. Before that, I often struggled with speaking up, sharing ideas, or standing firm in my beliefs. But returning to work after my maternity break changed everything.

Every moment away from my son felt precious; it had to be meaningful. I was determined to make a difference and set an example for him—to be confident and assertive and to believe in himself. Motherhood reshaped both my personal and professional life in unexpected ways.

I found myself becoming more productive, finding greater fulfilment in my work, and receiving more recognition. It was a transformative experience that brought me newfound clarity and purpose.

Furthermore, Cactus Communications’ (CACTUS’) guiding principles have also shaped me into the professional I am today. Among these principles, two stand out, resonating deeply with my approach to work. The first is to Trust with a simple belief: Everyone is good at heart. And the second is to Do what is right even if it is hard. These principles have empowered me to lead authentically and forge meaningful connections both within and beyond the organizations I am affiliated with. It has empowered me to advocate for authors and to approach complex issues head-on with the belief that we all have a shared sense of purpose. It has given me the conviction that a deeper understanding of the issues authors face and collaborative efforts from diverse stakeholders in academia can help us arrive at viable solutions that will make academia a kinder, more inclusive, and diverse landscape.

What tools, websites and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?

Beyond mere tools and websites, I deeply value the connections and relationships I’ve cultivated over the years. Engaging with diverse organizations such as EASE (European Association of Science Editors), SSP (Society for Scholarly Publishing), and ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers) has been incredibly enriching.

Participating in conferences, engaging with panellists, and contributing to peer reviews have provided invaluable learning experiences. Each interaction has offered unique insights and perspectives, contributing significantly to my professional growth and development.

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

Over the past 17 years, my professional journey has encompassed various internal-facing roles, primarily involving interactions with teams and researchers themselves. However, my recent transition into the role of an ambassador for researcher success has ushered in a new dimension—an external-facing role that involves engaging with stakeholders across academia.

Initially, I harboured hesitations. Would my experiences hold value in this new realm? Would I need to start afresh? Would my perspectives be welcomed? Fortunately, my concerns proved unfounded. The industry has evolved into a vibrant, inclusive community where I’ve found myself welcomed with open arms.

Building upon this newfound external engagement, I’ve cultivated strong connections, established meaningful professional relationships, and even forged some remarkable friendships. It’s been a testament to the diversity and inclusivity that now characterizes our industry.

What do you wish you knew more about?

The academic landscape today is incredibly dynamic, with the advent of AI, the rise of open access, and numerous other emerging trends. The sheer volume of information, perspectives, and diverse opinions can feel overwhelming at times. However, within this richness lies an invaluable opportunity for continuous learning.

I find myself constantly seeking to absorb new insights from every conversation and perspective, recognizing the importance of each contribution. I often wish for a comprehensive understanding not only of researchers’ viewpoints but also those of all stakeholders in academia. Such a holistic view would enable us to collectively foster a positive research culture and drive meaningful change and improvement.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

Embrace your strengths and explore the myriad opportunities academia has to offer! You needn’t confine yourself to traditional paths like research or editorial roles. In academia, there’s a vast array of possibilities awaiting you.

Consider roles as diverse as marketing, science communication, faculty positions, or manuscript editing. You could also delve into creating technological solutions tailored for academia or designing conference posters. The scope for innovation and growth is boundless. Pave your own unique path for success in academia.