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Victoria Merriman

Publishing Development Manager, Bioscientifica


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

I grew up in the countryside of West Wales and matriculated at the University of Cambridge (Queens’) in 2006. I had no clear vision for a career path and jumped between the idea of studying English Literature and Biology, before settling on the Natural Sciences BA and gradually specialising in animal behaviour. This saw me spend an interesting summer in the bush of South Africa, attempting to observe the behaviour of a particularly naughty troop of baboons. I’ve lived in Bristol, England, for the past 10 years where I enjoy walking my dog in the local countryside, playing netball, volunteering locally, and experimenting with interior design projects.

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

I started life as an introverted Production Assistant, copy-editing papers, working with authors on changes, and trying to get to grips with all of the technical aspects of publishing. After 18 months, I moved into a Marketing Executive position, a new role for Bioscientifica and I enjoyed the ability to shape the position, build a team, and see a clear impact of the excellent work done by the team on the success of our journals portfolio. I had a flavour of my current role when asked to cover the position during someone’s maternity leave, and enjoyed the variety and being able to offer strategic insight at a more commercial level. In 2019, I moved into my current position after ~5 years as Marketing Manager.

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

After graduating, I moved home to Wales before seeing a job advert to work in publishing at the Society for Endocrinology Group. Bioscientifica is a publisher wholly owned by the Society for Endocrinology, and it feels good to work somewhere where the profits are gift aided back to a charity directly helping the network of people I work closely with. My current role as Publishing Development Manager sees me responsible for business development, primarily new launches, for which I act as Publisher until they’re a little more established. I deputize for the Head of Publishing when needed and am actively involved with portfolio-wide editorial initiatives. Day-to-day my job could involve financial modelling, creating and executing strategic editorial development plans, writing business cases or proposals, working closely with society partners or editorial boards, as well as managing line reports in the editorial team.

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

I was very fortunate to have an excellent role model leading the team during a pivotal time in my career. She showed confidence in my skills which encouraged me to repeatedly say yes to (sometimes scary) opportunities, as well as enabling me to have the most well-rounded experience of the breadth of the publishing industry early on, mainly by involving me in projects that were beyond my role and responsibility. I continue to say yes and seek out opportunities which expand my network and allow me to challenge myself and learn new things. I have been on the Board of the International Association of STM Publishers, helped to lead the Early Career Publishing Committee’s mentorship scheme, have accepted multiple speaking opportunities on publishing at conferences worldwide, I am now volunteering for SSP, and taking part in the SSP Mentoring Scheme as a mentee.

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

Don’t be put off entering a field of experts because you don’t feel like an expert yourself. A lot of roles in the publishing field require key skills like problem solving, good communication and negotiation skills; you’re not expected to know the ins and outs of the fields of the experts you’re working with. The ability to think strategically and commercially often comes with time, but seek out opportunities to shadow strong role models and be open to learning and asking questions.  Having worked in production, marketing, editorial and business development roles, I absolutely recommend a variety of career experiences as there is value in the ability to see a problem from multiple perspectives, though my career journey feels more serendipitous than planned, admittedly.

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