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STM Publishing 101: Content and Editorial Basics and Digital Workflow

Friday, November 14, 2003, American Society of Association Executives, Washington, DC 20005

Content is king. Although the format and the ways that it is delivered have changed greatly since the early days of hot lead type, high-quality content remains the lifeblood of STM publishing. But how is content developed and disseminated to an appropriate audience? Who creates it? Who reviews it? How is it altered as it goes from author to editor to publisher, and then finally through the production process to publication via print and electronic media? What are the appropriate formats (SGML, XML, HTML, PDF, etc.) and delivery methods (print, online, PDA, etc.)? This introductory-level seminar will provide a comprehensive look at how scientific/medical content is developed and produced, from authorship to publication and all the links in the value chain in between. No specific skills or knowledge are needed for this seminar. Just bring your curiosity and enthusiasm!

Topics to be covered:

  • Why authors choose to submit their papers to certain journals
  • The criteria for accepting articles for publication
  • Why a good editor is critical to a journal’s success
  • The peer review process: what is it, and why is it so important?
  • The role of the publisher: does it add value to content?
  • A primer on impact factor and its importance in journal publishing
  • Electronic peer review and content management
  • Identifying the best delivery methods for reaching your target audience and preparing your content accordingly
  • Preparing materials for publication in print, on line, and other formats, with a focus on digital production, including manuscript tracking, copyediting, composition, and handling digital files (for both text and graphics) from authors.

Who should attend:

  • People new to STM publishing
  • Production editors who seek a better understanding of the editorial process
  • Production managers
  • Copy editors
  • Editorial assistants
  • People from any area of publishing who would like a broader perspective
  • Undergraduate or graduate students considering a career in publishing

Seminar Managers and Moderators:

  • Eileen M. Kiley, Manager of Archival Publications, Materials Research Society
  • Greg Fagan, Editorial Manager, AccessMedicine, McGraw-Hill


  • Bill Detmer, M.D., CEO, Unbound Medicine
  • Greg Fagan, Editorial Manager, AccessMedicine, McGraw-Hill
  • Jim Testa, Manager, Publisher Relations, Institute for Scientific Information
  • Michael Gates, Specialist, Editorial Systems and Services
  • Monica Bradford, Managing Editor, Science Magazine
  • Ralph Youngen, Assistant Director, Advanced Technology and IT Publications, American Chemical Society


Bill Detmer, M.D., CEO, Unbound Medicine, will speak from the unique vantage point of both a physician and a software developer. This gives him a good understanding of how doctors use medical content and the ideal formats for delivering it to them. He will provide an overview on how to optimize content for delivery to its target audience. In addition, he will discuss the development of Harrison’s On Hand, a product developed for handheld computers by Unbound Medicine, and a scientific evaluation of that product conducted at the University of Virginia.

Eileen Kiley, Manager of Archival Publications, Materials Research Society, is responsible for all aspects of print and online publication of MRS’s monthly archival journal as well as approximately 45 proceedings volumes each year. Since joining MRS in 2000, Eileen has overseen the implementation of electronic peer review systems for both books and journals and has guided these publications through an array of changes to keep pace with new developments in publishing. Prior to joining MRS, Eileen spent 5 years in book acquisitions at the University of Pittsburgh Press. She is an active member of the SSP Education Committee.

Greg Fagan, Moderator, is Editorial Manager for AccessMedicine in the Medical Internet Publishing Division of McGraw-Hill, where he oversees the on-line publication and development of prestigious medical texts and related content under the AccessMedicine rubric. Greg is an active SSP member, having served on several Annual Meeting Program Committees and the Education Committee, in addition to being a frequent speaker/moderator. Greg also served as Editor of Scholarly Publishing Today and the SSP Bulletin.

Jim Testa, Manager, Publisher Relations, Institute for Scientific Information, will give a primer on impact factor, as determined by the Institute for Scientific Information — what it is and isn’t, how it is used and sometimes misused, and its importance and proper place in the world of journal publishing. He will also define the role of the secondary publisher in scientific/medical publishing.

Michael Gates, Specialist, Editorial Systems and Services, will discuss the content management side of peer review. In the rush to provide content online, the internet’s potential as a workplace — as a means to an end and not just an end in itself — was overlooked. Now, web applications designed to facilitate the peer review cycle put exciting new tools in the hands of publishers and editors. The challenge: how to impliment and integrate this tool with existing systems.

Monica Bradford, Managing Editor, Science Magazine, will provide an overview of scientific journal publishing, including the importance of publishing research and clinical results, why authors submit articles to certain journals, criteria for acceptance, an explanation of the peer review process and its importance, how a journal’s impact factor can affect submissions, and the role of the journal editorial board.

Ralph Youngen, Assistant Director, Advanced Technology and IT Publications, American Chemical Society, will address how the production process has become increasingly digitized in recent years. Authors and editors have wider access to sophisticated new tools for manuscript preparation, editing, and digital image creation, and publishers have responded by employing digital methods for manuscript tracking, copyediting, content tagging, and composition. Ralph will address these issues from the perspective of a large publisher of scientific content.