11 August 2015
In summer 2015, I carried out my PIPS at The Company of Biologists, a not-for-profit publisher producing five well regarded life science journals. I wanted to gain insight into scientific publishing to give me an advantaged position when thinking about how to publish my own research as an academic, and to gain experience in this sector as a possible career option.
Sharon Ahmad (Journal of Cell Science), Rebekah Tillotson (intern), Katherine Brown (Development) and Rachel Hackett (Disease Models & Mechanisms and Biology Open).
My major role was data analysis, completing several projects, which looked at citation, usage and altmetrics (measuring media and social media attention). For the duration of my internship, I had regular catch-ups with my mentors who answered all my questions and gave me excellent feedback. In my last two weeks, I presented the results of my analysis to the journals’ managing editors and front section staff. This made me think about how to discuss my analysis in an engaging and understandable manner and gave me practice presenting to colleagues in a company setting. The results of my data analysis can be used by editors to assess the journals’ performances in editors’ meetings and help determine company initiatives e.g. commissioning strategies for front section material.
The company organised a session to teach another intern and me about the different stages in the publishing process, parts of which I witnessed in the office on a daily basis. I also participated in lunchtime sessions, including ones on the Company’s Charitable Grants and Open Access. My time at the Company has greatly improved my understanding of the editorial process – and what the Article Processing fee covers. It was also interesting to learn more about how publishing is evolving with the rise in Open Access.
Overall, I think that it was a very well thought-out internship. I enjoyed having my own projects that could be completed within the 3 month time period, whilst working within a team of friendly and approachable staff.