I undertook my PIPS internship at The Company of Biologists in the Spring of 2018. I wanted to get a feel for what the publishing industry is like from the ‘other side’, as it were, as well as a more general interest in exploring a career in science outside of the laboratory.
From left to right: Julija Hmeljak (Reviews Editor), Sam Holden (PIPS Data Intern), Máté Pálfy (preLights Community Manager) and Claire Moulton (Publisher).
My two main projects were analysing citation data from the most recent impact factor window and investigating the gender distribution of authors and referees across the journals. Both projects were structured with clearly-defined aims, grounded in helping The Company of Biologists make informed decisions, but the first followed an established protocol, while the second was much more open-ended.
Working with citation data gave me a better understanding of what citations and impact factor actually represent and how they relate to the publishing process. The project also involved working closely with the Managing Editors of the five journals at The Company of Biologists and it was really interesting to get their input on which different aspects mattered to them and why, and how they intended to use the data going forward.
The second project, on gender distribution, was exciting to work on as I had a lot of freedom to explore the available data and decide what approach I wanted to take to obtain meaningful results. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with staff from other publishers and to present my results to an informal network of interested parties. This not only helped improve my work, but it was satisfying to know that the project was helpful to a wide selection of people from different organisations.
In addition to the two projects, being at The Company of Biologists gave me the opportunity to attend lunchtime talks on a variety of interesting topics and spend time with editorial staff learning about the internal workings of a journal. Overall I enjoyed my time here a lot, and would recommend The Company of Biologists to anyone interested in the field of academic publishing.