Ever wanted to know what the staff at the RSC get up to? In this blog our publishing editors describe some of the interesting activities they are working on, and let you know what it's really like to work at a leading international scientific publishers. You can also hear from the development editors in our publishing team, and find out what exciting projects and RSC social events they have been involved in recently.

Find out more about publishing opportunities at the RSC here

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After my degree I knew that a career in the lab was not for me but I wanted to stay in touch with science. A lot of different roles accommodate this but I thought publishing looked interesting and diverse, and over 10 years later I am still here!

I started working on Databases and then moved into working on the production side of journals before being trained in handling peer review. My role now covers most aspects of journal production as I handle articles from submission to acceptance, and as a journal coordinator, deal with any problems that arise as the article is edited and produced ready for final publication.

I have been able to work on a range of different journals that cover all kinds of chemistry research. Some journals I work on - Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry and Analyst - are among the oldest that the Royal Society of Chemistry publishes, the first edition of Analyst was published in the nineteenth century and it is great to be part of its continued success! However, I have also worked on journals as they first launch, including Analytical Methods and Metallomics.

It is interesting to work with different chemistry communities and to see journals grow and change, and I have enjoyed meeting Board Members and Associate Editors of the journals that I work closely on and hear their point of view. The Publishing Editor role provides a birds-eye view of chemistry research that continues to keep my attention!

Harriet Brewerton is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Jun 6, 2019 12:41 PM BST

37fb0e080baef1b173e09d6995c42ba7-huge-alLike many others who came to work as a Publishing Editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry, the path that led me here brought me from a research background with a readiness to hang up the lab coat and safety specs.

Having completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield, I was in the middle of a postdoctoral contract in January 2017 when I was shown an advert for the Publishing Editor scheme at the Royal Society of Chemistry. The temptation of a permanent and stable job, particularly one that would allow me to remain involved with cutting edge research while avoiding the ups and downs of the lab, was too much to resist, and in September of the same year I began working at the Cambridge office.

The generous relocation allowance took away a lot of the stress of moving to a completely new part of the country. While there is a large base of Publishing Editors living in Cambridge, I decided to opt for the (slightly cheaper!) option of living in Ely, which is served by a train service that runs regularly to Cambridge North station a few minutes walk from the Science Park.

I have now been working at the Royal Society of Chemistry for over a year, and my level of responsibilities have increased quickly giving me insight into a few different journals. Besides supporting a host of external Associate Editors in their tasks and coordinating RSC Advances and Metallomics, I also recently had the opportunity to attend the Chemistry World Jobs Live event held at Burlington House, London. This allowed me to discuss my role with the many enthusiastic undergraduate and postgraduate students who were interested in a career as a Publishing Editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry. I hope my advice and experience helped everyone who I talked to, and I look forward to working with those who choose to apply to the Royal Society of Chemistry in the future!

Alex Metherell is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Dec 4, 2018 9:18 AM GMT

Even without a degree in Chemistry, it really is possible to apply any scientific background to the Publishing Editor role. When I first introduced myself at my assessment centre, I realised I was the only biologist and was surrounded by chemists with masters degrees, PhDs and post-docs, making me certain that I wouldn’t be considered for the job! I am now coming up to my year anniversary as a Publishing Editor with the Royal Society of Chemistry, and I could not imagine working anywhere else.

At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we are lucky enough to count biologists, geologists and more among our ranks, and each contributes their own knowledge and skills to our teams. As a Publishing Editor on the Sustainability team, I have worked on facilitating the peer review of some incredible journals and I spend most days communicating with authors and reviewers from all over the world. After eleven months working here I now support Associate Editors, am the journal coordinator for Green Chemistry and the cover coordinator for Energy & Environmental Science, and I have just started training a new starter on my team in peer review.

As well as a varied workload, we are also very proud of our work/life balance, and there is a thriving social scene at the Royal Society of Chemistry making it impossible not to settle in straight away. Almost as soon as I joined I volunteered to work on the Sports and Social Club Committee, who plan company-wide social events throughout the year both after work and at lunch, and I personally helped to organise a celebration for International Women’s Day in March. Since then, we have hosted a self-defence class, a floristry workshop, go-karting and have lots more in store for the remainder of 2018.

Olivia Wakeman is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Sep 12, 2018 2:44 PM BST

ff14700f0f097d7308950ab12214c76e-huge-wiI joined the Royal Society of Chemistry 18 months ago, having previously worked in science outreach and education for over 2 years. I began my career at the Royal Society of Chemistry as a Publishing Editor on the General Chemistry portfolio of journals, and recently moved to a new role as Assistant Editor of Chemical Science.

As a Publishing Editor I worked on several journals including Chemical Science, and I particularly enjoyed supporting our Associate Editors based around the world. I had the opportunity to travel to a conference in Oxford to meet one of my Associate Editors, and I also attended an editorial board meeting for Royal Society Open Science (our partnership with the Royal Society) to deliver a workshop for Associate Editors on referee selection.

Chemical Science is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s flagship journal and my new role as Assistant Editor allows me to continue carrying out peer review activities and be involved with strategy and development activities.

I like the focus on Associate Editor support in my role, which plays well to my strengths, and I have greatly enjoyed getting stuck into the development tasks such as promoting articles through our China office and engaging with the community at conferences and on social media. There are challenges ahead, but my experience as a Publishing Editor will serve me well.

William King is an Assistant Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Aug 15, 2018 1:31 PM BST

69ae7ca97915007dd2482851ece3df1f-huge-saI have been working on the General Chemistry Team at the Royal Society of Chemistry along with Hannah since I joined in November 2016. As the journals in our portfolio are aimed at a general audience, it has been great to see such a broad range of research going on in the chemistry community.

Following some recent team changes, the General Team has recently gained some different journals to coordinate, which has brought along lots of new opportunities, as well as new colleagues! All of the Publishing Editors involved with the changes were asked to express an interest in which journals they wanted to work on, as well as what responsibilities they might like to take on, which has allowed us all to try different tasks and learn about more specialised journals.

As well as the core peer review tasks that all Publishing Editors do, there is a lot of other stuff that you can be involved with; including providing support to Associate Editors, being a journal or cover coordinator, or training new Publishing Editors – once you are fully trained and experienced of course!

There are also other opportunities to get involved with outside of the team – I have had a great time working on a Faraday Discussion and doing some Member Recruitment visits. I visited several universities across the UK along with other Publishing Editors to support the Membership Team. We went to a university for a day, set up a stand in the chemistry department foyer and chatted to undergraduate students about Royal Society of Chemistry membership. (As an aside, if you are not a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, I would definitely encourage you to be as there are many benefits!)

Whilst I have been working at the Royal Society of Chemistry I have made many great friends. We often go on trips and some of us recently went on a Scavenger Hunt organised by the Sports and Social Club, one of many social events throughout the year that make the Royal Society of Chemistry a really friendly place to work!

Sarah Whitbread is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Jun 1, 2018 2:57 PM BST

I joined the Royal Society of Chemistry in February 2016 after spending 4 years working on my PhD in physical organic chemistry at Queen’s University, Belfast and the ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source in Oxfordshire.

Moving from research, I decided to look for a job that would allow me to keep in touch with chemistry and academia without being in the lab. The Publishing Editor role is perfect, since you see such a huge variety of manuscripts related to all aspects of the chemical sciences, and you really get a feel for what is popular in the research landscape at any given time.

As a member of the General Chemistry team, I work on Chemical Communications, Chemical Science, and RSC Advances. In addition to handling the peer review of manuscripts for ChemComm, I provide support for 15 associate editors across all 3 journals. This includes assisting the AEs with the initial assessment and peer review process of the manuscripts.  

Over the last year, my role has become more production focused, with a range of responsibilities focusing on the handling of workflow between acceptance and the final version appearing in an issue and online. I particularly enjoy my role as the ChemComm production coordinator, which involves keeping track of the manuscripts in production, and allocating them to the twice-weekly issues ensuring that the articles are published as rapidly as possible.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is a friendly place to work, and it is particularly great around the Christmas period. Christmas 2017 was no different, with a range of festivities to fit everyone – in addition to the Christmas party, the general team took part in a team-wide Secret Santa gift exchange, and attended the annual Christmas lunch at King’s College, Cambridge. Those who brave working the final day before the Christmas shutdown are also rewarded with a big breakfast of champions in the cafeteria, which is always great fun.

With my second Royal Society of Chemistry anniversary soon approaching (and the cake/baked goods that inevitably come with it), I am looking forward to another year of more cake, peer review, lovely colleagues and ChemComm coordination, including production of the 2018 Emerging Investigators Issue. Oh and finally finishing my thesis!


Hannah Dunckley is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Mar 6, 2018 11:17 AM GMT

I joined the RSC in 2016 after working as a postdoctoral researcher for a few years. By that point I’d settled in to lab work – if computational chemistry counts as lab work – but saw the Publishing Editor role as a great way to apply my broad scientific interests and the skills I’d picked up helping to improve drafts of papers.

This year, in addition to working on my usual journals I’ve been coordinating a Faraday Discussion. This has been a particularly interesting challenge.

The Faraday Discussion is a hybrid of a conference and a special journal issue which calls for a lot of editorial work. Due to the unusual format of the meeting, papers have to be received and edited on a strict deadline, and the conference discussion itself has to be honed into a final written volume. That means a lot of deadlines, editing and production work running in parallel, coordinating with many researchers at once as you make sure their manuscripts are in on time and that you haven’t changed the meaning of an important scientific point trying to fix a typo.

Although a Faraday Discussion is a lot of work, it’s interesting to be in a spectator role at a conference. Working as an editor is a great way to broaden your scientific horizons as you need to be able to put all sorts of papers in some sort of context. A Faraday meeting takes a particular subject – Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering in my case – and lets you focus on it for several months. Editing the papers means you pick up a sense of the major controversies and unanswered questions in that field, and then you have a ring-side seat to the debates that try to push the field forward at the meeting itself.

A side benefit of the Faraday Discussion meeting is that you get to travel. My meeting was in Glasgow, which meant I was able to enjoy one of my favourite Scottish delicacies – deep fried pizza, which Cambridge chip shops inexplicably haven’t adopted.

Alex is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Nov 17, 2017 2:30 PM GMT

I joined the RSC as a Publishing Editor in January 2013 after completing a PhD in inorganic chemistry at the University of Warwick. After working in a lab for my PhD, I decided that I would like a job that still focused on science, but wasn’t lab-based – the Publishing Editor role at the RSC seemed like a perfect fit!

As a member of the Materials, Interfaces & Engineering team, I work on nine of the RSC journals – Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C, Materials Horizons, Biomaterials Science, Polymer Chemistry, Soft Matter, Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, and Molecular Systems Design & Engineering. The two engineering-based journals were launched at the end of 2015 and it has been really interesting to see them develop since then. Of course, there were the obligatory cakes featuring the first covers to celebrate the launches!

As a Publishing Editor, I work on the peer review of manuscripts, taking them all the way from initial submission to acceptance, and the editing of manuscripts. As well as these core tasks, there are many opportunities to take on extra responsibilities – cover commissioning, Associate Editor support, journal coordination, and Faraday Discussions, to name just a few. I have particularly enjoyed working on Faraday Discussions, as you, along with another Publishing Editor, take the volume right from the initial submissions through to publishing the discussions in a book. This involves attending the conference and managing the forum. It is a great opportunity to develop many different skills!

After almost 5 years at the RSC, I am really happy that I decided to make the move – the RSC is a great place to work and Cambridge is a great place to live!

Suzanne is a Publishing Editor working in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Nov 2, 2017 2:07 PM GMT

I have now been at the RSC for 11 months, so I’m already planning my anniversary bake (I’m sure the other blog posts have mentioned the importance of cake)! 

It has been an exciting time in publishing recently as summer means the release of impact factors! Journal impact factor results were promising for the RSC, and we recently had a celebration in which we were all rewarded for our work with ice cream (like I said, food is a major part of our lives).  My team is currently working hard on our newest journal, Nanoscale Horizons. As a new journal it does not have an impact factor yet, but we’re aiming high, and those of the team working on it are keen to pick top work and attract the best researchers.

Throughout the past year as a Publishing Editor, I’ve found the role gets more and more varied with time. I passed my peer review training a while back, and whilst I’m still in editing training, I’ve started to get more new responsibilities; I am office contact for some Associate Editors, and a cover coordinator which gives me a say in the images and research featured on the journal covers. I also recently volunteered with the Membership team to recruit new members for the RSC. This is a project running until early next year that will provide Publishing Editors with experience representing the RSC in person. I will travel to various Universities around the UK for day visits approximately once a week as well as continuing with my Publishing Editor responsibilities.

I am really looking forward to being involved in this project, and to the new challenges in my day to day Publishing Editor activities!

Alex is a Publishing Editor working in the Physical & Nano team, in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies go to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' Blog or subscribe to 'RSC: Latest Vacancies' by Email
Posted by Harriet Brewerton on Oct 24, 2017 12:04 PM BST

It has been more than a year since my last blog post, and as it’s two years since I started working at the RSC, I’m back to write about the most exciting project I’ve been involved in so far: a Faraday Discussion meeting in China.

Faraday Discussions have a unique format. Around 25 researchers are invited to contribute a paper on a topic (in our case aggregation-induced emission), and a scientific committee is asked to read the manuscripts and provide their comments. After initial peer review, two Publishing Editors edit the papers and they are sent out to the delegates who will be attending the meeting. This is where the real peer review happens: each author has 5 minutes to present their paper, and then there are around 20 minutes of questions, comments and debate. The Publishing Editors make a note of every question that was asked, and after the meeting the discussion text is edited and published with the papers in a book.

Many of the Faraday Discussions take place in cities around the UK, but I was fortunate enough to attend the meeting in Guangzhou in November 2016, with my colleague Tom. Our colleagues from the RSC office in China and the UK Events team had organised the conference at the South China University of Technology, and we had a very enthusiastic team of speakers. For Tom and I it was a very busy three days of making notes, talking to delegates and firing off emails, but we had a truly memorable experience. The highlight of weekend was the traditional “Loving Cup” ceremony at the conference dinner, which was led by the President of the Faraday Division, Professor Eleanor Campbell.

Back in Cambridge, we’ve been busy editing the discussion, and the final version will be heading off to the printers in a couple of weeks’ time. The Faraday Discussion has been a great opportunity to do something very different from the normal peer review and editing process, and it has been nice to work with lots of different people and to talk to our authors and reviewers in person. I would highly recommend volunteering!
Polly is working as a Publishing Editor in the General Chemistry team, in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Publishing Department. To see if there are any current vacancies in Publishing click here.
Posted by Sarah Farley on Feb 14, 2017 6:41 PM GMT
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