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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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