A week in publishing
Last updated: 14 May, 2018
Laura Denton, University of Bristol undegraduate student, reflects on a publishing workshop co-run by the New Phytologist Trust.
Last June, I was fortunate enough to attend the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School, where I heard from a host of academics and was delighted to find that botany could be a springboard to another career. Professor Alistair Hetherington (Editor in Chief of New Phytologist and holder of the Melville Wills Chair in Botany) and Dr Kerry Franklin (Reader in plant environmental signalling) have developed a course on scientific publishing for undergraduate Biology students at the University of Bristol.
From peer review to promotion
We commenced the week with an introduction to scientific publishing, hearing of the rapid changes in the sector as technology advances. After an explanation of how peer review operates, we were given manuscripts and, weighing up the strikingly variable reviewer comments, delivered our editorial verdict. We were also tasked to develop a marketing strategy for a hypothetical new journal, to be launched imminently. This was a fundamentally different assignment to the rest of our degree work, but all relished the challenge.
Throughout the course, we heard from many experts. Alexa Dugan, Director of Marketing at Wiley, plunged us into the world of publicity and marketing with flair, opening up a career that before the course had seemed off limits. From New Phytologist, Dr Mike Whitfield offered his expert knowledge of social media to connect readers and contributors alike. A trip to Wiley’s European headquarters on the outskirts of Oxford constituted our third day. This truly was an immersion into the industry, speaking to people working in a vast range of roles.