September 16, 2015: Careers in Publishing by Dr. Jennifer Griffiths

L1004247Joseph Eschweiler introduces Dr. Jennifer Griffiths

Dr. Jennifer Griffiths of the Royal Society for Chemistry joined over 70 graduate students, postdocs, and faculty for CALC|UM’s kickoff event “Careers in Scientific Publishing.” Professor Brian Coppola and Joseph Eschweiler welcomed Jennifer back to campus 15 years after completing her REU program at the University of Michigan, which propelled her into prestigious doctoral and postdoctoral positions in biochemical research at Duke University and Yale. After completing her postdoc, Dr. Griffiths moved into the world of scientific publishing as an Associate Editor with the ACS, and is now Editorial Development Manager for the Royal Society.

Upon her arrival in Ann Arbor, Dr. Griffiths met with students from the chemistry and macromolecular sciences departments who were specifically interested in careers in scientific publishing. Here, discussion ensued about the future of blogging in scientific communication, and the importance of student-lead blogs like our local Tree Town Chemistry Blog. Additionally, Dr. Griffiths met with our chemistry librarian Yi Li, as well as several chemistry faculty to discuss the publication process and facilitate increased publication by UM faculty in Royal Society Journals.

Dr. Griffith’s lunchtime seminar drew such a large crowd that the event had to be moved to a larger room! Interested students from multiple departments converged to listen to insights from Jennifer’s career in publishing with the ACS and RSC. Her talk explained the management structure of large scientific publishing companies, the duties of professionals across the editorial spectrum, and they keys to success in a scientific publishing career.

L1004265Dr. Jennifer Griffiths met with a group interested in additional discussion

After her talk, interested students joined in for a lively Question and Answer session that delved into specifics of publishing and journalism careers. Dr. Griffiths expert advice spurred many students to pursue new ways of enhancing their skillset outside of laboratory techniques. The discussion focused mostly on:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation and influencing
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork

For those interested in careers in scientific publishing, Dr Griffiths also outlined a “to do” list to be competitive in the market:

  • Network! Where to find publishing professionals:
    • Small conferences – look at attendee roster
    • Large conferences – receptions, booths
    • Publishing conferences/events (PSP, SSP, STM)
    • Visiting your institution
    • Cold emails – No need to sell yourself. Introduce yourself briefly, politely ask if you can ask more questions
  • Express interest to your advisor and other professors – especially if they are editors or editorial board members
  • Learn about issues in scientific publishing
  • Take a publishing course
  • Take a writing/business course
  • Organize something – seminars, departmental events, student organizations (including CALC|UM!)

Edited version
(pdf format)
of Dr. Griffith’s Presentation