By Soumyadipa Das
A Ph.D. in science traditionally translates to careers in academia or research positions in industry. Although, that’s not always the case. Therefore, Rutgers iJOBS introduces young scientists in academia to diverse career options. Keeping up with the tradition, Rutgers iJOBS organized a panel discussion on publishing jobs at Wiley, which opened a new horizon for scientists with a passion for writing and editing.
We all have read books published from Wiley in our undergrad, but Wiley is also a stalwart in scientific research publishing with over 1,600 journals under its umbrella across various disciplines. All four panelists worked in the research publishing sector of Wiley, along with over 250 Ph.D.s worldwide.
Virginia Chanda is a senior editorial director at Wiley, having worked there for 30 years, and is a Rutgers graduate. After earning her Ph.D., she transitioned into a postdoc position in Schering-Plough (a pharmaceutical later acquired by Merck) where she discovered her passion for writing and editing while helping a colleague to copy edit a new lab manual of current protocols.
Christopher Arnette has been an editor at Wiley for the past three and a half years in Boston, Massachusetts. Christopher was initially inclined to attend medical school after his B.S. in biology, but a summer of research in Cleveland, Ohio inspired him to attend grad school. He did his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt School of Medicine followed by a postdoc in Northwestern University, where his PI introduced him to the other panelist Nidhi Bansal who was working for Wiley at that time.
Nidhi Bansal is a senior manager in strategic insights in business development at Wiley. She did her Ph.D. in University of Delhi, India. Initially, she wanted to move back to India after completing her postdoctoral studies and chose teaching as a career. However, during her postdoctoral studies she realized her preference of building narrative around the collected data over bench science. She eventually joined Wiley as an editor in 2017 and was responsible for launching a new journal for cancer biology. Nidhi is now helping to develop publications in collaboration with scientific societies at Wiley where she is responsible for subject and market data analysis, financial projection, and more.
Emily Frieben is an associate editor at Wiley. Emily is currently working remotely, but her job is based in Boston. She has a B.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. She did a lot of writing and editing during quarantine, which made her consider a job in the publishing industry. She is also the scientific editor for the corporate sales team, where she works with scientific instrument and chemical vendors to develop engaging content for their target audience.
The recruitment process at Wiley usually includes interviews where one needs to explain their scientific work and provide writing samples on how they would approach eminent scientists to write content for the journals. First-authored publications in high-impact journals are not a necessary requirement, but scientific publication is expected, especially to make sure that the candidate understands the writing, editing, and peer review process. One must also be aware of the current concerns in publishing industry like the open access movement, which is a movement to ensure equity in academic world by providing free access to scientific journals across the world to academicians. (A good resource to gather such knowledge: Home - The Scholarly Kitchen (sspnet.org)). Peer review experience is always a plus for jobs at scholarly publishing. One can gain such experience as a graduate student in Rutgers by peer-reviewing RURJ: an in-house journal by Rutgers undergrads.
As the language of science is global, Wiley puts the utmost consideration into the scientific background of the candidate, as they claim that the publishing and business can be taught when the new hire joins the team. Although, it is important to note that fluency in English is required for copy editing as most of the journals are published in English. Unfortunately, Wiley doesn’t sponsor Visa or Green Card for international students currently. As panelist Nidhi mentioned, the sponsorship had been a bottleneck for her while she was searching for job in scholarly publishing during her last postdoctoral studies. She got a lot more interview calls from different publishing houses once the residency issue was sorted out. However, Nidhi also pointed out that the post-pandemic era of working remotely has enabled people across the globe to work for global companies like Wiley. So, if international students want to move back to their country, then the option for working at Wiley and other scientific publishing houses at their respective home country remain open.
As an editor at Wiley, one is responsible for communicating with the authors and reviewers regarding missing data, deadlines, or any other pertinent matter. This job enables one to go through a variety of literature and – as one of our panelists said – to be in science without doing the science. There are freelancing opportunities available such as a copy editing at Wiley for interested Ph.D. students at Rutgers. There are managing jobs within Wiley where one interacts with external editorial board members from academia and government to develop content. In this role, one is responsible for special issues, peer review, and inviting scientists to write content. On the other hand, a more senior job title of “publisher” holds one accountable to oversee a group of editors and manage corporate strategy.
Virginia and Nidhi’s career is a testament of vertical growth within Wiley. All of the panelists vouched for the great, balanced life Wiley has provided them with, including regular work hours and flexible deadlines. Although the panelists were from molecular biology mostly, people from almost all scientific disciplines like physical or chemical sciences have an opportunity to work for Wiley in their respective journals. If you are someone who has an appetite for the broader world of science out of your Ph.D. discipline, enjoys reading diverse scientific literature, and communicates well, then a job in the scholarly publishing industry might be a good fit for you!
This article was edited by Junior Editor Gina Sanchez and Senior Editor Natalie Losada.
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