Clare Cole 
Clare Cole
Corporate Communications Advisor, Wiley 

How do I decide where to publish my research? What do I need to know about Open Access? How does peer review work? And what career options are open to me if I don’t choose to go into research? These are some of the questions Wiley addressed when a party of enthusiastic students from Leiden University, The Netherlands, came to our Oxford offices on April 9th.

 

Students participate in a feedback session Source: Clare Cole
Students participate in a feedback session
Source: Clare Cole

The visit was designed as an introduction to Wiley and to the wider publishing industry for these undergraduates, in their final year of science degrees, who may one day become Wiley authors or opt for careers in STM publishing. They showed their enthusiasm and appreciation, both in the attention they gave the speakers and the traditional Dutch cookies and candies they handed out as a thank you after each session!

Hello to Health Sciences publishing

The day was comprised of a series of individual sessions focused on health sciences publishing in particular. The aim was to help inform future decisions – how to select the right journals to publish in, for example – and to give broad insights into the mechanics of academic publishing – peer review, open access vs subscription, the role of editorial offices, content management, metrics and marketing, etc. A break for lunch gave students the chance to quiz Wiley employees from different areas of the business about their career paths, which was acknowledged by Professor Bob Van de Water, who accompanied the students on their trip, as being really valuable. “This enables the group to see the different job opportunities open to them as students of science,” he said. “By showing them all of these different disciplines, they can see a variety of career paths.”

Any questions?

Many of the points raised were new to the students, and generated lively questions throughout. One such example is the ORCID system of digital identification, which provides researchers with a unique author reference that can help combat plagiarism and overcome the confusion that may result from having a common surname, or name change.

Another topic that generated a lot of interest was the Impact Factor. One student posed the question: “If an article is cited in a negative context, does it still drive up its impact factor?”” “Is citation often debated, asked another?” (Yes and yes.)

While younger authors are generally aware of the need to publish – the maxim ‘Publish or Perish’ was repeated for the benefit of any student yet to hear it – marketing and promotion are less familiar. A session on marketing illustrated the promotional support Wiley gives to its authors, while a metrics session outlined how that promotion might be usefully evaluated.

Wiley Advisors

In the last session of the day, the students were introduced to the Wiley Advisors, an early career researchers group facilitated by the company. Open to those who are in their first years of a Masters degree, until up to ten years after their degree, it has over 400 members. Advisors benefit from access to conferences and other networking and profile-building opportunities (including the opportunity to publish in Exchanges) as well as opportunities to participate in product testing and other feedback sessions. Interestingly, we learned that 2015 is the first year in which Millenials – the age group served by Wiley Advisors – make up the biggest group in the workforce, above Baby Boomers and Generation X.

 

Students pose for a photo at Wiley's Oxford office Source: Clare Cole
Students pose for a photo at Wiley's Oxford office
Source: Clare Cole

A mutual exchange

The visit was as beneficial to us as it was to the students, providing a real opportunity to engage with a young audience. This exchange also extended to a product testing session, in which the group was divided into two teams and invited to give feedback on Wiley products – a mobile app and WileyPlus Learning Space.

Wiley’s Society Relationship Consultant, Elizabeth Whelan, was responsible for organizing the day, along with Director of Society Marketing, Lorna Berrett. Elizabeth was struck by the engagement of the students, addressing them in her closing remarks of the day, “We’ve got so much from you today, you have been so enthusiastic and asked so many really good questions.”

The trip came about through Wiley’s relationship with the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), which owns the British Journal of Pharmacology and the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, with a suggestion from Professor Adam Cohen that we host a visit to show the students how a big publisher works. It follows a similar visit by students from Saint Peter's University in New Jersey to Wiley’s Singapore offices earlier this year. This was designed to give Saint Peter's, a long-standing Wiley customer and close neighbour to our Hoboken office, an insight into doing business in the different Asian countries.

Feedback

The students were happy to talk about their experiences of the day:

Laura Paardekooper is studying Biopharmaceutical Sciences and is thinking of eventually going on to do a PHD. She said, “The most useful thing for me has been getting an overview of the publishing industry. It’s the first time I’ve had this, and I’ve really learned a lot.”

Arian Khoshchin, who plans to embark on a Masters degree in Pharmacology next year, said, “I would recommend a visit to a publishing house to every scholar. I’ve found all of the talks interesting, and the overview of open access publishing was especially useful, since like every scholar I think science should be accessible to everyone.”

Maxime Heezen, who coordinated the event from the University’s side, said, “Students don’t learn about publishing as part of their studies, so it has been a really useful experience. Unless you know these opportunities are there, then you won’t be able to go out and get involved in them.”

The visit formed part of a week-long visit to the UK for the Leiden University students, in which they also toured the research and clinical facilities of major healthcare companies, as well as fitting in time to visit the famous Oxford and Cambridge boat race! And, who knows, this may be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship…