PhD student Laura Tropf looks behind the scenes of two Nature journals

Laura Tropf who does her PhD in the Soft Matter Photonics Group and is currently in her second year spent a week at the offices of Nature Materials and Nature Communications in December last year. Here is a small report on her experience.

14-18 December 2015

I had the opportunity to do a short one-week placement in Springer Nature in the journals of Nature Materials (four days) and Nature Communications (one day). My supervising editor, M. Maragkou, gave me a broad range of tasks to do throughout the week which cover some of the main elements of editorial work. The central part is assessing manuscripts (whether the novelty of the presented research meets the standards of the journal) and coordinating the peer-review. In each of the journals, I got to assess one manuscript and discuss it with the handling editor, which helped me understand the mindset behind the process and what the focus should lie on. Other tasks consisted of editing an almost accepted article, editing a “News & Views” article and writing a short abstract on a paper recently published in a different journal as a potential entry for the “Research Highlights” section.

In addition to getting “hands-on” experience how the work in publishing looks like, I found it fascinating to be able to talk to many different editors – all of them were very approachable and friendly – and like this get an insight into the publishing world. I learned a lot during this one week and on top of that, I really enjoyed it.