Annual Meeting Report

At My Desk after CSE, Now What: Use Cases from CSE 2017

Shari Leventhal
Managing Editor
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
American Society of Nephrology
Derwood, Maryland

Jennifer Cox
Senior Managing Editor
J&J Editorial, LLC
Raleigh, North Carolina

Amy King
Editorial Coordinator
Journal of Clinical Oncology
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Washington, DC

Nida Mohsin
Industry Relationship Manager
The Asian Council of Science Editors
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Lan Murdock
Communications Manager
Taylor & Francis Group
Oxford, United Kingdom

Andrea Rindo
Managing Editor
Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
Iowa City, Iowa

Resa Roth
Freelance Editor
University of Washington & Merck KGaA
Seattle, Washington

Jasmine Wallace
Peer Review Manager
American Society for Microbiology
Washington, D.C.

Nida Mohsin

In 2018, at CSE’s 61st annual meeting, the session “At My Desk after CSE, Now What?” appeared for the second time, and 7 speakers were invited to talk about their learning experiences from the 2017 annual meeting. The presenters shared what they learned at different sessions, during lunch conversations, and through networking opportunities, and how they implemented those ideas once they returned to their offices after the meeting. The various topics discussed included editorial workflow, using editorial boards, bridging the gender gap, mentorship, building a house style, team transitions, and remote working. Each presentation offered another learning takeaway for the attendees in the session. Below is a brief description of how each presenter shared their learning points and how they added value to their work, meanwhile encouraging everyone to prepare to implement new things learned at the 2018 CSE annual meeting.

Speaker Jennifer Cox began by stating that change and progress in editorial management are inevitable and often necessary. Based on her attendance of the 2017 session “Transitions: Managing Your Staff through Change,” she learned a great deal on planning ahead for times of change and what that would mean for the team she manages. As she managed her own team through transitions this year, there were 3 areas of focus where she implemented her knowledge from last year’s session. First, as a team, they focused on ongoing communication. This included regular feedback, collaboration, and clear delegation of tasks relating to daily workflow. Second, she focused on the individual support of each team member. They found ways to embrace the unique skill set everyone brought to the team and found opportunities for each team member to lead in order to optimize productivity. Third, her team tried to maintain the right balance between planning for change while also remaining flexible. This included learning to adapt to unexpected transitions, embracing areas where revision and critique are needed in order to assist productivity, delegating leadership, and over-communication to avoid misunderstanding.

Of the many great sessions at the 2017 CSE annual conference, Lan Murdock said the one that inspired her to take further action was “Mind the Gap II: Gender and Beyond.” She described how she used communication channels and tools to raise awareness of gender diversity and bridge the gender gap, including the following:

  • Address unspoken challenges including using a podcast to share insights. Those challenges include barriers researchers from ethnic minority backgrounds face, barriers to researchers taking parental leave, and the significance of gender in the research landscape.
  • Share tips and best practices. Lan used infographics/visualization to share an editor’s case study on how she increased diversity on her editorial board.
  • Network and get inspired by using internal and external events to network with inspirational woman editors, leaders, and scientists in the industry and your research field.
  • Recognize and overcome unconscious bias: self-reflection on your own biases and the consequences they have caused.
  • Perspective on what we can do as individuals: accepting opportunities to speak, challenging our own biases and assumptions, getting a mentor, and widening our networks.

As a new member of CSE, Resa Roth was unsure of the benefits of attending the annual meeting, and CSE 2017 was the first she attended. Entering the meeting, she hoped to gain knowledge, meet new people, and grow freelance opportunities—and by the conclusion of the meeting, all these objectives and more were fulfilled. Though she found all the sessions valuable, both “How to Maintain and Update Outdated House Style” and “OA Monographs: Perspectives and Approaches” influenced her job course tremendously following the meeting.

After gaining additional insight into monographs from the related session, Roth expanded her Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS) freelance profile to include “monographs” as a media category she would edit. Shortly thereafter, she was offered a freelance opportunity that involved building a house style for monographs. The house style session at CSE 2017 was instrumental in providing her with the confidence and know-how to proceed with the particulars of the project. The most useful takeaways from the session on house style were the following: use a style manual as a base and build upon it (to include items that are specific to the needs of the company/journal), use examples (to make the style guide easier to use), use categorization (to divide information in the guide into logical groupings, with the most important information at the start), and use version control and revision history (to keep track of any changes).

With this presentation, she hoped to instill the importance of updating one’s resume and related public profiles to include any relevant updates after attending the CSE annual meeting. These updates can generate new opportunities, which may be especially important for early career professionals.

Amy King’s work with the volunteer reviewers who make up the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) editorial board was the focus of her presentation. Upon hearing a helpful session at CSE 2017 entitled “Getting the Most Out of Volunteers: Managing and Leading Volunteers,” she learned 3 key factors to making the volunteer experience better: balancing the burden of work, engaging volunteers in communication with the journal, and orienting the board as a team with a common goal. As someone relatively new to journal publications, she described in her presentation how these 3 factors informed her plan to address the problem of associate editors (AEs) either underutilizing or overutilizing nearly half (47%) of the JCO’s editorial board members (EBMs). Back at her desk after CSE, she developed an “EBM Utilization Report” showing the AEs all the EBM names with 0 or 1 solicitation from the previous calendar year, and she implemented it in a way that employed all three key factors—balancing the burden, engagement, and team orientation. Her presentation showed how the report itself served as a tool for the AEs to balance the workload. To help engage the AEs in the process, she emphasized the importance of the way this information is communicated while pointing out their EBM utilization habits. King also included all AEs in this communication to help orient them to think of the EBM process as a team, where effort was needed from all the AEs to be more successful. While she still awaits the full year results, in the first quarter of 2018 after implementing the report, the board has already seen an 11% improvement of new EBM engagement over the first quarter of 2017. The initial goal for overall improvement (with engaging both new EBMs and underutilized, serving EBMs) was 10%. The “Managing and Leading Volunteers” CSE session offered helpful, practical solutions and examples of how to improve productivity of and relationships with volunteers that King was able to apply to both the JCO EBMs and AEs.

For Andrea Rindo, the CSE 2017 session entitled “Attracting New Authors” instilled a message of the importance of forming relationships with authors and supporting them to do their best in scientific publishing. At home, she spent time pretending to be an author trying to navigate the website of her society journal, Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC), and found numerous areas—some large and some small—where its usability could be improved.

One change included visually simplified, easily accessible submission criteria. Going beyond the standard, text-heavy submission guidelines available on the journal website, Rindo and her team added an at-a-glance chart and quantitative recommendation summaries (e.g., word limits, reference counts) to give authors a quick understanding of what is typically expected for each article type without having to dig through pools of text. Understanding authors are interested in publishing their work as soon as possible, the journal transitioned from a monthly publication schedule to continuous publication at the start of 2018. In doing so, the journal observed a 45% improvement in average time from acceptance to publication. This served as a great talking point with authors to show that JITC was listening when they were asking for faster publication. To support general awareness of the journal’s metrics, turnaround times, access information, and other statistics were also added to the journal’s main landing page and subsequent pages.

Additionally, new initiatives were developed to engage and support authors. These included sending congratulatory messages to authors that contain tips on how to promote their own work and sharing every article via the society’s Twitter account, where authors often replied or responded to the society’s efforts. Looking at all author interactions, the journal and its publisher also set initiatives to improve overall customer service, noting all author inquiries must have some form of a response within 1 business day.

The most resonant message from the presentation was encouraging attendees to set aside time to pretend to be an author looking to submit at their journal as well as other journals. It was noted that if certain functions and services make it is easier for authors to navigate other journals, authors will come to expect the same service from their journal as well.

Jasmine Wallace noted one sign of a successful meeting is leaving with action items and a solid to-do list, and after attending the 2017 CSE annual meeting session on “Remote Workforces,” she had both. The session provided a lot of practical information to help with developing and enhancing a remote team. Back at her desk, Wallace was able to apply several learning points from speaker Sonja Krane’s presentation on “Making a Remote Workforce Work”; specifically, her considerations for remote workforces. The first step was to get everyone equipped to participate in virtual web meetings. After checking out a few video conferencing programs, her office now has virtual team meetings. The next focus was on communication and collaboration tools. While she was not able to invest in a new system, she was able to re-work how they use a shared network drive, and this made it possible to have more collaborative projects. Last, Wallace focused on her teams’ visibility within their department. She put together an intradepartmental meeting among the managers, and they discussed ways to make remote workers more prominent team members. This led to not only a more inclusive team within the department but also a company-wide shift for improved inclusivity for all remote employees. Prior to the session, she was managing a remote team, and since no one else in the department had such a team, she had very little in-house guidance. The 2017 session really helped her to better develop her remote team and has led to better team dynamics, more effective communication, and enhanced engagement for remote workers throughout the company.

Nida Mohsin explained how the CSE annual meeting has always been a place for her organization to learn about new initiatives it can further apply in the Asian Council of Science Editors (ACSE). For the past several years, after attending the CSE annual meeting, she always had a bunch of ideas to implement when she returned home. The 2017 CSE annual meeting was no different, and this time, her attention was caught by the newly launched CSE Mentorship Program. ACSE’s president, Dr. Gazi, and Mohsin attended the breakfast session on CSE’s Mentorship Program led by Tim Cross (Westchester Publishing Services) and Patricia Baskin (American Academy of Neurology). Attendees included mentors and mentees working toward the next badge of the program. After carefully listening to them, Mohsin and Dr. Gazi were quite clear how the program works, and by that time they decided to follow CSE’s Mentorship Program style and implement it at ACSE. The main reason behind this idea was that Asia, significantly lacks a common platform for training and counseling of editors, and publishing professionals in Asia are in dire need of ongoing and nonjudgmental training. After returning home, they discussed the idea with other board members and it was approved right away. The team worked on developing a mentorship committee, which further designed the program in detail. The ACSE Mentorship Program was launched at their 2017 annual conference and currently has 8 successful mentor–mentee pairs. In her presentation, Mohsin also discussed the challenges of launching and implementing the program, which included lack of willingness by mentors to participate in the program. She also discussed trying to convert this challenge into an opportunity by offering recognition and awards to the mentors who participated in that year’s Mentorship Program. She also shared they are collaborating with other like-minded organizations that are already running Mentorship Programs so their mentors can be available to those organizations’ mentees and vice versa.

Mohsin added that the opportunity to speak at this “At My Desk” session remarkably raised her confidence level, and provided her with encouragement to freely share the challenges and opportunities of working for the Asian scholarly publishing community. By asking members of ACSE to speak at such sessions, CSE acts as a strong bridge to connect Asian publishing professionals with the local scholarly community.

Links to Presentations