Intrinsic and Acquired Professional Development at CSE: An update from the CSE Professional Development Committee

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The Council of Science Editors (CSE), as an organization for editorial professionals publishing in the sciences,1 intrinsically provides professional development for industry professionals. Attending an annual meeting, joining a virtual event, accessing a Science Editor article, or participating as a committee member all bolster connections with the network of scholarly publishing professionals while increasing knowledge of industry standards. CSE’s Professional Development Committee is devoted to ensuring CSE members are provided career development opportunities. While only a fraction of CSE’s offerings fall under the purview of the Professional Development Committee, the committee promotes professional development within all CSE events, resources, and membership benefits. The committee is charged with providing a network for career development and does so through the implementation of networking opportunities, management of the CSE Publication Certificate Program, and continued assessment of the professional development needs of CSE members. Some opportunities provided include CSE Connect, the CSE Book Club, and the CSE S.P.E.A.K Podcast.

CSE Connect

CSE Connect events aim to support networking and connectivity among CSE members, ideally while learning about topics that apply to scholarly communication professionals at various career stages and organizations. Recent CSE Connect topics include the Early Career Roundtable, CSE Editor Roundtable, The Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle, and Poster Submission 101. CSE members are encouraged to submit suggestions for topics and presenters, and CSE Connect events are free to attend for members and non-members.2 Encouraging your coworkers, mentors, and mentees to join us is applauded. CSE Connect events typically last 30–45 minutes; while unmuting and sharing your camera is recommended, it is not required. 

CSE Book Club

Started in 2016 with the book The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum, CSE’s 2016 Annual Meeting keynote speaker, the CSE Book Club provides a forum for members to discover industry-relevant books and join virtual discussions on Goodreads.com.3 A total of 17 books have been read and discussed by the CSE Book Club with record participation occurring during the spring of 2021 with the book Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris (Table 1).

A handful of book club participants went on to publish book reviews in Science Editor, including Carissa Gilman,4 Carolyn deCourt,5 Anna Jester,6 Michael Friedman,7 and Morgan Sorenson,8 making the most out of their experience by adding bylines to their resumes. We are currently reassessing member interest in the CSE Book Club after a 6-month hiatus in volunteer moderators and member participation.

CSE Publication Certificate Program

The CSE Publication Certificate Program began in 2015 and has had 18 members successfully complete the program. The program was developed to provide professional development to those in scholarly publishing that seek to enhance their resume and update their knowledge in the field. It consists of attending 2 CSE conferences, 3 webinars, 2 short courses, and completing a research project. The project can be presented in either a poster format or a research article. Project ideas are reviewed by a team of volunteers that help to guide participants with comments, ideas, and feedback, so they can get the most out of their research project. We encourage anyone interested in professional development to join and take part in this great learning program.

The CSE Publication Certificate Program has enjoyed a partnership with the Associação Brasileira de Editores Científicos (ABEC Brasil) beginning in 2015.9 Since then, we have had many graduates coming from the ABEC society, including the president of ABEC, editors-in-chief, and researchers. They complete the same requirements, including the final project. Projects from ABEC participants have included authorship concentration from Latin America and the Caribbean, misconduct in Brazilian Scientific Journals, and internationalization of journals in Brazil. 

CSE S.P.E.A.K. Podcast

The podcast series S.P.E.A.K (Scientific Publishing Exchange Around Knowledge‎) is a recent addition to CSE, and was launched in 2021. A total of 6 episodes are currently available (Table 2), with more in the works.

Table 2. Currently available CSE S.P.E.A.K. podcast episodes.

Episode Title Date
1 Introducing SPEAK with Interview of past CSE President, Dana Compton Aug. 3, 2021
2 Politics in Peer Review with Brit Stamey and Dr. Shelley Tremain Sept. 14, 2021
3 Managing Virtual Teams with Josephine Sciortino Oct. 18, 2021
4 Advancing an Early Career, Remotely with Meredith Adinolfi Nov. 19, 2021
5 Shifting Workplace Culture with Kim Shankle Dec. 16, 2021
6 How to Get Unstuck with Jack Farrell Jan. 26, 2022

The aim of this podcast is to provide a platform for CSE members to discuss and share experiences in the Scholarly Publishing Industry. Co-host Jasmine Wallace explains, “This podcast series is part of CSE’s mission to foster a community for networking, education, and discussion and exchanging of practical information for publishing professionals.” Co-host Carolyn deCourt adds, “Our aim is to be an authoritative resource on current and emerging issues in the communication of scientific publishing and to do so by the voices of our members, not just emerging experts.”10 Both Carolyn and Jasmine strive to include different points of view, and different levels of experience when selecting speakers and guests for the podcast. The first 6 episodes delve into a variety of topics, from early career advancement to virtual team management, peer-review politics to workplace culture shifts, and beyond. 

Each episode is approximately 30–40 minutes long and features a new speaker for each topic. CSE S.P.E.A.K. can be listened to and followed on Apple Podcasts, the Google Play Store, Spotify, the Podbean App, and Amazon Music/Audible.10 The podcast team is currently working on new content, and additional episodes will be coming out soon. We welcome ideas from CSE members for future S.P.E.A.K. Podcast topics or speakers!


Professional development offerings from CSE rely heavily on member participation. Without member interest, there would be no audience; without member volunteers, there would be no content creators or moderators. While professional development is a highly personalized experience, requiring individuals to determine their own goals and acquire desired opportunities, the CSE Professional Development Committee remains committed to developing and providing opportunities of interest to CSE members. We welcome collaborations with other CSE committees, partnerships with other professional organizations, and volunteers to join and contribute to the Professional Development Committee. As said in an interview of past Professional Development Committee Co-Chair Karen Stanwood, “That’s why I’m drawn to the professional development community—to have a place to network with like-minded people and develop programs that are helpful for others; for example, within CSE, helping members find someone who they connect with, to hear about opportunities, or to learn skills they may not have learned in their workplace.”11 

If you would like to volunteer on the CSE Professional Development Committee, or have ideas you’d like to suggest, please reach out to the current committee co-chairs, Andrea Rahkola and Carolyn deCourt.

References and Links

  1. https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/about/about-cse/
  2. https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/events/cse-connect/
  3. https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/188509-council-of-science-editors-book-club
  4. Gilman C. Book review: Grunt: the curious science of humans at war. Sci Ed. 2017;40:125.
  5. deCourt C. Book review: The emperor of all maladies: a biography of cancer. Sci Ed. 2017;40:160. https://www.csescienceeditor.org/article/book-review-emperor-maladies-biography-cancer/.
  6. Jester A. Book review: Lab girl. Sci Ed. 2018;41:29. https://www.csescienceeditor.org/article/book-review-lab-girl/.
  7. Friedman M. Book review: Cork dork: a wine-fueled adventure among the obsessive sommeliers, big bottle hunters, and rogue scientists who taught me to live for taste. Sci Ed. 2018;41:105. https://www.csescienceeditor.org/article/book-review-cork-dork-a-wine-fueled-adventure-among-the-obsessive-sommeliers-big-bottle-hunters-and-rogue-scientists-who-taught-me-to-live-for-taste/.
  8. Sorenson MS. Book review: American Sherlock: murder, forensics, and the birth of American CSI. Sci Ed. 2020;43:102. https://doi.org/10.36591/SE-D-4303-102
  9. Erlandsson, B. Enrolling Brazilian editors in CSE’s certificate program: a successful initiative. Sci Ed. 2017;40:157–159. https://www.csescienceeditor.org/article/enrolling-brazilian-editors-cses-certificate-program-successful-initiative/.
  10. https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/resource-library/s-p-e-a-k-podcasts/
  11. Schultz J. Karen Stanwood: staying curious and taking chances. Sci Ed. 2020;43:126–129. https://doi.org/10.36591/SE-D-4304-126 


Andrea Rahkola, BA, ELS (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9133-3163), Production Editor, Neurology® Journals, American Academy of Neurology, Co-chair, CSE Professional Development Committee; Anna Jester (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8543-0311), Vice President of Sales & Marketing, eJournalPress, Subcommittee Chair, CSE Connect; Morgan Sorenson (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0834-2940), Managing Editor, Neurology® Open Access Journals, American Academy of Neurology, Subcommittee Chair, Certificate Program; Carolyn deCourt (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8806-2390), Editorial Client Manager, J&J Editorial, Co-chair, CSE Professional Development Committee, Co-host, CSE S.P.E.A.K. Podcast.