Article - Academic Publishing Careers

Academic Publishing Careers – a Learned Publishing Article

A leading journal for research into scholarly communications, Learned Publishing, has published an article on academic publishing career paths written by Mark Carden, a Managing Consultant at Mosaic Search & Selection.

The article is based on a survey of people working in academic publishing that was conducted by the author. It documents job titles and career paths within academic publishing, and it also explores the timing and reasons for people's transitions from academia into publishing.

Some of the preliminary conclusions of the research include:

  • There are some common job titles within academic publishing and some standard paths from one position to another.
  • These titles and paths are not always consistent however, and they are not well documented, lacking a standard taxonomy and a model route-map.
  • Most frequently people move from academia to publishing in their early 20s (as new graduates ) or their mid 30s (as post-doctoral researchers).
  • Reported reasons for leaving academia include a lack of funding, a disenchantment with academic or research life, and (perhaps most interestingly) a desire not to specialise.
  • Reported reasons for entering publishing include an attraction toward publishing or editorial work, and a simple need to find employment.
  • People working in academic publishing (particularly scientists) were generally not interested in the possibility of returning to academia, and did not consider it a practical option.

    Entitled "Academic publishing career paths – initial research and observations", the article makes several recommendations for further research, including proposing further work to create a standard taxonomy and model route-map, and increasing the sample size to provide more data and allow increased analysis by academic discipline, gender, location and other factors.

    The abstract of the paper is given below, with a link to the article, which can be read for free by subscribers to Learned Publishing and members of Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.

    ABSTRACT: The job titles and career paths of people transitioning between academia and scholarly publishing, and of those who are progressing within their publishing careers, has been little studied and lacks accepted frameworks, ‘route-maps’, and taxonomies. Much of the work done to date provides merely a ‘snapshot’ of the current demographics of the publishing workforce at particular moment, and tends not to offer insight into pathways, trajectories, or momentum. This preliminary survey, involving around 150 scholarly publishers, reveals insights into job titles, progressions, and transitions, and exposes some of the reasons for transitions between academia and publishing. The analysis suggests that these transitions and career paths can be systematically studied and documented, for use both by individuals considering their own careers, and by planners and managers in academic institutions and scholarly publishing.

    Please click  here for more details on this article by Mark Carden.  2015. Academic publishing career paths – initial research and observations. Learned Publishing. 
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