National Mentorship Month: A Reflection on my Internship with ACAMH

Hannah Shakespeare is a Publishing MA student at City University of London, with a previous degree in English Literature from the University of York. She has aspirations for a career in publishing after graduation, and has thus far undertaken several placements in different sectors of the publishing industry to broaden her experience and knowledge base. She is especially interested in the developments that the industry will go through in the coming years, related to issues including AI, environmental sustainability goals, and the impacts of technological usage on shifting reader bases.

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My name is Hannah, and after completing an undergraduate degree in Literature at the University of York, I am now a current Publishing MA student at City, University of London. The course at City has been fascinating; it has massively broadened my understanding of the publishing industry, allowed us to discuss more broadly the issues and opportunities that it may face in the coming years, and has given us the opportunity to meet industry professionals. Beyond this, being able to experience publishing outside of the academic sphere and undertake industry placements has been profoundly helpful, and for this I give my deepest thanks to Prabha Choubina, ACAMH Publications Director, for her invaluable mentorship and informative discussions of the sector of academic journal publishing.

There were several key reasons why I wanted to do this work experience, ranging from experience for job applications and my future career, to general interest, and making connections and meeting interesting individuals. Firstly, I am very interested in scholarly publishing, and in order to make career decisions, I wanted to learn more about it. Secondly, there is huge value in having done work experience placements when applying to jobs after graduation, and I wanted to develop my understanding of the field. Thirdly, I plan to write a reflective essay on this placement for a university module, where I will discuss my findings and what I have learned here at ACAMH. I would also highlight that, while I love my degree and find the content fascinating, there are elements of the industry that cannot be learned by discussion in an academic context in the same way that they can be understood through experiencing them in the professional environment. This is something that I have found extremely valuable in this experience, and why this mentorship opportunity was so important to me.

There is much that I learned through this placement, both in terms of the landscape and processes of scholarly publishing, and knowledge and understanding gained, and in terms of my experience. The professional growth, and skills gained, has strengthened my knowledge base in this area, as well as cementing my ambition to go into publishing and giving me the tools to approach this career. I am tremendously grateful for having had Prabha as a mentor, which has allowed us to learn so much, ask questions, and better understand all aspects of scholarly journal publishing. Aside from gaining knowledge and helping me with my career, this placement also helped me to focus on my organisational and communication skills, as well as my ability to work productively remotely, and form interpersonal connections via Zoom. It also involved research and the necessity of consolidating and questioning findings.

My understanding of scholarly journal publishing generally has massively increased over the course of this month’s placement; I have learned about the structure of scholarly publishing organisations (as compared to other publishing houses), have discussed the workflow processes of journals, we have been introduced to manuscript central, have learned about rights, permissions and licensing, as well as the peer review process, and the dynamics with working with the academics. We have discussed the processes involved in commissioning articles and being presented with articles by researchers, editorial processes, publishing models, and the open access movement and subscription models. All of this has been fascinating, and I definitely feel that I understand it in a real-world, professional context, rather than just theoretically, through viewing it through the lens of a journal publisher rather than just researching independently. The topics we covered that piqued my interest the most, were the peer review process, and the open access movement. In these areas, my level of knowledge as to the processes involved and the ways that it works has rapidly developed throughout this placement. Over the course of this month, my knowledge has been vastly expanded as we have had these topics explained to us in a space where we can ask questions and discuss the way trends have changed over time, and I am profoundly grateful for having had this experience.


Good luck in publishing;a rapidly changing field.Leaves us readers diddizzed by all th e new changes.Les Scarth (very old child psychiatrist;technolgially ignorant!!)

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