As a passionate student pursuing an MA in Publishing, I recently embarked on a two-week work placement with the Publications department at the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH). It was a nice coincidence that the work placement was in January which is celebrated as National Mentorship month in order to raise awareness about the power and impact of mentoring. This immersive experience gave me invaluable insights into the intricate world of academic publishing. I learnt about the specific demands and ethical considerations in academic publishing and the ever-evolving technological landscape. It gave me an understanding of how seemingly minor things like the Acknowledgements and Declaration of Interest sections play an important part in the ethical policies of the journal publishing world. This expanded my knowledge base exponentially which encouraged me to pursue a career in this fascinating field.
What elevated my experience was the chance to learn directly from an industry professional. My mentor was Prabha Choubina, the Publications Director. Her insights and guidance on the complex workings of academic publishing were very eye-opening. She patiently explained everything from the nuances of scholarly publishing and peer review models (single-blind, double-blind) to the complexities of open-access publishing models (green, gold). We also had a discussion about the importance of peer review that is conducted for free in this industry. It led to my first task which involved researching the different ways ACAMH could recognise the efforts of the reviewers and reward them appropriately.
The highlight of this work placement was learning about Manuscript Central, the industry-standard platform for manuscript submission and review. Witnessing how it streamlined the entire workflow, from author submissions to editorial communication, gave me a deeper understanding of the decisions made by the editors regarding reviewers and authors. I also enjoyed meeting the editorial team, who I aspire to join one day. Their passion for their work combined with their knowledge of the industry was inspiring. They generously shared their experiences, career paths and advice, providing me with crucial insights and motivation. Beyond the traditional aspects of publishing, one feature that surprised me was the role of marketing. I discovered that scholarly journals require strategic marketing efforts to reach their target audience of researchers, librarians, and institutions which included creating awareness of the back-issue articles through topic-based collections.
As I look back on my two weeks at ACAMH, I feel immense gratitude. I am deeply thankful to my mentor and the entire team at ACAMH for hosting me and providing me with such an invaluable learning experience. Their mentorship and guidance have been instrumental in solidifying my career aspirations and equipping me with the skills and knowledge to pursue them. I hope that this program continues to offer opportunities for students like myself, as mentorship is truly a valuable asset in today’s ever-evolving industry.