What Do Publishers Want?

At London Book Fair 2014, the consultants at Inspired Selection were meeting with Publishers across the industry to find out exactly what they are looking for from their staff. We sponsored an entire seminar stream and hosted a panel to get to the bottom of this.

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So today, we want to introduce 10 key skills that publishers are looking for in their people to future proof their companies.

Here are the top 10 skills that we heard the most about from publishers during the fair from both meetings and seminars which they are especially keen to see on CVs:

  1. Data Analysis & how to use it
  2. Knowledge of Mark up languages e.g. XML
  3. Microsoft Excel
  4. Publishing work flows and processes  and new publisher platforms
  5. Google Analytics (and other analytical tools/skills)
  6. Social platforms (paid for and unpaid)
  7. Consumer understanding and focus
  8. Entrepreneurial skills
  9. Problem-solving skills
  10. SEO/ Social Media

A passion for books, authors, words and content are still integral to any role within the publishing industry; but in order to be an industry that not only embraces change but leads in innovation, these skills are the key to that success. As the world changes the way in which it consumes content, so must we to evolve the way that we provide so that the publishers remain the industry that authors and creatives continue to look to in the first instance as disseminators of quality content.

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Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

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London Book Fair 2014 – In Summary

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This time last week, we were at London Book Fair. Months of preparation and excitement culminated in a fantastic three days at Earl’s Court where we attended meetings, called to stands, mingled at social events and, of course, attended every seminar of our People Development seminar stream as well as dropping into some others along the way. We met with people who are passionate about publishing and got the immeasurably useful opportunity to learn more about the products; leafing through the publications that our candidates will ultimately edit, sell, market, produce, digitise or publicise.

For us, book fairs are our chance to have a glimpse inside the companies we work for. Through meetings and conversations, we learn even more about the cultures of the companies, about the changes they have experienced or implemented, about the challenges they are facing or have overcome and about their achievements. It was such a positive experience for us to see how invested our clients are in their products and the knowledge they have of the industry and how, though it is constantly shifting, quality of content remains intrinsic to the process.

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Amongst other key highlights we took from London Book Fair 2014 was the evident drive within the industry to understand the customer more. Publishers have acknowledged the importance of market research and customer trends and are applying them to their product development concepts. Through social media platforms, networking and research, our clients are focusing on providing what the reader wants and in what form they want to access it. Authors are reaching out to their fan-base and empathising with them, relating to them and getting to know them. They are monitoring changes in society and how this influences what people need – are we a society that needs comfort or a challenge when we snuggle up with a book at night?

In terms of those working in publishing to produce this content, how have required skills and experience changed for them? Through our series of People Development seminars, we explored this, hoping to give our audiences a chance to futureproof their careers and update themselves on how skillsets have changed in line with the industry, with society and with the readership. In a separate blogpost, we will compile our “Top 10 Skills for Working in Publishing Now”…keep an eye out for this, it promises to be an informative summary.

The highlight for us was the very last seminar, “Futureproof Your Career”, which was the perfect ending to a jam-packed three days. Chaired by Inspired Selection’s Managing Consultant, Abigail Barclay, we compiled the theme and panel for this seminar ourselves and it allowed us the perfect opportunity to summarise on the three days and what we had learned about changes to desired skillsets in the industry.

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Our panel delivered a thoroughly engaging and up-to-date discussion on the steps needed to futureproof careers in the publishing industry today and a lengthy questions and answers session with the audience at the end led to an exploration on whether entrepreneurial spirit can be taught, tips on futureproofing an international publishing career and the best advice for pitching new ideas to senior management. Long after the seminar ended and the crowd dispersed, our panel stayed behind to chat with audience members and expand on what was discussed.

It is hard to summarise the benefits and influences of London Book Fair in a blogpost; it is such an important annual event for us and we were delighted to have been official sponsors this year. It enabled us to learn more about the companies we work for and the types of candidates they want for their teams.

We enjoyed browsing the products and hearing about plans for future product development and the territories in which certain publications are most successful. It was encouraging to see the growth in the industry and the demand for new sales and marketing teams across the sectors to handle this boom. Already, we are looking towards London Book Fair 2015 and thinking of ways in which we can contribute. For those of you who attended, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and for those who couldn’t make it this year, we hope we helped to keep you updated on Twitter and through our ongoing blogging.

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

Follow @inspiredjobs at London Book Fair 2014 #lbf14

Follow @inspiredjobs at London Book Fair 2014 #lbf14

The countdown is on to London Book Fair 2014 and we are in a flurry of preparation and anticipation here at Inspired Selection, finalising our meetings, printing off our maps and locating all the stands we will be visiting! With our sponsorship of the People Development seminar stream this year, we will be particularly active on Twitter throughout the event, making sure that we are sharing information with those who can’t make it to the seminars and interacting online with those who are also there.
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As well as tweeting from our Inspired Selection account, each Inspired Consultant will be tweeting on behalf of @inspiredjobs from their own Twitter accounts. As our clients and candidates know, each Consultant works across a specific sector/s of the industry and we will tweet accordingly. Our aim is to make sure that our followers get a rounded and engaging summary of our seminars and of the Book Fair generally. Make sure you are following us and keep an eye on the #lbf14 hashtag for a live feed of updates, info and news. We may even be tweeting details of new roles we pick up along the way!

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. If you are attending London Book Fair this year, we invite you to take a look at our People Development seminar stream that is running throughout the 3 days. If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.

Is peer review broken? Can we fix it?

This week we attended a fantastic event run by City University on the debates around peer review, is peer review broken? Can we fix it? Chaired by Connie St Louis, director for City University Science Journalism MA and award winning journalist, the panel consisted of an epic line up – Tom Reller, VP & Head of Global Relations for Elsevier; Richard Van Noorden, Senior Reporter at Nature; Tiago Villanueva, Editorial Registrar at the BMJ; Maria Kowalczuk, Deputy Biology Editor at BioMed Central; Peter Ayton, Associate Dean of Research at City University and Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, Principal Investigator at the Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Science Unit.

The debate kicked off with each panellist talking about the problems that peer review faces in its current state. Niko talked about the wide range of problems that do exist that are not necessarily going to have a simple solution, one issue being fraud. By expanding the evaluation pre publication process, this is not going to solve this problem and there was an overall agreement across the panel that fraud is not going to be able to be picked up by peer review – that is not its purpose. The assessment of science is a difficult problem and one which has been around in the form of peer review since well before the internet. As academics and publishers it is important to remember that the younger generation coming in now will be able to imagine a different method of assessing science and evaluating the current peer review process; this is an important development for the continued success of peer review to go forward. The real question is; how will academics and publishers want to organise the collective process in which they evaluate their science in the future? This is the challenge and it will take a strong collaborative approach from all parties in order to move this forward.

It seems that there is a constant conflict between academics and publishers around peer review – Niko went on to say that the publishing industry has done science a great service, but they have also made an awful lot of money out of that. By reinventing peer review, most of the new ideas amount to scientists using the internet to self organise papers and this will in turn cut publishers out as administrators of peer review. This is a huge conflict and one that needs to be addressed in any reassessment of peer review moving forwards.

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Tom gave his perspective from Elsevier’s viewpoint, speaking about how publishers will continue to thrive and do well as long as they continue to administer the peer review systems that scientists want. There is a huge amount of innovation in how peer review is being done differently but that doesn’t mean that they have to start completely from scratch. He described an excellent analogy for peer review when he said that if you think of peer review as a rubber band and you keep stretching it, the more you stretch it, the easier it will be for bad things to filter through – we often hear about the bad things that have come from peer review, the fraud and increasing retractions for example, but it’s important to remember there are a lot of positive things as well.

Tiago explained the process of peer review from the very start, when a batch of papers arrives on his desk. From there, he sends it out to 6 peer reviewers which he finds on a database, 90% of the time Tiago doesn’t know who these people are and often gets poor reviews back. This means that often they end up using reviewers who give good reviews but does this then create a bias? With traditional peer review, the author and the reviewers don’t know each others identities, but with open peer review they do, which can create conflict on both sides.

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The increasing retraction of papers was another element of the debate that came up, maybe because of more fraud, more competition and a higher pressure to get published. The general consensus from the panel was that this is a good thing; it means the papers that are being published are of a higher quality. Peer review cannot be expected to detect fraudulent papers, 2-4 people reviewing that paper cannot be tasked with the decision on whether that data is right or wrong, the scientific community is based on trust and that is how the peer review system has always operated. Tom at Elsevier confirmed that trust in the industry is absolutely critical, telling someone you don’t trust what they submit leads to a need for policing which then stretches the rubber band even further making things problematic. The internet is also hugely powerful, science is only just starting to see the power that the internet has and how it can help them in allowing for lots of information to be changed. We need this to allow post publication review and discussion but we also need filtration and for people to get the chance to improve a manuscript, both before and after publication. Niko favours open peer review, he said reviews should be published, reviews should be signed and it should be possible for everyone to contribute. There will always be the problem where people can’t see where a paper is incorrect (because it hasn’t been subject to pre-publication) but academics should come out with papers publicly, stand by their judgements and then organise a collective, cognitive process.

So, is peer review broken? Absolutely not, the notion of it being broken means it wouldn’t work or serve it’s purpose – it may be chipped and stretched and in need of some tlc but the tools are here. We have the power of the internet, the incoming younger generation mixed with the generation who have been using the current process for their whole lifetimes can come together to create an innovative, collaborative process for the assessment of scientific research.

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! This year, we are sponsoring London Book Fair and invite you to take a look at our People Development seminar stream that is running throughout the 3 days. If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter