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Cornell University


Tuesday, March 06, 2018
BESTie visits Nature Publishing Group

Do you love reading science papers? Are you interested in becoming a science editor? BESTie James Chon, Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biologypondered this option and decided to explore this career path. He approached the BEST Program and secured support to attend an Editor Information Seminar with Nature Publishing Group in NYC on March 1, 2018. See a summary of his visit.

Editors from Nature Publishing showed us both the day in the life of an editor, and the requirements to be an editor. Here are my takeaways:  

What is like to be an editor 

1.Synthesize a lot of manuscripts quickly. 
2.Decide if manuscripts are worth sending out for peer review. 
3.Try to get PI's to peer review. 
4.Its a service job, be kind to all authors, even when its difficult. No burning bridges. 
5.The work schedule expands and contracts, depending on staffing. 
6.You have to be "on" all the time. There are no days where you can zone out. 
7.They said the glassdoor salaries were pretty accurate. Glassdoor lists associate editor at an average salary of $66k. 
8.You will have to go to several conferences (about 4) a year. 


1.From Nature Genetics: People who have experienced what it is to be a scientist (e.g. publish, go to conferences). Based on that, you may or may not need feel a postdoc is necessary. 
2.Reviewing manuscripts is helpful. 
3.Interview: Read 3 manuscripts in 1hr, summarize. They will intentionally pick material outside of your expertise. 
4.Reading broadly helps. 

All the speakers were current editors at Nature. Michael and Lei were deployed from the London office, working remotely at the NYC office. 

1.Catherine Potenski, PhD. Associate Editor, Nature Genetics. 
2.Lei Lei, PhD. Associate Editor, Nature Genetics. 
3.Michael Chao, PhD. Associate Editor, Nature Microbiology. 
4.Beth Moorefield, PhD. Senior Editor, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Nature offices in: NYC, Boston, San Francisco, London, Shanghai.