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Q&A: Going into scientific publishing after the PhD

Q&A time! Some time ago, I received the following question from a reader (edited for Anonimity):

Dear Eva,

I really like your blog. As a PhD student who doesn’t want to stay in Academia, some of your articles are really helpful for me.

I’m currently finishing up my PhD, I have about 3-4 months left and for the last couple of years I’ve been considering into going scientific editing and/or publishing after my PhD. People always ask me to check their papers and thesis, I have an eye for detail and good at getting the message across, but I also actually really enjoy it.

Since I was born and raised in City X, I always considered going back and working for Publisher Y. However, I’ve started to realise that to become an editor, I have to stay in academia, and on the other hand as a publisher I’m not sure if I’ll like the managing part of it. I’m also worried about career development and pay. I’m not sure if people in this field earn good money.

My other option is to go into R&D in industry. I’m still thinking about both options.

Do you have any advice or information about this for me? I would really appreciate it. I’m a little at lost here as you can imagine, about life after the PhD.

I hope to hear from you.

Best Regards

Here’s my answer:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for reaching out to me through my blog and sending me your question.

I must say that I don’t have experience with scientific editing and publishing. I volunteer as an academic editor for a journal, but I don’t really know what work looks like “on the other side” – the professional part of publishing. If you are interested in this option though, I would recommend you to look in your network for somebody who can introduce you to an editor/publisher. You can also ask your advisor for help with this. You can also look on Twitter for the #altac hashtag and chat for people who’ve taken this career path.

With regard to industry and R&D, that certainly is a valid option after the PhD, and quite a popular choice.

If you find it hard to make a choice, you can ask for help in the career center of your university. Through an appointment with a career counselor you can get insight in your strengths, and how your different possible career options are more or less suited to your personality and strengths.

For what it’s worth, I also recommed you to do a search on the “after the PhD” tag on PhD Talk, to read the posts from guest authors and myself about their careers after the PhD.

I hope this helps!


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