What does it take to get your journal article from submission to publication? How does your book go from a manuscript to a title available at your university library? When your journal partners with Springer Nature for distribution, what steps are taking place to ensure all goes smoothly? We’re answering these questions and more in our new series “Behind the Scenes at Springer Nature.” Learn about the work being done across the company by our dedicated employees from around the world. Today we’re chatting with Nathalie Jacobs from our Springer editorial team.
I am a Senior Editor for Engineering publications. I am part of the Applied Sciences Editorial Group and I work at the Dordrecht office in the Netherlands.
What are the main duties of your job?
I am responsible for the acquisition and publication of engineering books, reference works and journals. Apart from that, I have been leading author workshops in Spanish, at universities in Spanish speaking countries.
What does your workday look like on a typical day?
When I am at the office I normally start by checking and answering my e-mails, I review book proposals that have come in and forward them to reviewers in each specific discipline/field. I check the journal publications to see if everything is running smoothly, if we are publishing in time, and I coordinate things with the assistant editors that work with me on my publishing program.
If a board meeting for one of my journals is coming up I prepare the presentation for this board meeting by collecting all kinds of data about the journal in question.
In case I am at a conference, I go to the booth and try to talk to as many (future) authors as possible. Some appointments are made in advance and some people just drop by the booth to talk to me. It is always nice to see people in person, it gives you so much more room to explain how Springer Nature works and what we can do for them. We also hold editorial board meetings for our journals at conferences, usually during the lunch breaks, or in the evening.
What project(s) have you most enjoyed working on?
To be honest, I enjoy working on most of my books and journals. It is always nice when authors come back to you with a new book project. This means that they have enjoyed working with us and that they were happy with their previous book. I really enjoyed working on the Handbook of Sustainable Engineering. I was really proud to have a foreword by Nobel Prize winner Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He said: “The efficient utilization of energy, sustainable use of natural resources, and large-scale adoption of sustainable technologies is the key to a sustainable future. The Handbook of Sustainable Engineering provides tools that will help us achieve these goals”. Having published this book, to me it feels as if we as a company also contributed to a more sustainable world.”
I also enjoy leading workshops in Spanish speaking countries. I lived in Spain for seven years and before working at Springer I had my own translation office. For me, being able to use my Spanish is really great, and universities really appreciate the fact that we give workshops in Spanish. The workshops give me a lot of energy as people have so many questions, and they are really happy to be able to ask questions to a publishing editor that speaks their own language. To me, being able to help them with their queries and publications gives me enormous satisfaction. They are very grateful and sometimes ask questions in their own language that they may have not felt they could have asked as easily in English.
Since starting at the company, what changes have been most notable?
I started to work for the company in January 2000. Back then I was a part of Kluwer Academic Publishers. In 2004 we joined Springer, and now we are a part of Springer Nature. I have of course noticed the mergers, however I think changes that were implemented were only for the good of the company and our authors. In these past 17 years I have seen so many changes, the rise of eBooks, for example, and the implementation of the manuscript submission and peer review tracking systems for journals. When I started to work for the company journal articles were sent to reviewers by surface mail or fax! The review process, of course, took much longer, and the way it is done now is far more efficient. We are now able to offer so much more to our authors and audience. We have also become even more global and international.
What do you most enjoy about your role/working at Springer Nature?
I like the fact that I am part of a truly global team. My direct manager is based in Germany and colleagues from my team are based all over the world- in Beijing, Singapore, London, New York, and Milan, to name a few places. It is really nice to work with so many international colleagues and to learn from each other’s cultures.
Apart from that, I attend many conferences worldwide. This year a conference could be in Amsterdam, but next year or in two years’ time it could be held in Singapore or Athens. It is really nice to go to these conferences and meet the authors and editorial board members of journals. Sometimes the plane is full of people going to the same conference and discussions about new books start on the plane on my way to the conference, or on the plane going home. This makes even the plane trip effective and fun as you are already doing business.
Having been with the company for more than 17 years, it means that you know people within the engineering community very well. Sometimes when I stand at the conference booth it is like meeting with family. Authors, and even their partners, are really happy to see you again as in all these years you build a personal as well as a working relationship with them. Sometimes I watch programmes on the Discovery Channel and my husband always laughs when I tell him the names of engineers talking on a show. I know many of them and it is great to see that many of my contacts are at the cutting edge of modern developments that affect our daily life.