The Sceptical Twitterer?

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One of the most frequent questions I am asked at conferences is ‘what do you do all day?’ It’s always hard to envision what someone else’s job is like; this is probably particularly true with me because I’m outside of the ‘normal’ scientific careers of academia and industry. I thought one simple way to try to tell you all what my day is like would be to give you a blow-by-blow account. So, here goes! Hope it’s not too boring…

8:53 – Sorting through some random notes, trying to figure out what I need to tackle first. I’m putting together an agenda for a meeting tomorrow, so that probably takes priority.

9:24 – Got distracted answering an email from someone who disagrees with a decision we made. Also, Josh just got back in the office and is telling us the news from London.

9:57 – Finished email, working on agenda.

10:26 – Finished agenda. Now I’ve got to send an email about a review I had sort-of commissioned and then need to read several papers.

11:00 – Sent email. Then I talked to Joanne about PubChem and what conferences we might go to next year. Really time to read papers!

11:31 – Debating the merits of a paper. Initial feeling is that sugars are cool.

11:58 – A mini-rant: If there is an article that compromises the novelty of your work, please don’t wait until the final paragraph of your 18 page paper to mention it. Needless to say, I recommended rejection. Now reading a second one.

12:28 – Got an awesome review outline from an author for my upcoming focus issue. Very excited! Also had to answer some questions about proofs of an article, and read a couple of papers as possible research highlights. One is not super exciting, one has potential.

1:01 – having lunch; heading to editorial team meeting.

1:57 – lots of stuff to talk about! Now headed to QC meeting of December issue.

3:03 – QC meeting is done, and we continued the editorial meeting. We had to decide what meetings to go to next year and it’s hard to pick! Now done with meetings for the day.

3:37 – Hopefully commissioned a News & Views, and did some other random things. Time flies!

4:02 – Making some notes on the review outline from earlier. Also wrote back to someone who has a cool story they want to submit to us.

4:33 – Drowning in production details. It would be better if our production team was in the same office with us.

5:04 – Looking for companies that might want to sponsor a new thing we’re doing. Also reading a paper. It would go faster if I picked one instead of doing both, probably!

5:39 – Computer malfunction + working on the last form I have to prepare for that meeting tomorrow. Phew!

6:00 – Sent an email to yet another person about something they’re writing for us. And, it’s nearly time to go home so I can pretend to have a ‘real’ life. So, in terms of whether this was a typical day: today was very productive in terms of doing long-term stuff, and working on some projects, but I really didn’t make much progress on the manuscripts, or get to look for referees at all. As a result, I’ll take some papers home to read overnight and plan to devote much more time to our submissions tomorrow.

Pretty glamorous, huh?!

Catherine (associate editor, Nature Chemical Biology)