Journal Coordinator, Canadian Science Publishing, Dr. Tanya Samman @T_S_Sci: A Day in the GeoLife Series

NAME: Dr. Tanya Samman

CURRENT TITLE: Journal Coordinator, Canadian Science Publishing Open

AREA OF EXPERTISE: Geoscience/Palaeontology

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 1+ year in the publishing industry; 4+ years freelance editing; 3 years contract teaching in academia at the end of and just after completing my Ph.D.

EDUCATION: B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D., although the graduate degrees were not a requirement for my current position.

BIO:  Tanya Samman (@T_S_Sci) has a multidisciplinary background and brings an interdisciplinary approach to all her pursuits. She received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. from the University of Calgary, specializing in palaeontology and geology. Her research interests include palaeoecology and functional morphology/biomechanics. Tanya is interested not only in the research aspect of science, but also in science education, outreach, and communication. She volunteers her time with several organizations and has participated in activities that include mentoring, classroom visits, field trips, presenting talks, setting up and staffing palaeontology and geology booths/tables for public events, and presenting research through the media. She has taught introductory geology and scientific literacy courses and is an alumna of the Banff Science Communications program.

Tanya Samman in the badlands of Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, southern Alberta, Canada. Photo copyright: Tanya Samman

Tanya Samman in the badlands of Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, southern Alberta, Canada. Photo copyright: Tanya Samman

What’s your job like?

I started my journey in the scientific/scholarly publishing world in a position where I was to learn the ropes of various aspects of the company so I could fill in wherever needed. A “Jill-of-all-trades”, of sorts… I moved into my current position after completing stints in two different areas of the company—with knowledge that will serve me well in my current role! The focus of my job right now is to help get the new multidisciplinary open access science journal that Canadian Science Publishing is developing up and running, working with the project manager, the Senior Editor of the journal, and the rest of the implementation team.

We’re chronicling highlights of our journey on the Canadian Science Publishing blog:
http://www.cdnsciencepub.com/blog/FACETS_.aspx

You can read more about FACETS at www.facetsjournal.com

Once the journal is launched, I will be responsible for handling and/or coordinating the day-to-day aspects of the submission and peer review process, the production process after manuscripts are accepted, and supporting the Senior Editor and the Editorial Board.

I also get the opportunity to assist with and support some of the science communications and social media activities at Canadian Science Publishing, both relating to the new journal and to my geoscience/palaeontology background.

It’s wonderful to be able to be involved in so many things! It keeps things interesting…

What’s a typical day like?

At this stage of the project, no day is alike! My tasks mostly involve email communications with various people involved in the project, meetings, writing documentation/content, editing, planning, and working with other team members on various aspects of the project… So many things happen on a daily basis!

Once the journal is launched, my day will be split between submission and peer review tasks, production tasks, Senior Editor and Editorial Board support, meetings, and any science communications/social media tasks that are relevant to the journal or to my area of expertise.

What’s fun?

It’s exciting to be part of something new from the beginning. I’m learning new things all the time, which is great!

It’s also interesting to have gained insight into the scientific/scholarly publishing industry both as an author and from working in the industry! It’s a valuable perspective to have.

What’s challenging?

It’s a very big and complex project, with many people involved! Lots to balance in order to meet our objectives on schedule.

Outside of that, an additional challenge is the perception of being a “failed academic,” because I didn’t end up with a job at a university, college, or museum (I’m part of the alt-ac, or “alternative academic” community). Not so!!! I am fond of saying that I’m still a scientist; it’s just not my day job!!

What’s your advice to students?

Identify and cultivate transferable skills, both professional and personal. Be a well-rounded person! You may not get your “dream job” so sometimes you have to be creative. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial in today’s job market. Enjoy and appreciate your educational journey, particularly if you pursue graduate work; it is an end unto itself, not just a means to an end.

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