Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

Takin’ care of business

Happy new year to everyone! I hope you were all able to take off a few days from lab-work/school-work/work and catch up on sleep, read a few good books, and decompress a bit…

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, but I just wanted to tell you some great news – I’m very happy to announce that Stuart Cantrill will be the chief editor of Nature Chemistry (set to launch in early 2009)…

Some of you may have noticed that NPG is now searching for editors to join Stuart at Nature Chemistry, as well as a chemistry editor to take his place at Nature Nanotechnology

If you have any questions about what life is like as an editor, please feel free to post it here and one (or more) of us will let you know our thoughts…

Hope you all had a great break!


Joshua Finkelstein (Senior Editor, Nature)


  1. Report this comment

    Joel said:

    So, um, what is life like as an editor? How did you get into editing?

  2. Report this comment

    Mitch said:

    Congratulations Stuart!

    Where can we find more information about Nature’s upcoming chemistry journal?

  3. Report this comment

    Stuart said:

    Hey Mitch – thanks – as for more info, in the not too distant future there will be some info on NPG’s website, stay tuned… Stuart

  4. Report this comment

    Catherine said:

    Life as an editor is good – lots of reading, some writing, traveling, and occasionally thinking (hard to believe). I really enjoy the exposure to so many different branches of science and getting to meet/talk to researchers who are passionate about their work. It’s also good for me because it’s so deadline-oriented, at least for the monthly publications.

  5. Report this comment

    Joel said:

    Hi Catherine,

    Thanks for your response. Maybe this is more appropriate for the forum mentioned by Maxine, but how much work is there to be had as an editor beyond working at Nature or Science?

    It’s my understanding that many of the editors for other journals are so part-time, and have research programs of their own.

  6. Report this comment

    Catherine said:

    That’s a hard one to answer, at least for me. There are certainly other journals that use full time (‘professional’) editors (as compared to professors who serve, as you suggest) – Cell Press does and I think ACS Chemical Biology (and perhaps ACS Nano?) has a managing editor who serves the same role (others, anyone??). But you’re definitely right that this isn’t a million-person industry. However (although I’m the wrong person to ask, never having been on the other end of a hiring effort), I’m not sure there are that many people who are ready to take the plunge, either, since it seems a bit daunting to leave the research track. On a related note, I think there are also similar roles for science writers (at Scientific American, PNAS, and elsewhere, including freelance) for people who want to stay in touch with the science but not do it. I would like to recommend a more global source of information on these types of jobs, but I’m afraid I don’t know one. Can anyone help out?

  7. Report this comment

    Stu said:

    All of the Royal Society of Chemistry journals are run by professional editors, as are the Wiley ones (as far as I know)… the ACS uses academics (probably because it’s cheaper…).

  8. Report this comment

    Maxine said:

    If you mean “Nature” the journal, then there are a lot of opportunites at Nature Publishing Group’s other Nature journals (about 30) and websites, as manuscript, commissioning or news editors/writers.

    There are many other ways in which scientists can work in editorial roles without working for an actual journal. For example, websites such as employ editors and writers. There are a lot of opportunities out there.

    The Nature Network forum is specifically for questions and answers about the Nature journals; there is a discussion thread there about the kinds of job scientists can do in our journals and what qualifications they need, so it is worth a look. It is all free, so you can add your own questions and two-cents’ worth there, also. Look forward to seeing you there!

  9. Report this comment

    Evelyn Jabri said:

    ACS Chemical Biology and ACS Nano have Editor-in-Chiefs (Laura Kiessling and Paul Weiss, respectively) who are full time prominent researchers at universities. They are assisted by full-time professional senior and managing editors who work on various aspects of peer review, print and web production, and development of web-only features/content.

    You may find the ‘Careers in Publishing’ article published in ASBMB Today (

    a useful resource if you are considering a career change.

    Evelyn Jabri (Sr. Acquisitions Editor, ACS)

  10. Report this comment

    Catherine said:

    Oops – sorry to have provided incorrect information about the ACS journals. Thanks for clarifying, Evelyn!

  11. Report this comment

    Anne said:

    Do associate editors typically start immediately upon completion of their Ph.D. or postdoctoral work? Is it necessary to have any formal writing and/or editing experience? Thanks!

  12. Report this comment

    Stu said:

    Hi Anne – some of our associate editors on the Nature research journals have postdoc experience whereas some are fresh from their PhDs. As it says in the job ad, postdoc experience is preferred, but not required, so potential applicants without postdoc experience shouldn’t be put off from applying. As for ‘formal’ writing and editing experience – no, you don’t need to have taken a course in scientific writing or similar, but a successful candidate will have good communication skills, both written and oral. If you’ve given presentations during your PhD and written papers – which hopefully most people do – that’s a good start. – Stuart