The road to becoming an Editor

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Fri Nov 24 2023

Author: Guest contributor

Prof. Pranjal Chandra shares his journey on how he arrived to where he is today - lots of hard work, handling of various projects and earning accolades along the way. 

How long have you been an Editor for the International Handbook of Nanobioelectrochemistry?

In July 2022, I was assigned as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Handbook of Nanobioelectrochemistry. In addition to this, I have been working with Springer for several years now and have edited over 15 books of high repute.

Please give us some background on yourself and what attracted you to this role?

My group and I have contributed more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals/articles along with 17 books, among which 2 books recently got high-pitched appreciations (top books in the world by Forbes and Book Authority USA). I am also serving as an associate editor and editor for several peer-reviewed journals. As a Principal Investigator, I have handled various research projects for translational research in healthcare and biosensor applications. Our research has been highlighted in top-tier articles/news and has earned some prestigious accolades and awards including the Young Scientist Award from Indian Society of Chemists and Biologists (ISCB), 2022 and the Shakuntala Amir Chand Prize 2020 from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to name a few.

My experiences and the resources provided by Springer Nature attracted me to the role. Finding suitable peer reviewers for a manuscript can be challenging and time-consuming. Springer Nature helps make this process considerably more accessible and faster. Their Reviewer Finder is an exciting tool that reduces the manual work of finding relevant reviewers.

What makes Handbooks unique?

A Handbook provides researchers with a thorough understanding of research regulations of a particular domain and other essential practices, principles, and perks. In a word, it outlines primary responsibilities, defines methodologies, and establishes clear ideas about outcomes. A Handbook is an essential introduction to any new research area for recruits, giving them information they may use to comprehend their goals and values. A Handbook is also considered a type of reference work or other instructions intended to provide a ready reference. Handbooks may deal with any topic and are generally compendiums of information in a particular field or technique. They are designed to be easily consulted and provide quick answers for a specific area.

Describe a typical day as an Editor? 

As an educator and an editor, balancing and managing time plays a significant part. So, each day is genuinely different in a beautiful way. Editorial meetings are crucial; my co-editors decide what sections or essential topics can be included in a volume. Perspective and intellectual inputs are the key points here to be discussed. Sorting of the chapters according to their relevance is the following topic of interest. Then, we must decide and address the experts in the concerned fields. Around these meetings, I'll be answering emails. For the last editorial, I sent around 750 emails, read 820, and had over 100 chats and calls.

Sometimes, there are days when I will need to drop everything – for example, if an interesting new submission comes in and we are on deadline, if there's a problem within the team, or if an author needs to discuss their edits or publishing plan urgently. I prioritize ensuring the authors are satisfied and comfortable with their intellectual input.

In a nutshell, the following are the responsibilities I handle day-to-day as an editor:

  • Preparing, rewriting, and editing copy to improve readability or supervise others who do this work.
  • Verifying facts, dates, and statistics using standard reference sources.
  • Developing content ideas, considering reader or audience appeal.
  • Planning the contents of publications according to the publication's style, editorial policy, and publishing requirements.
  • Overseeing publication production, including artwork, layout, computer typesetting, and printing, ensuring adherence to deadlines and budget requirements.

What do you like about being an Editor?

Research editors check the accuracy of factual information in manuscripts, find additional information to support written material, write and edit, and cultivate new ideas. In my opinion, expansion of imagination and boundaries of knowledge are equally necessary to become a research editor for a journal or book publisher, along with solid writing and editing skills. That is the most exciting thing for me.

What are the most challenging tasks of the role, and how do you tackle them?

There are quite a few challenging tasks:

  • Ensuring a supply of high-quality manuscripts to the publishing house in quantities that can maintain the journal's publishing schedule. If insufficient manuscripts are being submitted, discuss how to address this with the publishing contact at Springer Nature.
  • Ensuring the subject matter of the manuscripts reflects any changes of direction in the field of study to incorporate newly emerging work.
  • Conducting activities per generally accepted industry standards for integrity and objectivity and with the journal's and the publisher's policies. 
  • Selecting the appropriate reviewer and continually engaging with them on the manuscript's progress while updating and including them on ideas for editorial development.
  • Providing strategic input into the journal's development.

How has Springer Nature supported you within your role?

The publishing contract from Springer Nature is always there to:

  • Report to on the journal's performance and suggest possible strategies for development, as well as professionally discuss my suggestions.
  • Review communications I send them regarding industry and company developments and information and advice, which are all relevant to my role.
  • Highlight commercial advertising, supplement, and reprint opportunities if these form essential sources of income for my journal/editorial.
  • Promote the journal to peers and colleagues.

What advice can you give someone who has recently stepped into the editor position?

This may be a sensitive topic to advise on. I will briefly give some advice here that I personally follow. One might have noticed that most articles, even those you wrote yourself, get expanded and improved by other editors. Working together is the best way to develop a complete article/manuscript/book or publishing material. The other editors are doing their best, too, and getting along well with them is key.

  • Be polite and discuss issues with authors and reviewers respectfully. Try to work out problems calmly if they arise. Don't keep changing the article back and forth (we call that an edit war) or make cutting comments in edit summaries. There are plenty of ways to ask for help when things could get out of hand. It might be someone who shares the same idea you have but also someone who finds it irrelevant and unnecessary to address.
  • If someone points out a mistake you made, thank them for telling you, and don't take it badly. If someone is concerned about an edit you made, explain why you did it. It's natural to make mistakes sometimes—we have all learned from the comments and criticisms that we hear from each other every day.
  • If you receive a cautionary message, think carefully about what it says. You may have done something wrong. If the warning is correct, avoid making the same mistake again. If you believe it is incorrect, politely discuss it or ask another editor for their opinion.
  • Respect another editor's experience. Sometimes, the editor may know more than you do about a topic. Your contributions are just as valuable as everyone else's, but the other editor working on the article might be one of the world's leading experts on that topic! Just as you want to be respected for who you are and what you contribute, you must also be ready to respect others too.
  • Most editors will not judge you by your age, even if they know it, but they will judge you by your maturity, as reflected in your work. Over time, you will develop a reputation for the quality of your work and how you interact with others. You will want to make sure your reputation is a good one.

P_Pranjal Chandra © Springer Nature 2023
About the author

Prof. Pranjal Chandra is an Associate Professor at the School of Biochemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, India. He earned his Ph.D. from Pusan National University, South Korea, and pursued post-doctoral training at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel. 

His research interest focuses on the vivid fields of BioNanoSensors, NanoDiagonstics, NanoAnalytics, Nanobioengineering, Pre-formulation and Formulation of Smart-materials and their applications, Medical Device Development to provide pertinent solutions to healthcare industries.


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