When I first spotted the Prepress Projects intern opportunity on Twitter, I got very excited; the description sounded exactly like what I wanted to do in my publishing career: editing academic content. The fact that it was full-time work was daunting at first as I still had my dissertation to write, but it turned out not to be as difficult as I imagined to balance the two. Having already done internships in trade and educational publishing, this was the perfect opportunity to try out academic publishing. As a science graduate originally, academic publishing sounded ideal to combine my interests in science and editorial.
From day 1 I was made to feel a part of the team, and everything was arranged as if I was a permanent member of staff, with flexible hours, holidays and – unusual for a publishing internship – a salary. I joined the NIHR journals team, where I am gradually getting to grips with the style guide and familiarising myself with the production process for the journals. First up was styling the reports in MS Word, which taught me much about using Word. Wildcards are particularly useful. Styling involves setting the text in journal-style fonts and headings; it helps with XML tagging further down the line. Other tasks include collating author responses to queries on to the master report and proofreading reports after typesetting, which has solidified my knowledge of the proofreading symbols. Referencing in general I used to find quite intimidating but I have become adept with the Vancouver style from dealing with NIHR journals.
I have also been given responsibility for the peer review process for papers for a medical journal, something that is an entirely new area to me. This involved learning how to use ScholarOne and find suitable reviewers for a wide array of papers.
Two months into the internship, I was offered a contract for a further year, with a view to making it permanent if the opportunity arises. I am delighted with this outcome; I have learned a lot from the summer internship, and I know there is so much more to learn here. I even get to attend Publishing Scotland courses on proofreading and copy-editing later this year.
The variety in the tasks suits me perfectly. Colleagues are very friendly and helpful, always willing to answer questions. On starting work, there was a lot of information to take in. But everything is incredibly organised and the training is excellent and very detailed. I particularly like that from day 1 you are included in everything and are provided with an overview of the whole process and how your work contributes, rather than just given an isolated task with no idea of where it fits in. I would definitely recommend going for this position if interested in academic publishing and/or copy-editing processes. Even without any scientific background, this internship is extremely worthwhile for providing a thorough grounding in publishing processes.