Jennifer Sanders

Publishing Editor at Institute of Physics Publishing 

Jennifer Sanders

I get to read a variety of physics research before anyone else - that’s pretty exciting! I attend conferences to promote the journal and its activity, and to meet potential authors and referees, in places such as San Francisco, Rhodes and Colorado. Whilst it can be rather draining, the travel is great!

I made the conscious decision to develop my CV during my time at university; working at a department store during my BSc and as a telephone fundraiser for the University’s Alumni Fund whilst doing my MSc. During the PhD, I volunteered as an editor for the University’s postgraduate skills training newsletter STEPS which provided an insight into some of the elements of working in an editorial environment. I also demonstrated undergraduate laboratory, did scientific outreach, volunteered as a Girl Guide leader, and became a pastoral tutor in halls of residence.

My career

By the time I finished my A levels, I couldn’t envisage myself doing anything other than physics and knew I’d always want a career in science. After my PhD, I wanted, in some way, to be able to facilitate or make a contribution to the advancement and communication of scientific research. Working in scientific publishing seemed like the perfect choice for this. The Institute of Physics has a very positive reputation in directly supporting the physics community with education, funding and outreach. This, along with the job description, meant a job at the Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP) was exactly what I was looking for.

I manage the peer review process for IOPP’s applied physics title. Initially, I assess articles submitted to the journal for their suitability; whether the topic of each article falls within the scope of the journal and ensuring it meets other stringent criteria outlined by the journal and IOPP. If the article meets these criteria, I select appropriate reviewers to assess the article. These will be other experts within the field the article concerns - for example, academics and industry professionals. Based on these reviews, I make a decision on the next course of action required; fundamentally, whether the article should be rejected, revised by the authors or accepted for publication. Each day is a mixture of all these activities and I manage the article’s progress from start to finish. Accepted articles are then passed to the production department to be published online and in print.

I also attend conferences to promote the journal and its activity, and to meet potential authors and referees, in places such as San Francisco, Rhodes and Colorado. I also liaise and meet with members of the Editorial Board. Finally, I am responsible for developing and marketing the journal’s magnetism section including website coding, marketing materials and events, and commissioning content.

The thing I most enjoy about my current role is that I get to read a variety of physics research before anyone else - that’s pretty exciting! I feel rather privileged. I also enjoy the mix of tasks; reading research, commissioning content, website coding and design, marketing, project work, and much more. Finally, whilst it can be rather draining, the travel is great!

Studying at Manchester

It's perhaps a little obvious but the thing I most enjoyed about my course was the physics! It is the future and I always want to be a part of that. Also, the variety of optional modules available at Manchester was great. Finally, laboratory experiments were perfect for demonstrating and often cementing the principles and concepts of the lecture courses. I’m sure lots of students would relish the opportunity to do an experiment at Jodrell Bank too!
Apart from the technical and academic knowledge, which I put into use in my job every day, the one skill I can say with complete certainty that I gained as part of my time at Manchester are problem solving skills. I have developed a number of other transferable skills, though; such as communication, analytical, organisational skills to name but a few, all of which are extremely useful every day.

Thinking of choosing Physics at Manchester?

The quality of teaching and research in the Physics department at Manchester is excellent, the BSc being one of the best undergraduate physics courses in the country, if not wider! Secondly, Manchester is a wonderful city, especially for a student; it is so vibrant, there is something for everyone and always plenty going on. I miss it every day! My advice is simply to make the most of all that is available to you, academically and socially.

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