Dr. Fiona Carr, Senior Editor and Team Manager at Nature’s open-access journal for Neuroscience and Psychology

On July 22nd, I had the opportunity to attend a summer CORE event which discussed the role of a scientific editor. I was pleased to hear from Dr. Fiona Carr, who is the Senior Editor and Team Manager at Nature’s open-access journal for Neuroscience and Psychology. Dr. Carr discussed her career pathway moving from research to publications and the publication process at Nature communications.

Through previous work and volunteer experience in addition to the summer CORE program, I felt knowledgeable about research and the different ways of producing and analyzing data. However, I was lacking specific information on what happens after a paper is submitted to a publication. I understood the concept of peer-reviewed and impact factor regarding journals but have not thought more in-depth about what this means within a professional environment, or for career opportunities. Dr. Carr’s talk taught me a lot about what happens after a paper is submitted and what happens at a publisher’s office.

Dr. Carr first began the presentation by discussing her academic and professional background. She first did an undergraduate degree in pharmacology where she participated in research projects surrounding neuroscience. This encouraged Dr. Carr to complete a Ph.D. specializing in neuroscience, and then a post-doctorate degree as well. After she was offered a job as assistant editor for Nature. Knowing her specialty was in neuroscience, and because Nature Communications is a large company that allows for growth, she eventually moved to her current position as Senior Editor for the neuroscience journal of Nature.

The presentation continued with Dr. Carr explaining the different outcomes of submitted papers, such as accepted, rejected or revising for possible publication. The process of finding a reviewer along with their necessary qualifications was also discussed. Dr. Carr explained how Ph.D. or Masters students can go on to review publications under their supervisor. Something I found very interesting was when Dr. Carr explained her specific duties and what her job entails as a Senior Editor. She even answered questions that were specific to me, such as can a veterinarian become an editor for a journal, and the process for doing so.

Exploring a career in research editing is not something I have previously considered. However, after listening to Dr. Carr speak and hearing how passionate she is about her job it does sound like something I will be considering in the future. What stood out to me is how editors see the research and publications that are specific to their field firsthand. It allows them to understand the most current findings while remaining up to date in their careers, which is something I find extremely valuable.

Maria Papapetrou, Student Veterinarian, OVC Class of 2024.