Sophia Anderton

Sophia AndertonMeet Sophia Anderton, BIR’s new publisher, and find out what’s in store for BJR this year.

What appealed to you about this role?

I got into academic publishing through a love of science. Half way through studying for my chemistry degree I realised that a lab-based career was not for me, so after graduation I joined the publishing graduate training scheme at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Publishing is a great way to stay in touch with science without being at the coal face. I spent eight and a half years working there in a variety of different roles, and was ultimately responsible for peer review across all titles at the RSC.
When I saw the publisher role at the BIR, it immediately caught my attention. It was the perfect way to work in all aspects of the publishing process, and I felt I could bring the skills I’d learned from working at another not-for-profit society publisher.

What are your plans for BJR?

I intend to continue the impressive work started by my predecessor Claire Rawlinson to give BJR a modern, up-to-date image and create a journal that really meets the needs of the community it serves.
I want to work on promoting the great articles we publish to make sure the whole radiology community knows about BJR and turns to it when looking for research covering multidisciplinary areas of radiation science.

What sorts of trends do you see in the world of academic publishing?

In this digital age, scientific research is primarily read online. Readers want access to papers at all times, in all places and on the go. The publisher’s job is to ensure that high-quality research can be accessed every hour of the day via a variety of different devices and to make sure they stay up to date with technology and innovation.
Open access will become an increasingly important issue for everyone involved in publishing. More and more funders are requiring papers they’ve funded to be published via open access. BJR meets the needs of research mandated in this way in the form of BIROpen, our open access option.

Which three scientists would you like to spend an evening with and why?

Dorothy Hodgkin—a British female chemist who worked on X-ray diffraction to determine the 3D structures of biomolecules including insulin and vitamin B12, for which she won the Nobel prize.

Dmitri Mendeleev, the creator of the first version of the periodic table, one of the most beautiful and perfect ways of organising natural substances.

Perhaps not a fun-filled evening, but I’d like to spend some time with Werner Heisenberg to sit down and try and get to grips with some quantum mechanics! Something I always struggled with at university.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

This role covers parts of publishing that I haven’t worked on directly before, so I’m having to get up to speed in a lot of new areas very quickly. It’s all really interesting and I’m loving it.

What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started working with BIR?

The best thing is the wonderful welcome I’ve received from all the BIR staff and the members of council I’ve met. I was made to feel at home right from day one; a really supportive group of people.
And the worst… I spilled an entire cup of tea all over the brand new office kitchen on my first morning—it went everywhere!

When you are not a publisher, how do you like to spend your time?

I’ve recently moved back to London so I’m enjoying all the things the Big Smoke can offer. I’ve always been involved in music and sung in choirs, so I’m looking forward to lots of London singing.

Which actress would play you in the film about your life?

A young Julie Andrews.

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