We champion the cause of authors at every chance we get: Clarinda Cerejo, Editage Insights
As the Editor-in-Chief of Editage Insights, Clarinda Cerejo oversees the functioning of a global multilingual learning and discussion platform for researchers. She has over 11 years of experience working closely with non-native English-speaking authors to help them get published in international English-language journals. Through her work as an academic editor and trainer, she has become well acquainted with the pressures that researchers face and the challenges they encounter in trying to get published. She is passionate about author education and aims to improve communication between authors and journals through her research publications and podium presentations. As Editor-in-Chief, Clarinda effectively holds together the machinery of Editage Insights.
After an exciting month of celebrating our four-year anniversary, we decided to look back at the journey we set out on, back in 2013. Why was Editage Insights launched? What inspired its vision and goals? What does Editage Insights have lined up for the future? Who better to answer all of these questions than our Editor-in-Chief herself. In this interview, Clarinda shares her views on the Editage Insights journey so far, on what lies ahead and much more!
Could you tell us more about how Editage Insights came to be? When and why was it launched?
Editage has always tried to support researchers beyond the scope of our language editing and publication support services. Through our interactions with authors in helping them get published over the years, we realized that researchers are eager to learn how to write better and improve their academic standing, and are always looking for resources and someone to guide them through the publication process. Experienced mentors are either hard to come by or are too busy to actively coach early-career researchers on how to navigate the publication process. More importantly, language often poses a barrier to non-native English-speaking researchers, who are looking to keep pace with the developments in English-speaking research hubs like the US and the UK.
A survey we conducted with authors and journal editors in 2012 revealed that authors were seeking (1) greater transparency from journals about their processes and selection criteria, (2) information in the authors’ native language about publication ethics, (3) guidelines for communicating with journal editors and peer reviewers, and (4) a real-time way to ask experts for advice as they navigated through the publication process. Journals in turn were seeking that authors be educated about (1) the need for their manuscript to match the journal scope, (2) how journals deal with research misconduct, (3) and how to frame cover letters and responses to reviewer comments.
Thus, it became clear that a global platform that could bridge the gap between authors and journals, reach out to researchers across career stages, and educate non-native English-speaking authors about hot trends within the industry—in their own language—was the need of the hour and could be of immense value to the publishing industry. This led us to launch Editage Insights in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
What was the vision of Insights when you started out? How has the vision evolved over the years and how has the platform been received?
The vision was and still is to be the largest and most trusted resource for researchers globally. This means making sure that we are reaching and helping authors all over the world, being available to answer any question a researcher anywhere might have, getting industry experts to participate and share their opinions, sharing new perspectives on trends and developments in the industry, staying on top of changing author needs, and doing whatever it takes to meet those needs. We’re thrilled about the progress we’ve made; the numbers speak for themselves—2500+ pieces of content, 200,000 readers per month from over 200 countries, hundreds of questions answered in the Q&A forum, etc.
But while numbers are a good indicator, we consider what our readers have to say to be the true measure of whether we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve been overwhelmed by some of the kind words of appreciation our readers have shared with us throughout our anniversary month. But we’re always thinking about what more we can do and how we can better meet their needs. For example, we realized that researchers might not have time to sift through tons of content and read long tutorials, so we started a Coffee-Time Course that offers five minutes of learning per day. Similarly, we learned that some researchers would like more guided, self-paced learning, so we launched interactive learning courses and comprehensive handbooks. Every email we receive from one of our readers delights us and sets into motion plans for the next new thing we can give them. So while the broad vision remains the same, the platform is ever evolving based on our readers’ needs.
Your Editage Insights profile mentions that you are “passionate about bridging the gap between authors and editors and helping editors understand the challenges authors face.” While it’s clear that a lot of the content on Editage Insights brings editor and industry expert perspectives to authors, how do you help editors and publishers understand authors better?
While the majority of our readers are authors, we also have many journal editors, publishers, and industry leaders among our user community. Our Q&A forum is a treasure trove for editors because by following the questions we receive from authors, they can get a very good sense of author pain points and complaints. We’ve also seen some journal editors commenting in the forum with their answers and opinions. However, we understand that this is a more passive channel of exposure that journal editors might not have time for. This is why we also undertake large-scale author surveys, like the one we are currently running, and publish the findings in relevant journals read by journal editors and publishers.
We make sure we attend every large academic conference globally where journal editors and publishers are present. We also participate in author-focused sessions and panel discussions where we share author perspectives and challenges they face. So essentially we champion the cause of authors at every chance we get. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind our readers to be sure to take our ongoing survey on author perspectives, if you haven’t already! It closes on December 20, 2017. Your responses will go a long way in making journal editors and publishers pay attention to author perspectives.
What are some of the unique challenges Editage Insights has faced? How did you overcome them?
When Editage Insights was launched in November 2013, we had big dreams, a small audience, minimal budgets, and a team of just three people! We had to prove to ourselves and to our bosses that Editage Insights was worth pumping funds into and that it had the potential to become all we envisaged it to be. It was the typical start-up environment—intense brainstorming meetings; every single new piece of content being discussed, edited, and reedited; every new reader comment being celebrated; every technical glitch being obsessed over. It took a lot of trial and error and burning the midnight oil. The one thing we did right though, and I’d like to think we still do, is listen to our readers. Since the Q&A forum was one of our earliest features, every new question we received gave us insights into challenges authors face, and that in turn fed our content strategy. We also started interviews with industry experts very early on. While it took a while to get as many interviews as we wanted, getting these experts on board in the early stages gave us invaluable insights and the confidence we needed to keep going.
So what’s next? Where do you see Editage Insights in the next couple of years? Anything you’d like to tell our readers?
I think we’re now past the stage where we’re doing all the talking (writing) and our readers are just absorbing it all. What we want more than anything is to see Editage Insights evolve into a vibrant, engaged, participative community. With 200,000 readers per month, we have all the expertise and experience we need covered! Now we just need to harness all that potential! So here’s my note to our readers:
We couldn’t have gotten this far without you, and we thank you! We now want you to contribute even more to Editage Insights and give back to us and the community. And there are plenty of ways you can do that! You can ask questions and answer questions for other community members in our Q&A forum. You can contribute to Editage Insights as a guest author; we have a section called Researcher Voice, where we can publish your experiences and stories for other researchers to learn from and feel encouraged by. You can recommend people you would like to see interviewed. You can share your comments on our articles and participate in our surveys, quizzes, polls, and puzzles. You can share our content through your social media channels and introduce us to other researchers. And of course, you can always write to us with your feedback to help us get better and better!
Looking forward to your continued support for another great year ahead!
With that, we come to the end of our interview. Thank you Clarinda for being so candid and sharing your views!