Staff Events

Behind the scenes of scientific publishing: its present state and future challenges

Dr Katherine Brown
Executive Editor, Development


What do you need to think about when preparing a paper for submission to a journal? And what then happens to your paper after submission? In the first part of this talk, I will give a brief overview to the submission, peer review and publishing process, from the perspective of a not-for-profit publisher with journals run by academic editors. I will also discuss some of the ethical issues involved in scientific publishing – with a particular focus on data presentation and image manipulation. In the second part of the talk, I will give some insights into where scientific publishing might be going in the next decade or so. We are in a time of flux in the publishing world, with the rise of open access, the increasing use of preprint servers, and the opportunities for better online dissemination of research results – as well as the challenges involved. How do these innovations affect you and the way you do your work, and how different might the publishing environment look in the future?


Katherine Brown is the Executive Editor of the journal Development, published by the not-for-profit publisher The Company of Biologists. She started her research career at the MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, where her PhD research with Matthew Freeman focussed on signalling pathways in and morphogenesis of the Drosophila eye. She then moved for a postdoc to EMBL Heidelberg to work with Jochen Wittbrodt – also focussing on retinal morphogenesis, but in medaka and zebrafish. In 2008, Katherine decided to leave active research, and took up a position as Scientific Editor at The EMBO Journal. In late 2011, she moved back to Cambridge to take up her current position as Executive Editor of Development, where she is involved in all aspects of running the journal – from working with the academic editors and in-house team on current content to strategic planning on how we can improve the journal and better serve our community.