2018 Scholarly Publishing Symposium

The latest addition to the Libraries’ Digital Collections page is the 2018 RBHS Scholarly Publishing Symposium. Here, Ela Sosnowska describes the event and reflects on lessons learned.

George Woodward presents at the Scholarly Publishing Symposium.

About the 2018 Scholarly Publishing Symposium 

The symposium, held on March 14, 2018 in Newark and March 15, 2018 in New Brunswick was organized by the RBHS Provosts Office and Rutgers Libraries as a part of the RBHS Provosts Faculty Development Series. 

The main goal of this event was to inform and educate RBHS faculty and graduate students about the complexities of the publishing process and to introduce them to the resources and services supporting scholarly publishing provided by Rutgers’ libraries. Topics covered included advice on preparing and submitting manuscripts, navigating the peer-review process, finding the right scholarly journals and publishers, and avoiding predatory publishers.

The symposium featured three lectures (I-III) and a panel discussion (IV):

  1. An overview of the scholarly publishing process was delivered by George Woodward, the symposium’s keynote speaker and a professional editor at Elsevier. It included details of the peer-review process, an outline of the most common mistakes authors make that impact the success or failure of their manuscript submissions and practical advice on steps needed for a successful submission of manuscripts.
  2. A view from a faculty editor delivered by the RBHS chancellor Brian Strom presented a view on the editor’s role in the journal editorial process. The presenter provided recommendations to authors on adhering to the submission criteria set by the journal and emphasized importance of recognizing the established policies on conflicts of interest by all involved in the publication process.
  3. Librarians’ perspective on scholarly publishing presented by Yingting Zhang, research services librarian, began with an overview of the publishing market, including pros and cons of open access journals. It provided instructions on how to assess journal value and how to recognize journals that may be questionable or predatory. It also introduced tools and resources used for the proper selection of journals and available at Rutgers’ libraries.
  4. A panel discussion focused on three faculty editors’ experiences with the editorial process and resulted in practical advice to early career authors. It envolved into a question and answer format and resulted in a spirited and informative discussion on topics of greatest concern to the attendees.

Statistical highlights:

The overall evaluation of the symposium was very positive, with 95% of Newark and 96.3% of New Brunswick participants agreeing that the symposium was satisfactory or very satisfactory in providing value to their work.

The strength of both sessions was demonstrated further by very high marks given to all three presenters, where 92-97% for responders rated their presentations satisfactory or very satisfactory.

97.5% of attendees in Newark and 92.6% of participants in New Brunswick declared interest in attending future workshops/symposia on other scholarly topics.

The most popular topics identified for future sessions were:

  1. Instruction on using citation management tools
  2. Ways of identifying quality journals suitable for publishing
  3. Tools for measuring faculty research/publishing impact


A total of 61 people attended the Newark session on March 14. Fifty-one of them were faculty representing the following RBHS schools: NJMS, RSDM, SHP, SON and RWJMS. Two NJMS and one GSBS students and 7 representatives from the Health Sciences Libraries and Elsevier also attended.

The New Brunswick session on March 15 attracted 50 attendees, 40 of whom were faculty members and two of whom were students from the following RBHS schools and centers: RWJMS, SPH, SHP, NJMS, Pharmacy, SON and EOSHI. Eight health sciences librarians and Elsevier representatives also participated.

Elizabeth Sosnowska