Share this article:
Get to Know a Materials Science Acquisitions Editor: Gwen Jones
Senior Acquisitions Editor in Materials Science
Signing Area: Composites and Construction Materials
Do you have prior publishing experience?
My first encounter with publishing was in September 2000 when I accepted the role of Commissioning Assistant at Woodhead Publishing. After a year I was promoted to Commissioning Editor working on their materials program. In August 2004 I moved to Thomas Telford Publishing, where I was responsible for the acquisition of society journals, books and other major reference works, in civil engineering. In December 2007 I joined the Royal Society of Chemistry, working on the launch and development of several new book series on energy, toxicology, analytical and medicinal chemistry.
What’s your history with Elsevier?
In October 2012, I made the decision to go back to Woodhead Publishing taking on the role of Senior Commissioning Editor. At that time, the company was committed to developing a brand new series of books on composite materials. I was instructed to conduct a huge exercise in market research to determine market trends and identify priority fields. Based on the findings of that research I quickly established a high-profile editorial board and then went on to commission an entire new series of books on key developments. Naturally these were all in keeping with market needs. Then with the acquisition of Woodhead Publishing in August 2013, I became an employee of Elsevier S&T Books working on their materials science portfolio.
What do you enjoy about signing in this area?
We are now in a period of tremendous global change that creates major societal challenges for energy, food and the environment. Innovations in materials science are crucial for energy efficiency, food, and infrastructure, environmental and human health. For example, breakthroughs in new materials can create and secure a more sustainable energy supply, be used in diagnostics to improve human health, or applied in the creative industries to develop more sustainable electronic products. Advances in materials science are also being used in the conversion of natural resources for the design of new recycled materials and for the sustainable management of water and air. Publishing books in materials science is critical in order to advance fundamental knowledge and encourage the breakthroughs needed to address these societal challenges. This requires an interdisciplinary approach involving all sub-disciplines of sciences and engineering.
Why should this person sign a book with you?
In terms of S&T publishing the biggest change that I have encountered is the multi-disciplinary nature of research. Now when you commission a new title in materials science, the content and scope crosses over into a broad range of different subject areas. You gain a working understanding of physics, chemistry, materials science, environmental, civil and biomedical engineering all at the same time. This makes the very concept of publishing far more exciting and much wider reaching than it’s ever been before. I personally see books as adding real value, if you get the timing right. They provide fundamental knowledge and encourage learning and critical evaluation for those that are new to the subject and when applied will support further breakthroughs in innovative new research. Books can also provide a comprehensive review of key subjects, located in one place, for those, who find themselves working in an area outside their usual field of expertise.
Why do you love publishing?
Having worked in book publishing for over seventeen years I have experienced so many changes within the industry, but the introduction of electronic media has by far had the greatest impact. You only have to look at the number of people using laptops, tablets and phones on public transport. There is also the advent of interactive multimedia features too. Gaining access to content is now a completely different user experience. In my current role I like conducting market research, identifying priority fields, commissioning new titles that are timely, developing quality products, sharing that knowledge with the wider research community and then seeing that knowledge applied to make a real difference that will have an impact on addressing societal challenges.
Tell something personal about yourself
For many years before going into publishing as a mature student I worked mainly in retail management. At the very heart of that role was the concept of ‘customer service’. There is one statement that vividly sticks in my mind: Does the product fit the purpose that it was intended for!
A book or ‘Content’, is also a product that should be of satisfactory quality, and also be designed to fit the purpose it was intended for- to provide fundamental knowledge, encourage learning and critical evaluation, support further breakthroughs in new research that will make a real impact. Naturally quality is paramount!
The highly interdisciplinary field of materials science examines elements of applied physics and chemistry, as well as chemical, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering. Nanoscience and nanotechnology in particular have yielded major innovations in this area, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. Elsevier’s authoritative content in this area ranges from undergraduate textbooks to multi-volume reference works investigating the relationships between the structure of materials and their properties. Our journals (including Materials Today), books, and eBooks help researchers stay abreast of developments in this swiftly advancing field, coving major sub-disciplines like energy and power; metals and alloys; ceramics; composite materials; polymer science and biomaterials; interdisciplinary materials science; and structural materials.