RELX Group Publisher, Physical Sciences in Oxford, United Kingdom

Publisher, Physical Sciences

Category: Editorial

Location: Oxford, South, United Kingdom

Additional Locations:

St Louis, Missouri, United States

Purpose of the job

  • To develop and implement a strategy for growth of the XXX program, with particular emphasis on e-content strategy and on identifying and driving business change.

  • To manage a team of acquisitions editors, each with individual portfolio strategies aligned to the larger program growth plan. To ensure that the program is managed for growth so that revision and adaptation opportunities are identified and optimized.

  • To build and maintain an in-depth understanding of the market.

  • To build a network of relevant contacts.

  • To understand the competition and relative strength of program against competition.

  • To pursue and manage publishing partnerships internally and externally.

  • To personally acquire, develop and publish commercially attractive new products, both print and electronic.

  • To work closely with marketing to ensure that publishing and marketing programmes are aligned and mutually supportive.

  • To participate in initiatives to improve the editorial process.

  • To meet or exceed group signing, revenue, cost and profitability goals each year.

  • To supervise, coach and develop team staff members.

Main activities and Responsibilities

Content and Signing Strategy

Content Strategy: For overall publication program, connect the XXX group to customers and to internal stakeholders; understand their needs; devise and implement 5-year content strategy that supports the overarching Editorial Team growth and business objective. Review and incorporate feedback from channel, product, marketing, and sales teams. Identify and ensure alignment with other Elsevier businesses; develop understanding across the business and advocate the list strategy for the Computing group.

Lead the planning and execution of strategic publication priorities through each Acquisitions Editor’s publishing portfolio.

Review publication strategy (and individual portfolio strategies) and implement change as needed.

Within agreed strategy, identify and propose list acquisition and partnership prospects.

Signing Hit List: On an annual basis, direct AEs in their creation of a hit list for project signings for the year, and maintain throughout the year. Hit list should flow from portfolio strategy plan/s and should reflect growth potential for each assigned list and for overall program.

Publication Pipeline: Each year (and at RF/budget), review publication pipeline to ensure adherence to strategy and program growth requirements, and adjust individual AE signing hit lists accordingly. Maintain an overview of the pipeline for both print and online for a running 3-5 year window.

Responsible for achievement of personal signings in area of data and data science.

Annual Signing/Revenue Goals

Meet or exceed annual group signing and growth goals for Editorial Program, ensuring measures are in place to compensate for individuals who fail to meet individual goals and replace gaps in the frontlist to meet or exceed expectations.

Staff Management/Training/Development

People Management. Supervise a team of staff member(s), potentially including (Senior) Acquisitions Editors, Associate Acquisitions Editors, (Senior) Developmental Editors, (Senior) Editorial Project Managers. Foster an environment in which they can succeed and achieve both their own and the businesses goals. Champion team needs. Provide ongoing training, coaching, and guidance and appropriate feedback on performance. Conduct interim and annual performance evaluation and development discussions. Guide staff with reporting responsibilities in their people management tasks.

New Hire Training. Provide one-on-one training to newly hired/promoted Associate Editors and Acquisitions Editors and ongoing coaching/mentoring. Track progress and any concerns about performance or areas that need special training attention. Participate in review of training best practices as appropriate.

Skills Enhancement Training. Design and deliver group or individual training to members of Editorial Team around new processes or procedures or to advance acquisitions-related skills and techniques. Create and share checklists or “best practices” documents. As requested, deliver training/presentations to larger Editorial audience (e.g., brownbags for all Editorial or presentation/training at Editorial Kick-Off meeting or to other groups within the S&T Books organization. Participate in initiatives and projects to improve the editorial workflow, representing Editorial Team in such initiatives.

Staff Development. Encourage staff who show promise in development of their skills. Identify and encourage exceptional performers, and appropriately address performance concerns.

Strategic Plan Guidance. Assist AEs in developing strategic plans for their lists, providing guidance on conducting research and how to draw appropriate conclusions, feedback on drafts, and leads/suggestions regarding areas of focus for growth.

Publishing Partnerships

Research, recommend and (if approved) pursue publishing partnership opportunities on behalf of Editorial Team (or S&T Books overall). Research partnership potential advantages/risks, propose terms for partnership to VP or Director of Publishing and Marketing or other stakeholders, and negotiate terms with potential partners. Monitor progress of partnership in its infancy, handing the relationship to the appropriate parties for long-term management when appropriate.

Individual new title signings, project delivery and revenue

Individually responsible for achieving new project acquisition and revision goals for own portfolio, aligned with hit list and publication strategy.

• Prepare complete proposal documents for individual projects as appropriate. Guide through appropriate review and internal approval process.

• Negotiate contracts with author and make appropriate changes to project plan from feedback obtained during external and internal review process. Once project is approved, get signed contract returned from author.

Responsible on-time publication of frontlist titles in individual portfolio and for revenue and gross margin performance of titles published according to budget/latest reforecast. Reponsible for managing slippage of titles, and for publishing agreed annual volume of frontlist titles for eBook and print, to agreed schedule.

Publishing Network

Build up a network of appropriate and high quality contacts in the relevant content areas (including within customer communities, academic communities, corporate communities) to drive development of publishing program. Track market developments, including funding trends, competitor activities, new growth areas, areas shrinking in importance. Attend conferences and arrange and attend external meetings as appropriate.

Using established network and research of area, continuously expand network of potential authors, advisors, reviewers and other business partners, and share contacts or product ideas with AEs where advantageous for their individual portfolios.

Network actively within the S&T Books and Journals business, and withing the wide Reed Elsevier business to identify and develop new opportunities, learn of new devlopments, and apply these to the Computing group.

Author Relationship Management

Maintain strong relationships with authors and editors, including calling meetings as needed and ensuring author queries and concerns are appropriately handled. Similarly, maintain strong collaborative relationship with outsourcers and other freelance suppliers.

Step in to address author relationship management problems when an AE needs additional support/intervention. Give guidance and feedback to AEs in ways to improve their author relationship management skills and strategize best means of managing difficult relationships and delivering difficult messages.

Adjust communication style and methods of interacting with authors as appropriate to ensure a positive outcome in terms of product quality, timeliness of publication, and revenue/profit potential. Model this skill for reporting AEs.

Remain fully informed of publishing developments within Elsevier (books, journals, etc.) and externally that would be of interest to authors, and actively communicate these initiatives as appropriate to become their expert publishing contact and an essential source of intelligence on “what’s happening in publishing.”

Team Collaboration

Editorial Team leader/member: Attend Proposal Review meetings and give relevant constructive feedback or advice (in advance and during meetings) regarding proposals from AEs; act as “gatekeeper” to allow only those proposals that are ready for approval to be presented to larger approval venues. Pass along relevant author/advisor contacts to colleagues in appropriate areas as warranted. Pass along project ideas or proposals to AEs as audience/subject area indicates; where collaboration with another AE or Publisher would significantly benefit a project’s market potential, ensure owning AE consults other AEs for advice or shared acquisitions credit as appropriate. Develop an understanding of the wider editorial and strategic goals of the S&T Books and Journals group, and align the Computing group to achieve best possible results and opportunities through alignment and collaboration.

Sales and Marketing Interaction: Work with Marketing and Sales to promote products and in the development of marketing strategy, marketing plans and the initial drafting of promotional messages (including participation at conferences, trade shows and sales meetings as appropriate).

Production: Partner with Production management and staff with an eye to positive outcome for final book products, in terms of quality/timeliness/cost control of product and satisfactory publishing experience for contributors. Act as voice of the Editorial Team in communicating around issues/concerns with any Production activity, advocating for needs of Team in balance with full grasp of Production’s viewpoint.


  • Systems and Processes: Ensure that all data in books tracking systems and databases are accurate and up-to-date and that all processes underlying the editorial and publication process are adhered to.

Functional and Technical Competencies

  • Excellent self-motivation, multitasking, prioritization, written/verbal communication, negotiation and people management skills

  • Proven training interest and coaching and/or mentoring skills

  • Attention to detail, knowledge of in-house IT systems (ability to pick up bespoke IT systems quickly), other MS Office and related software tools, highly adaptable and amenable to process and system changes

Education and knowledge

  • College degree or higher, 5-10 years of relevant or applicable publishing experience (may be in books, journals, or other content organizations)

  • Specific market knowledge in the relevant disciplines will be a strong advantage. Demonstrable experience of any of the following are of interest but are not essential: of leading print to digital migration; of developing new publishing or content models; of working across separate business units within an organization or between separate organizations.