At the beginning of the internship I shadowed one of the editors, attended meetings and spoke with the other editors. This enabled me to build up a picture of the company and to learn about the publishing process from their perspective. Initially I was tasked with completing some citation analysis and I was asked to comment on some of the papers that had been submitted. Both of these activities enhanced my understanding of what makes a good story in science and helped me to put into perspective the questions I should be asking within my own research. As the internship progressed, I started to take on new responsibilities. One of these included updating the Science in the Classroom (SitC) website. By providing, annotating and explaining the science contained in Science papers, SitC is a website that aims to make science more accessible to high school and undergraduate students. I therefore gained some experience in how to communicate science to the public, which helped me to think about how to present my own research in a way that is more comprehensible to non-scientists and those outside of my field of research. In addition, I was also given the opportunity to write some short articles for the magazine, which summarised research published in other journals. Trying to summarise a complex paper in around 100 words initially proved a tough task. However, over time, I improved my ability to write concise and accurate summaries of interesting papers, which I hope will aid in my ability to write abstracts and summaries of my own research.
Half way through the internship I visited the head office in Washington D.C. Through talking to a variety of people within the company, I gained a broader appreciation of the aims of AAAS, and the role of Science magazine in achieving those objectives. I was also able to take on further roles after meeting with some of the Washington based editors. For example, after talking to the book review editor I was offered the opportunity to write some book reviews for Science, which have now been published. Additionally, I took on the task of transferring manuscripts from Science to the new sister journal, Science Advances. Many of the processes involved in producing the magazine are solely based in Washington. Through attending meetings, I learnt more about these aspects of publication. For example, attending the art meetings gave me an insight into what makes a clear and descriptive figure; information that I hope to utilise when presenting my own research.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the internship. I feel that I gained a thorough understanding of the publishing process and what is required to produce a good research paper. I hope that the knowledge that I have gained will help me within my science career, but I also now have some experience of other enjoyable careers that are available outside of academic science.