In this episode of SSP’s Early Career Development Podcast, hosts Meredith Adinolfi (Cell Press) and Sara Grimme (Digital Science) chat with Anne Flegel, the Head of Academic Book Operations at Oxford University Press, and Midori Baer, Senior Director of Publishing Operations at the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS), on the role of operations in scholarly publishing. What does this seemingly ‘catch-all’ term of operations mean, why is it important, and what do some of the professionals working in this space handle on a day-to-day basis?

Midori and Anne share their unanticipated journeys into operations starting out as Production Editors and learning the fundamental and versatile nature of the field along the way. They discuss the essential skills needed for operations roles, the never-ending number of stakeholders involved, and what an entry-level position might entail. Both drive home the point that operations is where all aspects of the publishing infrastructure come together. Despite being a more behind-the-scenes side of the industry, it could not be more critical for the publishing landscape as we view it today, as well as for the implementation of any new shifts on the horizon- from accessibility and equity to technology and transparency. Anne and Midori urge early career professionals to celebrate the diversity in their backgrounds and experiences, as these many teams and skills could likely come in handy in the operations world one day.

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Background on this podcast series

SSP’s Career Development Committee launched this podcast series in 2019 to offer advice and discussion on how early career publishing professionals can add to their skill sets, develop networks, and take advantage of new opportunities. The series presents interviews and insights from experienced professionals on how to navigate one’s career in a diverse and ever-changing landscape of scholarly communications. If you have any feedback for the hosts, creators, or for future episodes, please email