Delivering on a Commitment: The NIH Manuscript Submission Team

Read other profiles: Eyitope Akinpelumi | Graham Andrews | Devon Bourexis | Lisandro Gonzalez | Lisa Hisel | Rebecca Kelly | Pierce Smith | Miliana Solomon | Rosa Warren

Quick Q&A with Michael Taylor, Chris Hrobak, and Jennifer Richardson
Question Michael Taylor, Lead Journals Specialist Chris Hrobak, Production Editor Jennifer Richardson, Production Editor
  casual headshot of Michael Taylor casual headshot of Chris Hrobak  
What was your path to NLM? I was hired at the Learning Resource Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in March 1999. I enjoyed working in the cataloging and processing departments for seven years, and I was in charge of patron registration and management for a few years afterward. I then took a customer service position in the private sector for two years, but I missed working in libraries, with cataloging specifically. I found my current position here at NCBI as a way to get back to doing what I really enjoyed. I previously worked for an academic publishing company based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My experience working with XML and research manuscripts in an academic publishing setting was quite transferable and led to my addition to the NIHMS team. Just prior to NLM, I worked for the production department of the weekly hematology journal Blood. I posted content for Blood’s mini web focus, which involved a combo of HTML skill and author management. Interestingly, another one of my responsibilities was to research if a Wellcome Trust- or HHMI [Howard Hughes Medical Institute]-funded manuscript had been sent to NIH and if it had received a PubMed Central ID.
What excites you the most about processing manuscripts for public access? The work that I do for citation accuracy is important for retrievability; what’s exciting for me is knowing that anyone in the world can find what they’re looking for and it’s freely available because of the work we do. Facilitating the archiving of manuscripts to an archive that is used every day in important research is exciting. I like that the work we do really does help the public gain access to sound and trustworthy data about health breakthroughs that matter to them. When I worked for the journal, occasionally we’d receive emails from patients or relatives of patients with cancer or severe diseases. They’d ask for details about their illness or guidance on where to go to find information. I wonder if they sent those emails to us because there was no way for them to gain access to the manuscripts, studies, or commentaries we published. It’s not difficult to find an email address. But quality information can be surrounded by a velvet rope. Processing manuscripts helps remove the velvet rope.
What do you like best about working on the NIHMS team? The best part of working on the NIHMS team is the people! We all help each other out and enjoy working together to solve any problems that come our way. I enjoy the collaborative nature of NIHMS. Our team works well together and is adaptive to ever-changing challenges. Our leads seek and value our opinions on matters. I enjoy the rapport that we have with each other. We do meaningful work, but doing it with capable and caring people makes it that much more pleasant.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since joining the NCBI? No one can do it all; everyone here cares deeply about their work, but it takes teamwork to go to a higher level. Adaptability is a must. Despite working on different teams on separate projects with various focuses, we are all striving towards the same purpose.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what else might you be doing? I used to think I might want to be in the Peace Corps. I would likely be working in some facet of publishing or print media. I’d probably be working elsewhere in scientific publishing. That or (if I had copious free time and money) writing a novel.
Tell us something surprising about yourself. I know the final score of every Super Bowl ever played. I don’t know why, but I do. I am an avid practitioner of jujitsu.

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