Interrogating a Job Post: Scholarly Publishing Specialist

This is a post in a series for linguists about how to read library-related job postings. I link to a job posting, copy the text, and annotate my comments in [brackets with text in italics].  Please note that I am not a representative of this employer and that my analysis of their job posting may not reflect the employer’s precise thoughts on the job. This is for illustration only to show how I, as a potential job seeker, would view a posting like this and apply my knowledge and experience to the description and requirements. 

Scholarly Publishing Specialist – Purdue University


 Contributes to the innovative and collaborative environment of the Purdue University Libraries (2015 ACRL Excellence in University Libraries Award Winner). Has a passion for Scholarly Communications [that is, disseminating and sharing the products of scholarly research] and keeps abreast of the latest trends and best practices, especially in Open Access [making scholarship free to read and use, usually against the wishes of major publishers]. Contributes significantly to the success of colleagues and projects in Scholarly Publishing and Purdue University Press. Advocates for Open Access and Open Publishing at Purdue [spreads the word about the programs and shows how the program benefits various stakeholders at the university]. Engages with faculty to explore best solutions for digital publication and preservation of all their work [helps faculty organize and save their stuff], leveraging evolving technologies for increasing global access to and discovery of Purdue research and scholarship [nerds out about new technologies and resources for sharing scholarship in lots of different outlets]. Imagines new opportunities for digital humanities, altmetrics [‘alternative metrics’ which show a work’s impact beyond the traditional measures of citation counts], and digital publishing to increase the impact of scholarship. Promotes a comprehensive view of the Libraries’ scholarly communications and publishing resources, for researchers on campus [tells people about all of the opportunities available to them through the library]. Collaborates with other areas of excellence in the Libraries (e.g., data management, digital humanities, and disciplinary liaisons) [you will bring your knowledge and expertise in academic publishing to different kinds of librarians who do different kinds of work]. Serves as a primary contact [person who can translate library services to academic needs] within Scholarly Publishing Services, for faculty, users, disciplinary liaisons, and technology partners (i.e., vendors) [you’ll be trying to figure out how academics can make use of new software tools that the library wants to get for them]. Coordinates and monitors the development and use of Purdue e-Pubs, Purdue’s institutional text repository [this is an institutional archive, or repository, where the research products of Purdue scholars are stored and shared; sometimes these are opt-in and sometimes they are automatic. this is something to ask more about]. Advances the understanding of, access to, and synergies with data and archival repositories [you’ll need to know where scholars can put their data and store their papers, and understand the mistakes they make when doing this] as well as all Scholarly Publishing Services, Purdue University Press, University Copyright Office and other units in the Purdue Libraries [you’ll get to talk to other librarians and units across the campus, get to know what they do, and involve them when appropriate].



  • Master’s degree. [in anything, it seems]
  • One year of communications, library, or related experience (e.g., publishing, media, marketing, scholarship etc.). [if you’ve written a scholarly paper and submitted it for publication, reviewed for a journal, helped edit a journal, even wrote a book review, this is relevant experience!]
  • Demonstrated, advanced written and verbal communication skills. [as a graduate student or a faculty member, you have a ton of experience here]
  • Excellent prioritization and project management skills. [if you can coordinate being on committees, writing your dissertation, and teaching a class, you have developed these skills]
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively, in a fast-paced environment [basically, grad school]. Strong analytical and decision making skills. [demonstrate that you can evaluate different things and decide between them. this can be anything from theories to statistical methods to field sites]
  • Ability to lift and carry 10-25 pounds frequently and 40 pounds occasionally. [to be honest, this probably won’t actually come up, this is usually a field that they are required to put in by the HR department]


  • Master’s degree in Library and/or Information Science or in a related field (i.e., communication, marketing, English). [Linguistics is definitely a related field]
  • Three to five years of professional experience. [How long have you been in graduate school or a faculty position?]
  • Experience with or knowledge of institutional repositories and/or digital publishing platforms. [You read journals, certainly. You search for them in databases. You probably have published in a journal or proceedings. A few minutes of research about your own institution will tell you if they have an institutional repository or not. If you had to create an ETD (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation), it probably went in a repository.]
  • Knowledge of issues related to intellectual property, Open Access, and copyright. [Did you have to get permissions to use figures? Have you ever run into a paywall? Do you know what a Creative Commons license is?]
  • Ability to create and deliver effective presentations for outreach and training. [If you have ever taught a class or delivered a lecture, you have experience here. ]
  • Ability to interact with faculty, staff and students across the disciplines and of diverse backgrounds. [Skills gained in committees, student groups, or teaching contexts can be relevant here.]
  • Ability to plan, execute, and, document effective practices, projects, services, and policies related to institutional repository and digital platform management. [If you have executed a research study and gone through the IRB, you have the skills that can apply here.]
  • Deep understanding of strategic communication and advanced interpersonal skills. [Linguists know ALL about strategic communication and interpersonal skills. Gricean Maxims anyone?]
  • Understanding of the core principles persuasive writing, marketing, advocacy and outreach. [This is the time to showcase your advocacy for linguistics or your particular subfield. ]

Additional Information: [Much of this will be explained to you if offered the job.]

  • A background check will be required for employment in this position.
  • FLSA: Exempt (Not Eligible For Overtime) [This means you should get a regular schedule with defined working hours.]
  • Retirement Eligibility: Defined Contribution Waiting Period. [You will have a 401k or equivalent and the University will chip in after a set amount of time that you work for them.]
  • Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. [Be ready to demonstrate how you bring diversity to the workplace.]