Describe your role
My job involves handling journal permissions requests and with over 300 journal titles published by OUP the volume is high. Daily, I review and process email and online requests, quote for re-use, send out invoices, and liaise with journal production editors and publishers. I also monitor weekly response times and manual income. The content requested varies, from figure re-use in presentations, to screening article abstracts in TV shows, and text extracts in new book titles.
What do you like best about your role?
I love that every new request enables me to discover a new area of academia—I get to learn while I process. By the same token the variety of material requested puts me into contact with customers from around the world. Just the other day I was speaking to a gentleman in Australia and a kookaburra was noisily singing away in the background.
Which new titles are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am in the early stages of learning about book permissions, a similar and completely dissimilar beast all at the same time. The processes have natural crossovers but there are different copyright and licensing rules to consider for books.
What skills do you need to work in rights?
Time and workload management is very important in rights as everything that we’re processing is reactive selling. Being able to clearly communicate and negotiate, and not being afraid to hold your ground when quoting is helpful and that’s where soft skills come in handy. Also soaking up copyright and licence rules like a sponge is a must.
What advice would you give to those looking to work in the industry?
An important thing to note is that publishing doesn’t just mean editorial or production. Permissions, for instance, gives you a groundwork of knowledge and skills that can be transferred to any area of publishing. The hardest part is to get that first position or introduction but don’t lose heart if you don’t get the first few jobs that you apply for. If you’re passionate, persevere.