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Susan King named executive director of Press


When Susan King first began her career in scientific publishing, with a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Glasgow and after a three-year postdoc at St George’s Hospital Medical School (now St George’s, University of London), she wasn’t sure what to expect of life outside the lab. “But once I started, I found I loved immersing myself in research more generally,” she says. “I went from knowing a great deal about a very small field to knowing a little about a great many fields. I was awestruck by the scientific achievements and committed myself to supporting the advancement of research writ large.”

Susan King

Dr. King has put that devotion to a vast breadth of knowledge to good use over the course of a nearly three-decade career in scientific publishing that has taken her from London to New York to Washington, D.C., and back to Manhattan. In June, she joined The Rockefeller University Press as executive director, where she will oversee the editorial and business operations of its three biomedical journals: The Journal of Experimental Medicine, founded in 1896; The Journal of General Physiology, founded in 1918; and The Journal of Cell Biology, founded in 1955.

Dr. King joins Rockefeller from the American Chemical Society where she was senior vice president for the journals publishing group, which manages the scholarly publishing program of the world’s largest and most influential scientific society. During her tenure there, she oversaw the launch of over a dozen new journals and was responsible for a suite of 50 high-impact peer reviewed publications.

Prior to the American Chemical Society, she spent 15 years at John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in New York; she began as an editor and eventually became vice president of Wiley InterScience and STM Marketing, where she was responsible for the marketing of 100 science and technology journals, books, major reference works, and databases.

Dr. King has previously served on the executive council of the professional and scholarly publishing division of the Association of American Publishers, and she currently chairs the board of directors of CHORUS: Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States, a nonprofit membership organization which advances, monitors, and reports on public access to content reporting on government funded research.

“I believe research isn’t research until it’s published,” Dr. King says. “When I first started in publishing, print was the primary form of dissemination. Thankfully it’s a different world now, and it’s still changing, which is wonderful.

“At Rockefeller, we’re committed to harnessing cutting-edge technology to broaden the dissemination of the research that we publish,” Dr. King says. “We publish impactful research for the benefit of humanity—our journals provide free online access to many article types immediately, with complete archival content available online since each journal’s inception—so that the research we publish is accessible to everyone, worldwide. With a financially sustainable path firmly established, the Press’ journals will continue to improve and innovate to maintain and build upon their longstanding reputation for excellence.”

Dr. King says she welcomes the unique opportunity to have Rockefeller’s energetic, collaborative community help shape the press’s long-term goals, adding: “I’ve come back home—to the biomedical sciences and to New York City—to help make a difference to the communities that I’m so honored to be a part of.”

“I am delighted that Susan is bringing her extensive editorial, publishing, and management experience to the Press,” says Timothy O’Connor, vice president of university strategy and research operations. “Susan is highly regarded in academic publishing and has a strong record of achievement. There is no doubt that she will be able to successfully lead this vital unit of the university into its next chapter.”