Dr. Sarika Garg is the Managing Editor & Founder of Canadian Journal of Biotechnology (CJB). CJB is the first Biotechnology open access, peer-reviewed journal in Canada which is published by a not-for-profit organization ‘Science Planet Inc’. CJB intends to promote the open access research and to reinstate the original purpose of scholarly publishing which is to disseminate knowledge widely. CJB’s mission is to ensure publishing only the quality research monitored via a stringent peer-review process while making sure to keep the access free to all science lovers.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I obtained my Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Structural and Molecular Biology, Germany. Thereafter, I worked as a Postdoctoral scientist at the University of Saskatchewan and CRCHUM (University of Montreal) for 1 and 2 years, respectively. During my time in the labs, I realized that there are times when students and researchers have to restrict their reading only to the journals their institute/university have the subscription to. Moreover, there could be former students, researchers, academicians, scientists, etc. who might have switched their paths but still have a keen interest in reading, sharing, and writing scientific articles. However, the restriction in terms of the subscription fee just to have access to read a full article limits them in learning and keeping themselves abreast with the latest developments in science. These are the primary reasons why I planned to work towards the promotion of the open access research and towards my ambition to contribute to the welfare of the society.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Many people have this perception that if you have a startup and are working from home, then you might not have to devote long hours, similar to employed people, at your work. I am a living example to contravene that kind of perception. My husband always tells me, “You had a much better self-life when you were working as an employee”. My day looks something like this – it commences at 6.30 AM and dissolves at 10.00 PM. I start checking my emails right after I stop my alarm, thanks to the modern technology. I myself manage all the social media accounts for the company on a daily basis. The tasks include creating posts, publishing, and replying to the messages. After I am done with responding to the emails and messages, I kick start my creative thinking process. I try to come up with the novel ideas and projects to expand the company, in the line of which I contact enthusiastic people in the field and scope potential collaboration. If I have a new submission, I undergo the complete editorial process which includes preliminary screening, shortlisting reviewers, coordinating with the Editor-in-chief and sending out the manuscript for reviewing, dealing with the authors, editing, proofreading, and formatting of the manuscript.
Canadian Journal of Biotechnology has an editorial team of 37 members spanning worldwide and I make sure to update them with every development taking place in the journal on a regular basis. Besides the journal work, I am also the CEO and Founder of HS Counseling and utilize the rest of the days’ time in working on its projects. Additionally, I am also a Freelancer and work on several editing, writing, and management projects on a regular basis. All these commitments keep me entirely engaged till 6.00-6.30 PM and thereafter, I keep on hopping between the living room and my office till 10.00 PM.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
Apart from my professional and social work side, very few people know that I have a creative side too. I have a quite modern home office setup at my place. The entire interior of the office has been done by me. I am very particular about the color combinations, the décor, concealed cables, etc. In order to keep myself physically active despite spending almost the entire day at my desk, I have organized a treadmill and a mini exercise bike in my office area. In fact, the latter is kept right under my desk and I utilize it several times a day. I believe that even small tweaks to the office setup can make a big difference in your productivity and well-being.
In terms of the productivity tools and apps; Google Drive, Google Analytics, PlagScan, Skype, TeamViewer, AnyDesk, WhatsApp, FileZilla Client, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Professional are some of the apps that are an integral part of my work setup.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
I just open up my heart to my husband and my parents. My Dad is a Professor and Chair of School of Biotechnology. I have never ever seen as hard working an individual as him in my entire life. I really mean it. I was 6 years old when he founded the Biotechnology department at his University. I have seen him working day and night. I remember my mother, sister and I cracking jokes on him, “We will send the bed too in your office, stay there, don’t bother to come home this late”. That was the daughter side but as a professional, I have always looked upon him and aspired to achieve that kind of a passion he has. He believes in accomplishing the tasks right away and never procrastinates. My mother too is a great person and has always inspired me to work selflessly for the society. My husband is a gem of a person and has been an inspirational entity in my life. He always lends an alternate perspective to everything. He inspires me to look beyond what meets the eye. There are times when I feel that the company is not progressing the way it should, and I sense gloomy, a discussion with him serves as a motivational force that gets me moving. To conclude, I have these inspirational people in my life and I bat around the ideas with them on a regular basis.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
“Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do.”- Brian Tracy
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
Nothing innovative, in particular, I would say. But I always get inspired looking at the big publishers in the field. I always think that they must have also started from where I am today and if they have reached this level, then I certainly too can make it big one day.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATELY TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
The immense obstacle I am confronting at the moment is acquiring the sufficient number of quality submissions for publication. In the academic publishing domain, the prime criterion to select a journal for your esteemed work is on the basis of the impact factor of the journal. The higher the factor is, the better the journal is. The issue is that to obtain an impact factor in the first place, the journal should have a good number of quality publications. So, you see, this is a typical case of a chicken and an egg. This is the foremost reason that many new publishers fail to make it in this domain.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
Forbearance, diligence, persistence, and probity are the four pillars of success. Digital publishing is an exciting domain but it takes time for an individual to flourish in the same. Belief in yourself and a positive attitude are indispensable to bloom. There is nothing wrong in looking upon at the biggies in the field but only to an extent that they inspire you. Sometimes, there is a thin line between getting inspired and getting depressed. One has to learn to keep herself/himself motivated and follow the path towards success. My best wishes to all the new professionals. Have faith in yourself and nothing will be impossible!