Production Specialist - Journals Division

As a production specialist in the Journals Division, you will oversee the day-to-day workflow necessary to publish approximately 40-55 journal issues a year. You will manage all stages of production from typesetting to mailing, producing final files suitable for print, online, and reprint publication. This position directly impacts the profitability of the Press and plays a key role in keeping or acquiring new journal titles as the primary contact for his or her editorial teams.

NOTE: The Production Specialist position is based out of the Homewood campus located in Baltimore, Maryland; currently all staff are working virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is a telework opportunity during COVID-19.

Primary duties and responsibilities: 
  • Manage all production and distribution logistics for approximately 40-55 journal issues annually in collaboration with 8-12 editorial offices (mostly outside the Hopkins community) and 4-8 different vendors. Oversee typesetting, printing, and mailing for both print and online publication.
  • Establish good relationships with assigned publishing partners and vendors and communicate with them frequently. Answer most common questions or direct to the proper department. Inform editorial teams of any changes or updates to departmental policy.
  • Develop, track, and troubleshoot production schedules for your journal group and ensure adherence to the schedule by editors and vendors throughout. Track all stages of production and post-issue processing, proactively recommending ways to meet schedule to editorial offices. Learn to forecast print dates accurately.
  • Review and approve all stages of pre-press or proofs before publication and set print runs, consulting manager as needed. Review art files for quality. Order mail labels and upload final files for online publication. Increasing your knowledge about these processes  is expected.  
  • Identify rights & permissions problems in issues and assist in solving them. Use various existing publishing agreements appropriately. Understand author reprint policy and inform author or direct requests to Rights & Permissions as appropriate.
  • Enforce page budgets, bill for memberships and extra production charges, approve and code production invoices correctly. Assist manager in closing by providing information and accurately invoicing excess costs. Learn to recognize cost drivers.
  • Back up colleagues as needed and document processes for your journal titles. Actively collaborate in departmental initiatives and participate in meetings. Assist in documenting departmental processes. Help train new staff members.
  • Collaborate with coworkers on projects such as proofreading marketing pieces, compiling statistics for annual postage statements, and so on. Occasionally oversee changes in cover design, working with in-house layout staff and the editorial team. Recommend changes and offer creative ideas; obtain editorial input and approval with some managerial guidance. 
  • Oversees 40-55 journal issues annually in collaboration with 8-12 editorial offices (mostly outside the Hopkins community), 4-8 different outside vendors, and in-house layout team. Directly communicates with assigned editors and outside vendors to meet publishing goals. Has a direct impact on income for the Press as we earn income with each issue published. Plays a key role in retaining journal titles as specialist has daily interaction with his or her editorial teams.
  • High School Diploma/GED required; some college or BA/BS in liberal or graphic arts preferred.
  • Three years related experience required.
  • Experience in journal or book publishing production or a related area strongly preferred.
  • A demonstrated interest in the English language, graphic arts or a related area is essential.
  • Additional education may substitute for required experience, to the extent permitted by the JHU equivalency formula.
JHU Equivalency Formula:  30 undergraduate degree credits (semester hours) or 18 graduate degree credits may substitute for one year of experience.  Additional related experience may substitute for required education on the same basis.  For jobs where equivalency is permitted, up to two years of non-related college course work may be applied towards the total minimum education/experience required for the respective job.        

Preferred Qualifications

  • Basic competency with word processing, email, Internet.
  • Familiarity with spreadsheets (Excel), databases (Filemaker), graphic design software (InDesign, Photoshop) helpful.
  • Foreign language skills helpful.
  • HTML or XML knowledge a plus.

Special Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • An ability to proofread on a professional level is essential. Excellent written and oral communication skills are required to collaborate with professional scholars. Incumbent must have the ability to learn quickly. 
  • Problem Solving--The specialist is largely responsible for quality control and decision-making for day-to-day activities for their titles, with limited consultation and advice. Setting priorities among titles to ensure he or she meets production deadlines is essential. A willingness to collaborate with editors, vendors, and in-house personnel to meet goals is essential. Good judgment in when to refer questions to management is expected.
  • Interpersonal Skills--The job needs tact in demanding quality and persuasion in making changes, accelerating schedules to meet deadlines, or explaining why we can't make changes. Manage relationships with editorial teams (your customers) and vendors providing services to produce on-budget, on-time issues of high quality.
  • Mission/Service Orientation--Directly supports the mission of Johns Hopkins University Press to disseminate scholarly knowledge.
  • Teaming Skills--Incumbent must work very closely with editorial teams and production colleagues to meet the Press's publishing goals and budget. An ability to work independently is important but the specialist is also expected to back up colleagues and work cooperatively with journals coworkers on departmental or divisional projects.
  • Innovation--Creativity and innovation are encouraged in developing workflow and streamlining processes. Creativity in generating ideas about design updates.
  • Managing Change--Production is undergoing constant change due to technology and the migration of print to digital forms of media. An ability to adapt to new processes and vendors is essential.

External Contacts

Works with 8-12 editorial teams (most editors are professors) and 4-5 vendors (printers, typesetters) to produce journal issues.


Internal Contacts

Daily interaction with production team, marketing group, and circulation group in Journals. Also Journals Publisher on occasion, other managers on occasion. Frequent contacts with Muse production team, accounting staff, and rights & permissions staff.