A Report to Remember
By Mika Ono
What weighs two and three-quarters pounds, takes eight months to put together, and runs almost 400 pages? The Scripps Research Institute's (TSRI) Scientific Report.
The institute's most comprehensive statement of its scientific activities, the annual publication is centered on submissions from the institute's 285 principal investigators. In addition, the report includes overviews from the department chairs, a list of recent scientific awards and honors bestowed on TSRI faculty, and updates on the entities within TSRI, such as the Kellogg School of Science and Technology.
"The Scientific Report is especially useful for recruiting students and postdocs because it describes the research taking place in each lab," notes the editor, Barbara Halliburton, who completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Scripps in the 1970s and has been editing the Scientific Report on a freelance basis for 14 years. One of the institute's longest-standing publications, the Scientific Report dates back until 1963, not long after pioneering immunologist Frank Dixon and his team arrived in La Jolla.
While Halliburton edits the report, Jann Coury of TSRI's Office of Communications is responsible for its project management. She notes that this year's deadline for submissions from principal investigators is Friday, May 2.
"We have a very strict deadline," explains Coury. "Given the volume of material and the amount of work involved in the project, we just can't take submissions piecemeal."
For the first time this year, submissions are being accepted via e-mail (send a file to firstname.lastname@example.org and a hard copy to the department administrator). To Coury's delight, this has resulted in more early submissions than ever before.
Coury notes that the administrative managers and administrative assistants on campus are key to this step in the process. "I couldn't collect the reports without them," she says. "They are very conscientious and helpful. And I appreciate that they call me with any questions."
Once the deadline has passed and the submissions are in, Coury shepherds the reports through a lengthy process in which each is checked, cataloged, edited, put into a page proof, returned to the scientists for approval, edited again, sent out for additional copy editing, and formatted in a desktop publishing program.
"The hardest part is keeping track of all of the material," notes Coury. "There are a lot of little pieces that make up the whole, and we want to make sure they are all correct."
In addition, the other parts of the bookthe cover art, the section dividers, the photographs, the captions, and other textneed to be pulled together. Before the issue is sent to the printer in early December, Halliburton and Coury meet onsite for a final, four-day editing session.
Sixty-five hundred copies of the publication are delivered in January, and the publication is later posted on the TSRI web site.
"It's quite a project," notes Coury. "For me, personally, the best part about it has been that it has introduced me to a lot of really terrific people all across campus."