Irene van Rossum - Faces of Brill

Irene van Rossum

Position: Sr. Acquisition Editor

Short job description:

Irene is the Acquisition Editor for the publishing area Language & Linguistics and she is mainly involved with developing the program.

One of my main focus points is building and maintaining networks of journal and series editors and authors,” Irene explains. “I also do a lot of financial reporting and budget planning, whereas the day-to-day work with book publications is managed by my assistant, who is in contact with the author.”

Irene is located in Ottawa, Canada. “I start early and handle business with the office in Leiden in the morning,” Irene says. “In the afternoon I shift the focus to work related to the development of new products.”


What is your favorite part of the job?

During a typical day I have contact with people from all over the world and of all kinds of different backgrounds,” Irene says. “I love working with people who are passionate about what they do. This includes established scholars, but we also publish books by scholars who are in the early stages of their career.


What is the most challenging part of your job?

Maintaining the balance between expectations and resources is the biggest challenge.  Expectations are always high, whereas time and money are limited. If we invested more we could do more, but that increases costs which would translate into higher prices,” Irene says. “You are always juggling, but that makes life interesting.”


What are you looking for in an editor?

We look for authorities in the field who are willing to work closely with us to develop a scholarly work. This involves making judgments on content and approach, and referring to the right experts for peer review. Above all, it is a partnership – we facilitate and support the process, and the editors play a key role in the development of their field of research,” Irene says. “If we do it right, everyone should benefit.”


How did you become involved with publishing?

I did my PhD in Medieval Studies, but I didn’t want to be an academic. I always wanted to work in publishing, and I find working with scholars interesting and rewarding. This way I am still involved with the scholarly world, but from a different perspective.”


Why did you choose to work with Brill?

Brill published in my field of study and I thought it would be a good fit for me. I sent in an open application and started as a production editor in 2001; I became an acquisitions editor in 2003.


What are you currently working on?

“There are a few projects,” Irene says, “for which I have high expectations, for example The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek. It is the English translation of Franco Montanari’s Vocabolario della Lingua Greca. It was a big project and I look very much forward to its publication in July 2015. The dictionary is a big contribution to the field,” Irene explains. “It is an invaluable resource for the study of Classics and Ancient Greek, for students at an early stage in their studies but definitely also for advanced scholars.

“We will also be publishing the first issues of a brand-new journal, Cognitive Semantics, in 2015.”


Do you have plans for 2015?

“We plan to publish the Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics  in November 2015. This is a major publication,” Irene says. “We will publish it in 5 volumes as well as a fully-fledged online product. It will be a major contribution to the study of Chinese languages.

“There will also be changes resulting from the acquisition of Rodopi. They bring a list of linguistics titles in addition to titles in literature and cultural studies -- largely a new area for Brill. I will be working with the editors who joined Brill in developing reference works and new journals for this area.”


List three keywords you would associate to:

Your current position: “Fun, challenging, creative.”

Scholarly publishing: “Constant flux, changes, and because of those, fascinating.”

Brill: “We are doing a great job. We face challenges head-on and adapt as necessary, for instance with our Open Access policies or technological developments.”