More about us

About the Founder

Anna Sharman is highly qualified to advise you about publishing your research. She has:

  • A degree in science (Cambridge University, UK, in natural sciences)
  • A PhD (University of Reading, UK, on vertebrate evolution)
  • Postdoctoral experience (University of Heidelberg, Germany, on zebrafish embryonic development)
  • Seven years as an in house journal editor working on Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Current Biology and Genome Biology
  • Nine years as a freelance editor and publishing consultant, working mainly for scientific journals of major publishers such as Public Library of Science, BioMed Central, BMJ Group and Nature Publishing Group
  • Six years’ experience of developing and presenting workshops to researchers, for example for Oxford University and King’s College London

Anna is a native English speaker, and her training as a copyeditor as well as her fluent German and knowledge of several other languages means she has the skills to improve your English writing enormously.

The Cofactor Story

The idea for Cofactor arose out of the experience of our founder, Anna Sharman. In her years in the lab as a biologist, as a journal editor and as a freelance editor Anna saw the disconnect between what researchers submitted to journals and what the journals wanted.

She saw how quickly the world of scientific publishing is changing and how difficult researchers find it to keep up with new developments. She learnt about open access, new forms of peer review, new ways of processing and presenting research results, and new standards for publication. Finding this new world exciting, Anna wanted to help researchers navigate their way through the publication process.

And Anna wanted to help researchers. She had been a PhD student and postdoc herself, struggling to publish enough to get the next job, so she knew the pressures researchers are under. Being bisexual meant that the isolation she felt as a postdoc in particular was even greater. After fifteen years working for publishers she decided to change her focus to helping scientists. So she launched Cofactor.

Now Cofactor has been established for over five years. Our workshops have taken place in more than 20 universities and institutes in the UK, Europe and further afield. Thousands of scientists have benefited from Cofactor’s expert training, editing and advice.

By April 2018 the training side of the business had taken off so successfully that Anna made the decision to focus Cofactor purely on training and consultancy, no longer providing editing except as part of a training and consultancy arrangement. We now have a team of experienced associate trainers who can deliver our workshops.

In 2019 Anna began to consider integrating more of her own values and personal experience into Cofactor, as well as her professional experience. This led to Cofactor’s statement in July 2019 that we are an LGBTQ-friendly and environmentally friendly company.

Anna says, “I am not just a scientist, editor, trainer and business owner. I am also a person, and that affects how I run my business. I am a woman, and my experience of being in science and in my subsequent career is affected by that. I am bisexual, and my involvement with the bi community (such as Bicon) means I have learnt a lot about LGBTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, trans and queer) issues and can apply this to helping scientists, whatever their gender identity or sexuality. I love nature and have always been concerned about protecting the earth, and more recently I have been influenced by the School Strike for Climate and Extinction Rebellion to take the climate crisis more seriously. My values are underpinned by the fact that I am a Quaker, a member of a religious group that values experience over dogma and works for truth, simplicity, equality, peace and sustainability. I feel called to make Cofactor the best company it can be, helping as many people as possible and making the world a better place as much as it can.”

Why the name ‘Cofactor’?

In biochemistry, a cofactor is a small molecule or even an atom that helps an enzyme to do its job.

Cofactor is here to help you do your job as a scientist.