Academic publishing

Lessons from the “Academic Publishing: Routes to Success” monograph workshop

February 3rd, 2017 by Soraya Belkhiria | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Lessons from the “Academic Publishing: Routes to Success” monograph workshop
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The Monograph Publishing Round Table opened the “Academic Publishing; Routes to Success” workshop hosted by the University of Stirling on Monday 23rd January and coordinated by the dynamic Dorothy Butchard.

Dr Andrea Schapper, Dr Timothy Peace and Dr Kelsey Williams, all from the University of Stirling shared their experience with monograph publishing from the author’s point of view, guided by the questions of Claire Squires.

The following blog is an organized summary of all the points they raised while sharing their personal experience with publishing a monograph from their thesis work. For a more complete panorama of the day long workshop, please go read Aleksander Krzysztof Pęciak’s blog article.

Why publish a monograph?

What could be gathered from all the panelists is that, in an environment where it’s quite difficult to find a stable job as an academic, having a published monograph on your CV can really make a difference to get interviews. It was also the general consensus that the monograph is a more accessible piece of writing than a thesis, and that by choosing this format you are making a claim to a wider audience, even compared to journal articles. Andrea Schapper also said that monographs were special because, compared to articles, they are the work of several years put together in one product.

The 10 steps in getting published:

  1. Identify a book series which your monograph could fit in. As Timothy Peace remarked, you might have an idea of this from the research you’ve done and the familiarity with book series on your subject it has brought you.
  2. Send an email to the series editor to see if your title interests him and fits with the editorial line. That will save you time. If you receive a positive answer, you can then submit a proposal.
    But, if you are rejected, as says Andrea Schapper, “Don’t give up if you’re being turn down. Don’t take it personally but take it professionally. Rejection is part of an academic’s career.”
  3. Be prepared to revise a lot of what you have already written. Kelsey Williams, whose monograph was published by Oxford University Press, had to make pretty drastic revisions to make his thesis accessible, and to axe 1/3 of his content to be under the 80,000 words limit. Timothy Peace for his part only had to cut down the “boring bits of methodology” and make the text more reader friendly and less PhD sounding.
  4. Allow for time. The revisions took Kelsey Williams between 8 and 10 month, so this can be a lengthy process. The press can be even longer to give you definite answers when you are producing your first book. In his case, by the time Oxford University Press agreed to sign a formal contract, he had already produced the final draft.
  5. But don’t wait too long to publish the monograph, as it is a very useful thing to have done when hunting for a job. From the time you contact the editor to the date of publication, at least a year is necessary.
  6. Deal with peer reviews. While reviews can often help you write a better book with their suggestions, they can also be an obstacle you have to overcome. Andrea Schapper said that for her monograph, two reviewers liked the book and one didn’t. His critics gave her the impression that he didn’t really read the book, but she addressed his comments in her response with evidence from her own material and the editor was fine with publishing her work in the end.
  7. Index your own book. According to Timothy Peace, it will save you money, because the publisher will make you pay for this service, and you can do it in as little as two days with the help of a software. On top of that, it can be a useful way to assess the structure of your argument.
  8. Ask people to review your book for you. Even if a “I’ll review yours if you review mine deal” can sound difficult to strike in conscience, it is actually very helpful to get your book talked about.
  9. Be prepared to do a lot of the promotion yourself, as publishers do not seem very inclined on investing energy in promoting first-time monograph authors.
  10. Enjoy your royalties! Because yes, as surprising as it sounds, you might receive a royalties check! (even if you won’t get any advance).

And to conclude, here are some thoughts from Kelsey Williams to pounder: “The first book is going to be the worse book you’ll ever write, and that’s okay. Be generous with yourself and don’t be too perfectionist, because it will slow you down and maybe break your career dynamic instead of helping it.”

– Soraya Belkhiria

Academic Book Week visits Stirling

February 3rd, 2017 by Aleksander Pęciak | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Academic Book Week visits Stirling
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A logo for Academic Book Week 2017: A yellow pile of books with yellow text below: Academic Book Week 2017. Dates are located below the name of the event: 23RD - 28TH. All elements of the logo are based on a black background.There are not many opportunities to get to know something more about academic publishing outside the course, so I enthusiastically attended the workshop “Academic Publishing – Routes to Success” organised on Monday, 23rd of January. Although the whole event was aimed at postgraduate students interested in pursuing their academic careers, publishing students also found it helpful, as discussions and talks given by speakers explained the processes of communication between researchers and publishers.

Academic Book Week is a week-long celebration that focuses on the issues around academic publishing and relationships between academic books’ authors, publishers and readers. Started in 2015 as a centerpiece of the Academic Book of the Future Project, Academic Book Week continues to deliver essential information and tools that can positively aid all parts in the area and creates space for lively debates.

“Academic Publishing – Routes to Success” was the first workshop organised in this year’s edition of the event – it was arranged by researchers on the Peer Review project, Professor Claire Squires, Dr Simon Rowberry, and Dr Dorothy Butchard. The workshop was divided into five sessions, covering different aspects of academic: Monograph Publishing Round Table, with Dr Andrea Schapper, Dr Timothy Peace, and Dr Kelsey Williams (University of Stirling), Peer Review and the Postgraduate Experience, Open Access with Dr Betsy Fuller (University of Stirling), Journal Publishing, with Dr Chris Gair (University of Glasgow), Social Media and Blogging to Develop and Communicate Research, with Nicola Osborne (EDINA, University of Edinburgh). The sessions took nearly seven hours and between them, attendees received a proper lunch and beverages.

The Monograph Publishing Round Table was a panel discussion moderated by Professor Claire Squires – researchers representing different scientific backgrounds, who were already experienced with publishing their monographs, shared their views on the topic and advice for current PhD students. Then, in the second session, Dr Dorothy Butchard introduced the audience to the ideas behind peer reviewing and revealed how the whole process looks like in practice. The session was finished with a discussion about the most current issues in academic publishing, where the audience was first shared into smaller groups and then presented their opinion on the topic. The Open Access workshop delivered by Dr Betsy Fuller clarified the concept of OA, explained differences between its models, presented possible ways of being published and where to find funds for that.

The part of the workshop that I found most useful and informative for publishing students was presented by Dr Chris Gair from the University of Glasgow, editor of Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations. His whole presentation shed a light on journal publishing and explained how to maintain a perfect strategy to have your article published.

During the last session, Nicola Osborne, Digital Education & Service Manager from EDINA, demonstrated the way of effective scientific communication on social media platforms, as well as how to use blogs to share and sell researcher’s ideas. From the perspective of a publishing student who wants to work in academic publishing in future, researchers popular on social media and representing a decent and engaging style of writing would make perfect authors to be published and promoted.

All the workshops and discussions clearly proved that to be successful nowadays researchers should be not only skilled in writing and researching the areas of their studies but in maintaining their own brand and effective communication on social media as well. With dynamic changes around academic publishing, they need to take care of their image and its recognition in the community of academics and publishers.

Leading the Way in Academic Publishing: Vivian Marr and Oxford University Press

May 8th, 2012 by Katherine_Marshall | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Leading the Way in Academic Publishing: Vivian Marr and Oxford University Press
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Vivian Marr, Head of Language Acquisition at Oxford University Press, joined us for our penultimate visiting speaker session, during which we were treated to a whistle-stop tour of OUP’s rich history and given an in-depth look at Vivian’s own area of expertise:  the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Founded in 1478, OUP began life as a humble printing press and is now the biggest academic publisher in the world.  The Press is a department of Oxford University and is governed by a board of Delegates (academics from the university) who must approve every proposal before it can be commissioned.  Despite OUP’s traditional ethos and governing structure it is, without a doubt, fully engaged in the digital era and this came through in every part of Vivian’s presentation.

As Vivian pointed out, OUP is very active in the digital market and this is best seen in the various ways the OED has been utilised.  In her own words- “…dictionary is content: how can this be exploited?”  The OED has long been established as a print product but in 2000 it was finally digitized and launched online.  Since then OUP has produced more than 11,000 digital products including online reference works and mobile applications.  Being so digitally minded, this strategy has allowed the Press to increase their customer reach and further cement their status as a truly global publisher.

OUP are constantly seeking to add value to their dictionary content and this has led to the creation of the Global Language Solutions (GLS) programme, which Vivian is currently responsible for.  The GLS programme was launched in response to requests from technology companies to provide content other than English.  The programme draws upon OUP’s strong brand identity and works by indentifying and sourcing high quality dictionary content in multiple languages, which is then customised to form a common data structure and licensed to leading brands worldwide.  Vivian’s passion for this innovative programme was very apparent and resonated within the class as she spoke.

Thursday 19th April was certainly a jam-packed presentation but Vivian’s enthusiasm and experience shone through at every point, making for an interesting and inspiring session.  It was encouraging to learn how such a long established publisher is constantly seeking new ways to exploit content, proving that Oxford University Press deserves its title as the world leading academic press.

– Katherine Marshall