The peer review and commissioning process

 

We pride ourselves on publishing high quality, scholarly works, and in order to maintain a high standard of publications, all book proposals and manuscripts undergo a rigorous process of assessment by peer review. The guidelines below explain the review process.

The process

For reviewers of book proposals, we ask that reports be returned within four weeks; for reviewers of manuscripts, we ask reports to be returned within eight weeks. However, this review process can take longer due to the need to find a suitable and available reviewer, the length of the submission and the workload of the reviewer. We always aim to ask the best academics in the field to review submissions; however they are often very busy, so we have to wait until they are available to review the work and write their report. The review process can also take longer if the submission is for a particular series, as series editors often have a number of proposals and manuscripts under consideration at the same time. You are always welcome to contact us for updates.

The review process can therefore take from just two weeks to three or four months, depending on the availability of the reviewers, how long the reviewer takes and the number of reports required. On average the review process for a book proposal takes about six weeks.

The reports

At least two positive reports are required for every work commissioned. If the submission is for a series then a report from one of the series editors is also necessary.

The reports are sent to the author for their comments and feedback. This is an important process of the review process as it gives the author a chance to defend or agree with any criticisms or suggestions made, and, if necessary, make revisions to the original submission. It is our policy to protect the identity of reviewers by making all reports anonymous.

If the reports are negative, or if the commissioning editor decides not to contract the book, then the submission would be declined for publication at this stage.

The contract

Once the reports and the author’s response are in the commissioning editor will decide whether a contract will be offered. This may take between a few days or a couple of weeks, depending on the submission, the nature of the reports and the author’s response, the completion of research on the market and competition, and the working out of provisional production costs to make sure the submission is financially viable.

Once the commissioning editor decides to contract the work, terms are negotiated with the author and the submission is put before senior representatives of the Press at our commissioning meeting, and if approved internally is then sent to our Editorial Committee for final approval.

The draft

When the contracted manuscript is submitted it will be sent out to a reviewer for a final report. This usually takes between six and eight weeks, depending on the availability of the reviewer and the length of time it takes them to read the manuscript and write their report.

One positive report is needed at this stage, although if the book is in a series then a report by one of the series editors is also required. Once the report is in, it is forwarded to the author and any changes are discussed with the commissioning editor. If substantial changes are required then the manuscript is likely to be reviewed again once the revisions have been made. If only minor changes are to be made, the manuscript is revised accordingly by the author and then passed over to the production department.

If you have any questions about the review process of your book proposal or manuscript then please do not hesitate to contact the commissioning editor in charge of your submission.

Style guidelines

For further information on MUP’s style guidelines, please see the house style document, below.

House style

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