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Publishing Academic Research

This guide provides information about strategic publishing, publishing agreements, Open Access and ERA specifications.

Why are you planning to publish a book?

Writing or editing a book is a major commitment of your time and resources. If you decide to take on this activity, you need to make sure that it will count towards your academic performance or another goal, and build your reputation within your discipline and at JCU.

Choosing a quality publisher is an essential component of good publishing practice.

There is no definitive list of quality publishers. Rather than relying on a single list of publishers, it is essential that you use multiple sources to comprehensively investigate any publishers that you are considering submitting your manuscript to. Information on this page will assist with this process.

If you are not able to get a contract with a quality publisher, it might be necessary to re-consider your intended topic. Use the feedback from publishers to help you identify publishable topics in your area of expertise.

Selecting a publisher

Publisher profile:

  • Have you (or your colleagues) heard of the publisher? If you have, do more investigation to verify what you have heard is correct.
  • Have any books published by the publisher been nominated or won awards? This would be a strong indication that the publisher is of a high standard, and likely to provide genuine editorial support.
  • Does the publisher actively promote their services e.g. have you had the opportunity to discuss publishing opportunities at a conference exhibit?
  • Can you easily identify and contact the publisher, or is the publisher website just a web-front?
  • Did the publisher contact you? Quality publishers are unlikely to approach you, so beware of broadcast emails which offer publishing opportunities.

Publishing process:

  • Review the instructions for prospective authors.
  • Does the publisher clearly specify how the quality control of your manuscript would be managed e.g. type of peer review or editorial support?

What else has the publisher published:

  • Does the publisher only publish works of a quality standard, or do they publish works of variable (or any) standard?
  • Is the publisher publishing quality? Are you comfortable with having your name associated with this publisher and what they have published?

Experience of others:

  • Find colleagues who have published with the publisher and ask about their experience.
  • In ResearchOnline@JCU, do an advanced search by "Item Type: Book" and "Publisher" to find JCU researchers who have published with the publisher.
  • Look for recently published books by the publisher, particularly books that are in your area of interest, and ask the authors of these books about their experience. This suggestion can give you a reason to introduce yourself to a colleague.

Discipline matters:

  • Some publishers are better regarded amongst some disciplines than others. How is the publisher regarded in your discipline?
  • Does the publisher specialize in particular disciplines? Do other books published by the publisher align with the topic of the book you are planning?
  • Check discipline based repositories e.g. Top books in REPEC to see the publishers of these books.

Avoid Vanity Publishers

A Vanity Publisher is one which accepts funding from authors to get their works published. It may provide no editing or quality control.

Research students may receive unsolicited emails from vanity presses to publish their thesis. Some of these ‘publishers’ or ‘vanity presses’, do not provide peer-review, or editorial or proof-reading support, marketing or distribution of the book. They generate income by either charging up-front publishing fees, or by the sale of copies to the author.

Publishing your thesis with a ‘vanity press’ such as Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP - an imprint of VDM Publishing) may result in:

  • the loss of Copyright to your work, restricting further publishing from your research in books, conference proceedings or journal articles
  • a poor quality publication that doesn’t meet the requirements of internal reporting
  • loss of academic credibility / reputation having published with a ‘vanity press’

It is always recommended that you carefully research and evaluate the credibility of a publisher before accepting an offer to publish your thesis. 

Publishing your thesis as a book

Publishing your thesis as a book will result in two substantially different documents. A focus of your thesis is to demonstrate your academic ability. In contrast, the purpose of publishing a book that is based on the knowledge generated from your thesis research would be to create an interesting read which appeals to academic and other readers.

If the publisher understands this, there should be no problem with making your thesis publicly available in ResearchOnline@JCU. Your thesis could also be a 'taster' to help promote your book.

Suggested further reading:

Does the publisher enable Open Access?

Checking whether a book publisher is part of an Open Access initiative gives you another option for checking the validity of a publisher as well as seeing whether it would be possible for an open access version of your book to be made available.

The Australasian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) maintains a page which records open access ePresses in Australia and internationally as well as other developments in open access monograph publishing.

Open Access initiatives in book publishing include:

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