What Editors Want: Advice on winning the publishing game

Few books come this close to providing sound advice on the intricacies of the publishing game as What Editors Want: an author’s guide to scientific journal publishing [1]. (The title of the chapter on preparing a manuscript for publication includes the phrase ‘What editors wish you knew’.) The very first chapter makes it clear who the book is for and why they should read it: ‘many youthful researchers have almost no idea of what obstacles they’ll encounter, and how to get to the finish line—a published paper—as quickly and painlessly as possible. The aim of this book is to address the needs of these novice authors.’

The authors make it clear early on that their book is not about writing research papers but about getting published. Accordingly, the book commences by assuming that researchers have finished their research and have analysed the results and that the findings are fresh and valid, and takes it up from there. The early chapters tell readers how to judge whether their research is fresh and how to choose the right journal.

An innovative feature of the book are mini essays by other ‘officials in the publishing game’: journal editors, publishers and publication managers, librarians, media experts, and so on. You can read what the Executive Editor of Science, for example, has to say on honesty in authorship and that of PNAS (Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences on ethics in scientific publishing.

The book will prove particularly useful to non-native speakers of English since it is based on the workshop the authors gave in mainland China. Several useful appendixes point readers to extra resources, up to date and cautiously chosen, on advice on writing, databases that suggest free access to articles and abstracts, free or low-cost sources of photos, and so on.

All in all, a welcome addition indeed to the already amazing series titled Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing.

[1] Benson P J and Silver S C. 2013. What Editors Want: an author’s guide to scientific journal publishing. University of Chicago Press. 178 pp. [The year given in citations and references is the year that shows up in the copyright notice; the book under review has already been published.]  

 

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