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Am I in competition with others for publication?

In principle, no, though given the modest programme of publication which we envisage in the first instance, you may be for purely practical reasons. Certainly in the early phase of the project there will be a limit on the number of texts we can handle.

Do I have to provide a subvention?

Yes. It is important for the viability of the publishing project that it cover its costs. It is not there to make a profit, but neither must it make a loss. A subvention of £1000 is payable as soon as possible after agreement to publish, and before the Imprint incurs any major expenditure (copy editing, designing, uploading of files for printing, etc.)

Am I paid royalties?

Authors will be paid royalties at a rate to be agreed at the time of signing the Memorandum of Agreement. This will take the form of a percentage of the retail price for each volume once a certain threshold of sales has been reached.

What form will the final submission of my book take?

Authors will be required to produce three hard copies of their text for the purpose of peer review, together with a PDF file or set of files prepared in keeping with the Printer’s specification for the purpose of production. Technical assistance will be available from within the College for the preparation of these files.

How do I go about making a publishing proposal?

By returning – either electronically or in the form of hard copy – a completed version of the Book Proposal Form available from the Imprint’s home page on the web or, as hard copy, from the Senior Editor.

How do we decide on the size of the print-run?

This will be a matter for discussion with the Author from the beginning of the project onwards, with a definite decision to be made at the point of final submission. The print-on-demand technology which we are using for the Imprint makes it possible to produce further copies very quickly (‘on demand’), and so our initial projections will be conservative. An initial overrun or large quantity of remainders with a diminishing prospect of sales would be expensive for the Imprint and we shall be seeking to avoid this.

How many books do we propose to publish?

There is in principle no limit to the number of books that we can publish each year or at any one time, but in the short to medium term we shall be looking at something like four or six titles per year. As the Imprint develops, however, and with its gradual professionalization (editorial assistance, professional copy-editing, etc.) this figure may well rise.

How will peer-review work?

Peer review, along with the Author’s own acumen, will be the leading guarantee of the quality and of the reputation of the Imprint, and all proposals will be submitted to experts in the field (including external experts) for their preliminary reactions, as will the text itself at the point of its final submission, satisfactory reports at both stages being a condition of proceeding with the project. At both stages, the impressions of the Board and of its specialist advisors will be relayed to the Author for consideration, together with the status of their recommendations as a condition or otherwise of publication. In all matters concerning publication under the aegis of the Imprint, the decision of the Board in conjunction with its special advisors will be final.

How will the pricing of texts work?

Volumes will be priced in such a way as to cover production and marketing costs at the Printer’s end, together with copy-editing, publicity, royalties and other costs incurred by the Publisher (i.e. at the Faculty end). Cost projections based on discussions with the Printer in relation to each project will be considered with the Author at an early stage in its development. The overall aim in the early phase of the scheme will be to price texts in such a way as to avoid making a loss on them. Indeed, consonant with what we think the market will bear, we shall try to make a small profit for the purpose of developing the scheme. We shall also try to avoid subsidising one text by way of another. All texts, ideally, should pay their way.

What about cover design?

UCL publications are governed by a corporate branding, relating mainly, in this case, to the UCL banner (at the top of this document). This, therefore, will be the principal constant of the series as far as design is concerned. Within these limits, however, there will maximum room for manoeuvre, the Author, Editor and Printer working together here, with whatever expert advice they think desirable, to generate appropriate material. Final decisions will lie with the Editorial Board.

What about illustrations?

At present we are restricted to half-tone illustrations to be incorporated in the PDF files we submit to the Printer, but our understanding is that full colours plates will be available in the near future. Charts, diagrams and tables of statistics are all possibilities.

What about inviting authors from beyond the Faculty?

There is no reason why, when the Imprint is under way, we should invite scholars both from beyond the Faculty and from the College to publish with us. The quality of what we do will, we hope, make this a welcome possibility.

What about proof-reading and copy-editing?

The Editorial Board will require as a condition of publication confirmation that text has been independently proof-read. The final submission will also be placed with professional copy-editors in order to ensure that material making its way to the Printer is as error-free as possible. The cost of professional copy-editing will enter into the pricing of books.

What about publicity and distribution?

The Printer will upon our instructions place books with some of the major suppliers in the book industry. We shall have to assist in this ourselves, however, by identifying other outlets for texts such as learned societies, libraries and so on, as well as preparing flyers and catalogue material as our list grows. Authors will be involved in this process from the outset, and must, therefore, give thought early on in the project to its publicity and promotional aspect.

What about the production of PDF files?

The production of PDF files from word-processing programmes is not difficult, but technical advice will be available from within the College.

What about the reviewing of texts once published?

It is important that our books are well received and well reviewed, and authors are invited early on in the project (at the time of making a formal proposal) to identify a dozen or so reviewers (leading journals in the field, etc.) to whom their text might be sent. As in the case of professional copy-editing, the costs of this will have to be borne by the Imprint and will therefore enter into the pricing scheme for texts.

What are the legal liabilities of the Author?

Authors are liable for all aspects of obtaining permission, where permission is necessary, for the reproduction of material in their books. They are also liable – solely liable – for any action ensuing on account of inaccurate, defamatory or libellous content in their text. In no circumstances will the Editorial Board, either severally or collectively, bear responsibility here. A clause to this effect is contained in the Memorandum of Agreement signed by all parties as a condition of publication.

What are the responsibilities of the Publisher?

The Publisher – meaning by this the Faculty as represented in respect of the Imprint by its Editorial Board – will seek to see though to publication all projects submitted to it and approved by its specialist readers to publication with minimum delay and maximum efficiency. It will not accept responsibility, however, for circumstances beyond its control – whether relating to its specialist advisors, copy-editors or the Printer – tending to delay the project.

What does the term ‘Publisher’ mean in this context?

The term ‘Publisher’ in these notes and in other documents relating to this scheme means the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at University College London as host to the Research Publications project.

What happens to my electronic files once published?

Electronic files are kept on the Printer’s database for as long as the Publisher and/or the Author wish the text to be available in the public domain. The Publisher incurs in this respect a fee which will have to be factored into pricing. Existing files may be revised and updated for subsequent editions of the text.

What help will I have in configuring my text?

The Modern Humanities Research Association Style Guide, together with additional material relating to our own house style, will be made available to Authors on the Imprint’s web site. Advice will also be available from within the College when it comes to the production of PDF files for submission to the Printer.

What kinds of books are we proposing to publish?

The Imprint proposes to publish most kinds of academic undertaking (monographs, editions, collections of essays and Festschrifts, conference proceedings, etc) with the exception of single lectures, brief or popular guides to texts or authors or other matter, and plain translations. As the Imprint develops, it will be possible to create series of texts or special collections. The Imprint will consider also the publication of theses subject to their preparation as academic volumes.

What is the basic idea behind the Imprint?

The basic idea behind the Imprint is to facilitate the publication of high-quality scholarship in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL, confirming and building on an already excellent reputation in its customary areas of concern. Our hope is that the relative ease of publishing with the Imprint – an ease subject, however, to stringent peer review – will encourage a still more vigorous programme of publishing activity both among senior scholars and among younger colleagues.

What is the financial liability of the Author?

The financial liability of the Author extends principally to costs involved in the securing of permission in relation to the reproduction of illustrations and other material in the text, and in copy-editing over and above the routine practice of the Imprint (e.g. in the case of text revised and requiring fresh scrutiny). The Imprint will cover the costs of ordinary publicity and promotion, though extraordinary initiatives here may require a subvention. The Publisher in any case reserves the right to request a subvention in the interests of the well-being of the Imprint as a whole, though this will always be kept to the minimum possible. We are informed by the Printer that illustrations in excess of twenty are chargeable, so this too will fall to the Author.

What is the financial liability of the Publisher?

The financial liability of the Publisher extends to the costs incurred in the ordinary process of editing, production and promotion, these costs entering into the pricing scheme of books as determined from case to case. The Publisher will not be liable for costs incurred in relation either to the seeking of permissions or of action at law, or the consequences thereof, in respect of content of any kind. Nor will the Publisher be liable in respect of costs incurred over and above the routine practices of production (e.g. in respect of revisions requiring further copy-editing). The Publisher will, however, meet the costs of subsequent editions provided only that a financial case be made for their viability.

What is the first step should I be thinking of publishing here?

Your first step will be to meet informally with the Senior Editor to talk over the project and to consider the possibility of making a formal proposal.

What is the format of book production?

Books are produced in a variety of formats, including hard back with or without jacket, and paperback. There is a range of sizes and of paper quality, and all matters of this kind are discussed with the Author during the production process.

What is the liability of the Publisher?

The liability of the Publisher extends to the seeing through to publication, with all reasonable despatch, of texts submitted for its consideration and approved at the point both of proposal and of final submission for publication, and this both in the letter and in the spirit of its formal agreement with the Author. The Publisher’s liability does not extend to failure on the part of the Author to seek and to obtain necessary permissions, nor to the consequences of any action at law whatever relative to material contained in the text.

What is the Memorandum of Agreement?

The Memorandum of Agreement, to which both Author and Publisher are signatory upon the acceptance of a proposal for publication, confirms the agreement to publish and the basic conditions of publication. It does not have the binding force of a contract, but registers the willingness of all parties to proceed to publication subject to peer review at the time of final submission.

What is the relationship between the Imprint and the Faculty?

The Research Publication project is the Imprint of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at University College London, to which it is accountable in every aspect of its activity, including the financial aspect. The project is subject to review by the Faculty and is under an obligation to report annually to the Faculty.

What is the technology underlying the Imprint?

The scheme is made possible by the revolution in publishing represented by print-on-demand techniques, which offer in a manner hitherto unknown in academic publishing speed, flexibility and efficiency in the high-quality production of books. The technology does not, by nature, involve a large preliminary capital investiture, and, with prudent management, financial exposure is at every point minimal. Demand and supply are strictly controlled by the Publisher, again minimising financial risk. Production turn-round is very quick (at most two or three weeks), and subject, therefore, to the necessities of the editorial process, completed texts see the light of day with minimum delay. The rhythm and rate of publication are also controlled by the Publisher, who has oversight, therefore, of the progress and development of the project in its totality.

What is the turn-round time on production?

The turn-round time on production after the uploading of files to the Printer in a format acceptable to him is normally a matter of days.

What scope is there for revising and updating texts?

One of the main advantages of storing files in an electronic library (which the Printer does) is the ease of their retrieval or substitution, facilitating the process of revision and updating texts.

Who are involved as special advisors to this project?

We are grateful for advice in setting up this project both from the Faculty Accountant and from UCL Business Development, both of whom continue to oversee it.

Who makes up the Editorial Board?

The Editorial Board consists of five or six members of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL, together with a further member invited from another university institution.

Who retains copyright?

As things stand, the Author retains copyright on books published under this scheme, which means that he or she is free to reproduce material for other purposes. It will, however, be assumed that this right will not be invoked in such a way as to prejudice the Imprint’s interests, either academic or financial, as the home of the texts it publishes.

Will I have an inspection copy of my book?