Book publishing

In some disciplines, such as the arts and humanities, it is appropriate to publish research in books and book chapters rather than formats such as journal articles and conference papers.

As with journal publishers, authors should critically evaluate any potential book publisher for both quality and relevancy. It is important to be aware that publishing with a disreputable publisher may put your academic career at a disadvantage.

Choosing a publisher

When it comes to choosing a book publisher – be critical. What is the editorial process? Is there peer-review? Does the publisher have a strong track record of publications in your subject area? You may be able to gain some of this information by searching a library database such as Academic Search Premier or the Web of Science Book Citation Index.

Additionally, before selecting a publisher it is wise to:

  • Be aware of commercial publisher definitions. Be aware that LAP Lambert and VDM Verlag do not meet the commercial publisher criteria.
  • For Open Access publishers – check to see if the publisher is listed as an OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) member. Membership criteria states that peer review and other quality standards must be met by all publishers.
  • Carefully check any contracts before you sign and seek legal advice if you have concerns.

HERDC criteria for books

The following criteria must be satisfied before your book will be accepted for the HERDC. This information is based on the HERDC specifications.

  • You must be either the sole author or co-author of the entire book – being an editor is insufficient
  • Must be published by a commercial publisher or be peer-reviewed
  • Must have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)
  • Must contain references/citations throughout
  • Must have at least one author affiliated with Victoria University
  • Must outline the research method up front (e.g. in the introduction or preface)

Evidence needed

  • Copy of cover (ideally showing author and clear VU affiliation)
  • Copy of bibliography page (including publisher, ISBN, year)
  • Copy of introduction/preface/etc. (including research method)
  • Copy of any other page showing authorship and VU affiliation
  • Evidence supporting commercial publisher status

Books unlikely to meet the criteria

  • Textbooks
  • Anthologies
  • Edited books – chapters should be submitted as a book chapter
  • Creative works such as a novel
  • Translations
  • Revised or new edition

HERDC criteria for book chapters

Exactly the same as for books, plus some additional evidence is required:

  • Copy of table of contents
  • Copy of contributors page, with author and VU affiliation

Publishing your thesis as a book

If you receive an offer to publish your thesis as a book there are several questions you must ask before taking up such an offer.

  • Are they expecting you to rewrite it for the appropriate audience or will they be publishing your thesis unedited, “as is”? (It should be rewritten!)
  • Will they professionally edit your work? What standing do the editors have in the discipline?
  • Do they market or promote the publication?
  • Do authors receive royalties?
  • What are the copyright implications? In particular, do they allow your thesis to remain open access in the institutional repository?
  • Check the publisher’s webpage for recent titles and topics – does your topic match their market?

Please note it is mandatory to lodge Victoria University theses in the VU Research Repository. This ensures your thesis is widely accessible internationally at no cost.

Further reading

Contact us

For assistance with book publishing contact the VU Research Librarian or your College Librarian. Contact details are available on the Library research support page.