Monday, 23 July 2012

More on publishing

Academics, even retired ones, are supposed to keep up a steady pace of publishing their research output, though in my case it can't really matter very much as I don't expect to be part of the forthcoming REF (Research Excellence Framework), for which the data are due to be collected during 2013, and the results published in late 2014.

Anyway, regardless of the REF, I guess I've been doing my bit recently. At the weekend I was proof reading a paper on North Korea that I thought was due to be published in the International Economic Journal early next year. It now seems the paper will come out in September this year, in just two months' time.

And a few days ago, my co-editor (Gerard Turley) and I finally submitted to Routledge our edited volume, Handbook of the Economics and Political Economy of Transition, which should be published in March 2013; see the publisher's web-pages for this book. We've been working on this volume for just over two years. It has involved us working out a structure for the volume, then commissioning a large number of contributions from experts in the field, mostly academics, but a few who have also served as ministers in or advisors to various Eastern European governments. This process went surprisingly well, with the submitted volume comprising our editors' introduction plus 37 contributions. Clearly it'll be a large book, so anyone wishing to buy it should get saving up right away.

The submission process itself was quite novel for me, as it was the first time I've submitted a book entirely electronically. In fact as co-editor I've never even printed out the whole thing, so I guess we've saved a tree or two. To make their life easier, the publisher wanted the text of each chapter in a separate file, with each table and figure also in a separate file. Hence our submission amounted to 186 files in all, bundled up in a single, large zipped file. Needless to say, for this to work, we had to be really careful with our file names.

The next step, I imagine, will be a steady stream of queries from Routledge as they work through the files and prepare everything for publication, but our main work as editors is done, and these final stages should not be too hard to fit in with whatever else we are doing. It's been an amazingly interesting project to work on, and I'm really impressed that so many contributors delivered their contributions to a very high standard, and more or less on time. I can say that now, though I must admit that the final weeks were marked by a certain amount of anxiety as we awaited the last few contributions.

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