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Scholarly Communication

Checklist to evaluate book publishers

The checklist below is heavily adapted from Think. Check. Submit., a cross-industry initiative led by various representatives to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications.

As an author yourself, you may have different needs, objectives or criteria when evaluating book publishers. The list of questions in the checklist is not exhaustive, and not all criteria may apply in your scenario. However, the use of such a checklist is a helpful and systematic way to help you discover what you need to know when assessing whether a publisher is suitable for you, according to your own criteria and requirements. The more questions and issues encountered when verifying the publisher against the checklist, the more wary you should be when choosing the publisher.


Book Publisher Evaluation Checklist

Do you or your colleagues know the book publisher?

  • Have you read any books or chapters in your subject area from this publisher before?
  • Has any of your colleagues or contacts in the network published with the publisher before?
  • Have you searched for the publisher’s name online? Look for information sources like websites, reddit, blogs etc where previous authors may have shared their experiences or perceptions on the publisher.

Book publisher website

  • Have you scanned through the publisher’s website? Points to consider include typos, website design and layout, broken links, incomplete information
  • Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?
  • Does the publisher explain on their website how they are financially supported?
  • Have you browsed through some of their published book titles? (WorldCat may be helpful for this purpose)
  • When was the website last updated?

Editorial Board

  • Is information about the editorial or advisory board readily available?
  • Do the academic editors have a proven record in your field?

Author instructions and publishing workflows

  • Does the publisher provide clear guidelines for authors?
  • Does the publisher provide clear instructions on the publishing workflow used by the authors? Points to consider include the book proposal process, publisher’s selection process, editorial process, printing etc
  • Is the publisher clear on their website about the type of peer review used ?
  • Does the peer review involve an expert editorial board or independent/external reviewers in your subject area?
  • Does the website explain if there will be any fees incurred, and when they will be charged?
  • For open access books, does the publisher have a clear license policy, including any preferred licenses and whether exceptions are permitted depending on the needs of the author? Are license details also included on their publications? Will your book be available as open access immediately when published?
  • Does the publisher allow you to retain copyright of your work? Does the publisher allow you to share an electronic version of your book or chapter via, for example, an institutional repository, and under what terms?
  • Is the publisher clear about contracts and royalty agreements, where applicable?
  • Does the publisher have a clear policy regarding potential conflicts of interest for authors, editors and reviewers?

Visibility, distribution and indexing

  • Is it clear how they distribute the books?
  • Can you tell what formats the books are available in and what price levels? For example ebook for purchase or open access, print in hard or soft cover etc.
  • Does the publisher use permanent digital identifiers for books and/or chapters?
  • If indexing is important to you, will your book or chapter be indexed or archived in an easily discoverable database or repository?
  • Does the publisher ensure long-term archiving and preservation of digital publications, such as via OAPEN or CLOCKSS?
  • Is the publisher clear about how they will provide you with information about the reach and usage of your book?
  • Are books published by this publisher regularly purchased by academic libraries worldwide?

Other factors


Adapted from: "Books & Chapters" by Think. Check. Submit is licensed under CC BY 4.0