Fides et Historia Seeks a Book Review Editor
The book review editor is responsible for producing 20–25 book reviews per issue for two annual issues. There is a longer, featured review at the beginning of the section. The book review editor selects books for review, finds reviewers, contacts the publisher to have each book sent to the reviewer, edits the reviews, and sends the completed section to the Fides editor. There is an annual stipend of $2,500.
General description of responsibilities (adapted from https://networks.h-net.org/node/5280/discussions/168976/vacancy-book-review-editor-journal-historical-geography)
Staying up-to-date with new publications in the field
The editor should
- Sign up to the mailing lists of key publishers and request to receive seasonal catalogues.
- Liaise with publishers at conferences and follow publishers on Twitter.
- Check publishers’ websites regularly and look for new book announcements.
- Use wider personal networks to keep up-to-date with new publications.
- Become familiar with the mechanisms for requesting review copies from different publishers.
- The editor is responsible for 20–25 reviews per issue plus at least one “featured review” per issue.
- The editor should establish a personal system for keeping track of the commissioning, editing, submission, proofing and publication of reviews.
- Commissioning reviews requires a good knowledge of the field and of scholars’ research interests (although Twitter and academic social media sites, such as Academia.edu and Google Scholar, can be very useful in finding potential reviewers, particularly early-career scholars).
- The editor should aim for diversity among reviewers, ensuring appropriate representation of different ages, career stages, genders, nationalities, etc. The journal’s editorial board can be expected to contribute reviews and to recommend potential reviewers.
- While the normal delivery time for reviews is 3 months, the editor should negotiate a realistic submission date with reviewers on an individual basis.
- Where possible, the editor should request that publishers send a review copy directly to the nominated reviewer since this is typically quicker and less expensive.
- The editor should provide the reviewer with a copy of the journal’s review guidelines and answer any questions the reviewer may have about the process.
- The editor should maintain periodic contact with the reviewer to ensure that they have received the book, that they are making progress with the review, and that the agreed submission date is still appropriate.
- If a reviewer appears unlikely ever to complete the review, the editor should request that the book be returned and a second review commissioned.
Editing the review
- It is the editor’s responsibility to ensure the overall clarity, sense, and grammatical correctness of the review.
- The editor should use the track-changes function of Word when editing and return the edited version(s) to the reviewer for approval.
- All submitted reviews should be edited to ensure that their format complies with the journal style and requirements.
- If the editor has any concerns about the fairness or balance of a review, these should be discussed in the first instance with the author of the review and then with the other editors of the journal as appropriate. This is particularly true in the case of critical reviews where it is important to ensure all criticism is justified and has been evidenced.
1. What is your connection to the Conference on Faith and History? To Fides et Historia?
2. Briefly describe your previous experience with academic journal publishing and/or managing book reviews.
3. What is your area of academic specialization?
4. Based on your network of contacts, on what subjects would it be fairly easy for you to find reviewers, and on what subjects might it be more difficult? (“Subjects” here include but are not limited to time periods, places, topics, and approaches.)
5. What would you say makes a book a good fit for the reviews section in Fides? What might make a book not a good fit? Give examples of at least two recent books that you would send out for review and at least two recent books that you would not send out, with brief explanations.
Using “track changes,” indicate how you would edit this sample book review. You may include queries to the author. Fides uses the Chicago Manual of Style with a few “house style” variations, indicated here. Although the entire issue is copy edited before publication, you should get the piece as close to finished form as you can, using previous issues as your guide.