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Understanding the Review Process for ASA-SIAM Books

13 May 2010 No Comment
Sara Murphy, Acquisitions Editor, SIAM series

Each published book in the ASA-SIAM series began either as a book proposal or draft manuscript. If you have ever wondered how the submission and review process works for publishing a book, read on.

As an acquisitions editor, I make contact with potential authors in many different ways: networking at conferences, having an editorial board member suggest someone for me to talk to, or via a cold call or email from an author. If an author is interested in publishing in the ASA-SIAM series, the first thing he or she needs to do is submit a completed copy of our standard book proposal form, available here, along with a tentative preface, table of contents, sample references, and, optionally, some sample chapters or a whole draft. I consult with the series editor-in-chief, Lisa LaVange (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), to discuss potential, effective reviewers for the material, and then I send the book proposal out to three to six prospective reviewers.

The reviewers answer a standard list of questions about the book’s content, organization, and audience. Sample questions include:

  • What is your general opinion of the material?
  • What groups of statisticians and applied mathematicians would be interested in this work?
  • Would the proposed book be used as a textbook? If so, for what courses?
  • Do you recommend that the ASA and SIAM publish the book?

Reviewer comments are shared anonymously with the author, who is invited to respond to the comments to clarify important points that may have been misunderstood or to agree or disagree with reviewer suggestions. The original reviews and the author’s responses play an important part in whether a book author is offered a publishing contract in the ASA-SIAM series.

If a book is contracted for publication without the author’s submitting sample chapters or a draft, there is one more review before production begins. Once the manuscript is complete, it is sent to two or three reviewers for what is called the manuscript review. Some of these reviewers will have reviewed the book during its proposal stage, while others will be seeing the manuscript for the first time. The manuscript review provides the author with comments on the entire draft, along with suggestions before the book enters the production stage. After receiving these anonymous reviews, the author makes any final revisions and submits the manuscript for production.

If you are interested in submitting a book proposal for the ASA-SIAM series, please download a proposal form from the SIAM web site here. or contact me, Sarah Murphy, at murphy@siam.org. Potential reviewers should also email me, with your full name, mailing address, email address, and a list of topic areas in which you would feel comfortable being a reviewer. We cannot guarantee that you will be used as a reviewer, but if the opportunity arises, you will be contacted. Reviewers for the ASA-SIAM series are compensated with complimentary books from SIAM’s catalog.

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