Feeding the Elephant

A joint project of H-Net and MSU Press.

Welcome to Feeding the Elephant, a place for conversations about scholarly communications in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. This is a place for anyone from the worlds of publishing, libraries, academic organizations, and academia, early career or established, affiliated or independent, who is deeply interested in the questions shaping scholarly communications today.

Recent

Navigating the Publishing Path: Job Application Tips and Tricks


Guest post by Allegra Martschenko, acquisitions editor, University Press of Colorado, and Rachael Levay, editor in chief, University Press of Colorado and acquisitions editor, UPC imprint, Utah State University Press

Book Review: Laura Portwood-Stacer's "The Book Proposal Book: A Guide for Scholarly Authors"

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


Book Review by Hanni Jalil

Laura Portwood-Stacer, The Book Proposal Book: A Guide for Scholarly Authors (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021)

Working with Your Editor: Previously Published Material in Your Manuscript


This week, we revisit an evergreen Working with Your Editor post by University of Pennsylvania Press editor-in-chief Walter Biggins in which he addresses the persistent questions of whether and how much previously published material an author can include in a manuscript. This was the most popular post of 2020, and judging from online chatter, authors are still asking.

Historical Perspectives on Scholarly Communications: Tamizdat Then and Now


In this series of historical perspectives on scholarly communications, we engage with literary scholars, historians, and others who think about publishing and scholarly communications in other times and places, under different political and economic conditions, and through various technological media of print and distribution.

#PeerReviewSyllabus


The Elephant has assembled a #PeerReviewSyllabus in conjunction with Peer Review Week. The theme for the 2021 Peer Review Week is “Identity in Peer Review.” You can follow or join the conversations online with the hashtags #PeerReviewWeek21 and #IdentityInPeerReview, or our own #FeedingtheElephant hashtag.

Feeding the Elephant Turns Two!

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


By the Feeding the Elephant Editorial Collective

Two years ago, we launched Feeding the Elephant, a forum on scholarly communications in the arts, humanities, and social sciences with a mission to bring together stakeholders in libraries, publishing, and academe around conversations of common interest. 

Publishing Public Humanities Projects: A Conversation


In the spring of 2021, the National Humanities Alliance published “Public Humanities and Publication: A Working Paper,” the product of a team of scholars and editors convened by Kath Burton (Taylor and Francis) and Daniel Fisher (National Humanities Alliance and Hebrew Union College). Two members of the team, Barry M.

#AUPresses21 | Stepping Up to Support Racial Justice Movements


In this series of reports, members of the Elephant editorial collective recap selected panels from the 2021 AUPresses Virtual Annual Meeting held June 7-18, 2021. We welcome further discussion of issues raised by the panelists via the Reply box below each post.

Moderator:
Caitlin Tyler-Richards, Acquisitions Editor, Michigan State University Press

#AUPresses21 | Four Panels on Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility


In this series of reports, members of the Elephant editorial collective recap selected panels from the 2021 AUPresses Virtual Annual Meeting held June 7-18, 2021. We welcome further discussion of issues raised by the panelists via the Reply box below each post.

#AUPresses21 | Library Budgets: What does the library market look like in the COVID era?


In this series of reports, members of the Elephant editorial collective recap selected panels from the 2021 AUPresses Virtual Annual Meeting held June 7-18, 2021. We welcome further discussion of issues raised by the panelists via the Reply box below each post.

[1:3] The Value of Popular Culture

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


In Feeding the Elephant’s [1:3] series, we pose 1 question to a librarian, a publisher, and a scholar—the 3 main stakeholders in the scholarly communications ecosystem—to get each perspective on a particular issue. Here, we posed the question: 

What is the value of popular culture to scholarly discussions?

Are My Images Good Enough to Print? Some Tips for Authors

A guest post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


Preparing and submitting illustrations for your book can be a daunting process. What size should the image be? How do you determine the resolution? What file type should you submit? How should the file be labeled?

Born-Digital Publications: A Conversation between a Librarian and a Publisher


As more scholars start developing multimedia digital projects, librarians and acquisitions editors both play key roles in supporting them and making these projects available to readers. In the following post, a librarian and an acquisitions editor who have collaborated on digital projects talk about how they think about this work and what they’d like to see more of.

How to (Build Solidarity with University Presses So They Exist to) Publish Your Book: A Roundtable

This Feeding the Elephant post was developed from a panel conversation that took place at the Modern Language Association 2021 virtual meeting in January, organized by Samuel Cohen and Rebecca Colesworthy. Remarks have been condensed for circulation.

 

Samuel Cohen, University of Missouri

Online Conferences, Intellectual Property, and the Changing Shape of Scholarly Communications

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications. This post continues our coverage of the shift to virtual conferences in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, the College Art Association (CAA) held its 109th Annual Conference, bringing together art historians, artists, and designers to share research and discuss issues of professional interest.

Appreciating the Messy Process of the Public Humanities

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.

Note: This post grew out of a presentation the authors gave at the 2020 National Humanities Conference, and that presentation in turn grew out a working group on publishing publicly engaged humanities projects. A white paper on the topic will be published in spring 2021.


Guest post by Barry Goldenberg and Dave Tell

Why Is My Book So Expensive? The Cost of a Scholarly Monograph

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


Authors often ask publishers, “Why is my book so expensive?” The short answer: it really isn’t that expensive. The long answer: your scholarly book might cost more than commercially published nonacademic books because academic presses are spreading the cost of producing a title across a smaller number of print units. Each unit therefore has to be priced higher to enable the press to recoup the cost of production.

The Book Writing is Done! Now the Promotion Begins.


A guest post by Megan Kate Nelson, writer and historian

Once you’ve turned in your page proofs to the press, you may think it’s time to relax. NO, IT IS NOT.

Or you may think that promotion is untoward, and besmirches the intellectual purity of your book.
NO, IT IS/DOES NOT.

So what do you do now to start the promotion process?

It's Been a Year


by the Feeding the Elephant Editorial Collective

Before we start, we need to acknowledge something: 2020 was a year. If you are reading this in December, you have our deepest gratitude and respect for sticking with us. Here’s to making it through! If you are reading this from the future, let’s just say, we hope things got better.

The Challenges of COVID-19 for Early Career Librarians

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.

Last week John Vsetecka offered his perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on early-career scholars. In today's post, we learn what's been like for early-career librarians from Laura Rocco, outreach and engagement librarian at California State University, Stanislaus.

The Challenges of COVID-19 for Graduate Students

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we work and what we hoped to achieve in this very long year. In this post, history graduate student John Vsetecka talks about the short- and potential long-term impact of COVID-19 on early-career scholars. We'll follow up next week with a similar piece from an early-career librarian.

The Value of et al.: Fostering Collaborations in the Humanities

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.This post kicks off a new occasional series on collaboration in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

A guest post by Erin Benay, Associate Professor of Early Modern Art and Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies, Case Western Reserve University

Stepping into 2D: Moving the Publisher Exhibit Online

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications. This is the first of a series on how scholarly societies, publishers, and attendees are coping with the challenges of the virtual conference.


A guest post by Hajni G. Selby, Director of Programming and Conferences, Organization of American Historians

Advice for First-Time Peer Reviewers


As we wrap-up Peer Review Week 2020, we wanted to share some practical advice with early career scholars being asked to review for the first time. I spoke with three scholars, including a journal editor, about how to approach this potentially daunting task—and why it's important to do so.

Working with Your Editor: Ten FAQS about Book Peer Review

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


As Peer Review Week approaches, I wanted to share answers to some of the questions I get asked most often. The theme of #PeerReviewWk20 is trust. I hope these answers contribute to trust in peer review by fostering candid conversations about publishing in general and helping to demystify the peer review process specifically.

[1:3] The Impact of COVID-19 on Scholarly Communications


Feeding the Elephant is pleased to introduce our [1:3] series. In this series, we pose 1 question to a librarian, a publisher, and a scholarthe 3 main stakeholders in the scholarly communications ecosystemto get each perspective on a particular issue. Here, we posed the question:

This One Simple Trick Makes Permissions Easy and Fun

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


Getting permission to reproduce copyrighted material in your own work can be intimidating and frustrating, and most scholars don’t get much, if any, training in how to do it. You won’t be surprised to learn there is no one simple trick, but the following tips aim to demystify the process and make it easier to manage.

P2L4 Summit Follow-up: How Can Presses & Libraries Work Together to Advance Anti-Racism

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.


Note: This was the third panel of the P2L conference held July 22. A recap of the first two panels can be found here
Lisa Bayer, Director, University of Georgia Press, sent us this summary.

P2L Summit: University Presses and Libraries: Partners in Digital Transformation


P2L4, a conference sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of University Presses (AUPresses), brought together a group of publishers and librarians via Zoom on July 22 to talk about scholarly publishing.

#AUPresses20 Guest Post: Steps Toward a More Diverse Acquisitions

Liz Murice Alexander is Mellon Editorial Fellow at Northwestern University Press. She was one of the participants of the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellows conversation at the AUPresses 2020 virtual conference, which we previously covered here.

#AUPresses20 What Booksellers Wish University Presses Knew


Friday afternoon three booksellers—Kim Hooyboer of Seattle’s Third Place Books (Seward Park), Jeff Deutsch of Chicago’s Seminary Co-op Bookstores, and David Goldberg of the MIT Press Bookstore—joined with Andrew Berzanskis, senior acquisitions editor at the University of Washington Press, to talk about what university press folks ought to know about the realities of retail book sales.

#AUPresses20 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellows conversation


The Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program, the result of a four-year, $1,205,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to diversify the university press acquisitions pipeline by offering highly competitive fourteen-month apprenticeships in the acquisitions departments of six university presses.

Working with Your Editor: Requesting Letters of Support

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications


Acquiring editors play many roles in the publication process, and because the publishing process is entwined with the tenure and promotion process, editors are often asked to provide supporting documentation to their authors to share with tenure and promotion committees. This can be as simple as a paragraph confirming a book is under contract or in production, or as detailed as explaining a press’s acceptance rate and review process.

Racism and Protest Resource List

Dear subscribers,

In light of the ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Feeding the Elephant has compiled a list of resources (many freely accessible) from libraries, university presses, and scholars on the subjects of racism, racial justice, police brutality, and protest.

Racism and Protest Resources

In light of the ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Feeding the Elephant has compiled a list of resources (many freely accessible) from libraries, university presses, and scholars on the subjects of racism, racial justice, police brutality, and protest. At this time of anger and mourning, we would like to highlight efforts by the scholarly communications and publishing communities to reflect on how our work can contribute to understanding the present moment and encourage transformational change.

Guest Post: The University Press Vault: Leveraging Backlist Content

In the fall of 2019, Disney launched its new streaming service, Disney+. Disney opened its famed Vault to lovers of classic Disney, fans of newer Disney-affiliated producers, and stans for Baby Yoda. All at once, several decades’ worth of content became available—for a price. And, all at once, Disney earned massive revenue for content that it already owned.

Yes, Us Too: Sexism and Sexual Harassment in Scholarly Publishing


One of the characteristics of workplaces where sexual harassment and gender discrimination are common is a predominantly male staff, where the few women present may be seen as challenging gender norms just by being there.

Managing a career in publishing (Scholarly Kitchen)

Feeding the Elephant readers may be interested in a recent guest post from the Scholarly Kitchen called "Managing Your Career in Publishing," focusing on identifying and developing skills and professional networking through organizations like the Association of University Presses, the Association of American

Diversity and equity in publishing: Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute


The theme of the 2019 Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute was equity in scholarly communications. In addition to the summary on the website, check out #TriangleSCI on Twitter.

Guest Post: Why Do University Presses Publish Trade Books?

By Tony Sanfilippo

University presses were established to publish scholarly books—that’s our chief mission. But it’s not all we do. In this guest post, Ohio State University Press director Tony Sanfilippo talks about when and why university presses publish trade books—those intended for a general, non-specialist readership. --Catherine Cocks

Kathryn Conrad on University Press Publishing


Continuing our coverage of University Press Week, readers may be interested in a recent conversation between Kathryn Conrad, president of the Association of University Presses and founder and editor of the New Books Network, Marshall Poe, about (what else?) university presses.

Initiatives for Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications

A post from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications


A few weeks ago, we wrote about the importance of diversity and equity in peer review, but concerns about who gets to create, curate, distribute, and preserve knowledge extend far beyond the moment of peer review. 

Opening post: Peer Review Week

Welcome to the inaugural posts of Feeding the Elephant, a forum for conversations about scholarly communications in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. We begin by looking at one of the elements that makes academic publishing distinctive: peer review. Scholars who want to have their research taken seriously by their discipline have to publish it in a peer-reviewed form, whether that’s a journal article or a monograph or something else. 

Feeding the Elephant: A Forum on Scholarly Communications

This is the first post of a new series on the H-Net Book Channel dedicated to scholarly communications called Feeding the Elephant. For the rest of September, we'll be sharing interviews, blog posts, and links to further resources related to the topic of peer review. Subscribers are invited to take part in the conversation by posting replies, questions, links to projects, or ideas for future posts.  --Eds.

Peer Review Resources

Below is a list of resources for peer review meant to supplement the posts and discussions taking place on Feeding the Elephant. Readers, please help us grow this list by joining the Feeding the Elephant discussions or Tweeting us using the hashtag #FeedingTheElephant.

Introductions to Peer Review