​​Palgrave Macmillan's Campaign for the Humanities

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The Academic Book of the Future project

Back in March 2015, Palgrave Macmillan teamed up with The Academic Book of the Future to explore the ways in which arts and humanities titles will be researched, written, published, disseminated, and read in the future; to celebrate the academic book; and to discuss key debates within the industry.


Our part in the story is publishing a super speedy Palgrave Pivot entitled The Academic Book of the Future, which offers expert views from librarians, publishers, booksellers, and academics, on how they envisage the future of the scholarly book.


Palgrave Pivot has already enabled authors to publish their peer-reviewed research at its natural length (between 25,000 and 50,000 words), taking advantage of a swift and flexible publication process to dramatically reduce publication times. By publishing new research quickly and maintaining high editorial standards, our authors’ research is given the opportunity to have a greater impact. Palgrave Macmillan pledge to publish Pivots within just 12 weeks of acceptance of the manuscript, once it has been peer-reviewed.


Follow the Palgrave Pivot's progress below, as we chart its journey from production to publication. We'll post regular updates, so that you can track the Palgrave Pivot production process ahead of The Academic Book of the Future showcase event being held at The British Library on Friday 13th November. 

Countdown to Academic Book Week


Where we are so far

As you can imagine, when you take on the challenge of publishing a Palgrave Pivot, you need to stick to an extremely tight schedule.

Sam Rayner and Bex Lyons, from The Academic Book of the Future project, kicked things off by submitting their proposal for their Palgrave Pivot, The Academic Book of the Future. We then worked quickly to perfect the proposal and sent it out for review where an anxious wait ensued, as we anticipated what the reviewer would think. After receiving a glowing review it was time to offer the contract.

Excitingly, we can now confirm that Sam and Bex have officially signed the contract – so all systems are go!

Our Palgrave Pivot, The Academic Book of the Future, includes twelve perspectives on the future of publishing from publishers, booksellers, academics, and librarians – which ultimately meant that a lot of organisation was needed to ensure we received the content in time.

First thing was first – we needed content. Bex led the charge and commissioned all twelve chapters in late July – giving the authors just one month to submit their contributions, by the end of August! Bex then collated all of the chapters from each of the sections… just in time. As with anything, there was a nervous wait for one remaining chapter, which arrived a little later than the others, but a good overall result, and we had stuck to the schedule so far.

To save time, Bex then took on the challenge of editing all of the chapters herself, to ensure the final manuscript would be as clean as possible. Sam and Jen McCall (Global Head of Humanities and Publisher at Palgrave Macmillan) are now reading the entire manuscript to eradicate as many typos and errors as possible before it is sent to our Production Team where it will receive a speedy copy edit.

As the countdown to Academic Book Week continues, we need to make sure that the manuscript is with the Palgrave Macmillan Production Team by Wednesday 9th of September, and also choose a cover. 

4 weeks to go...

With less than a month to go until Academic Book Week, it’s all go in the Palgrave Macmillan and Academic Book Week offices.

Since our first post, our Palgrave Pivot has taken great shape, and has been moving at a phenomenal pace. The first major development was the go-ahead to publish the Palgrave Pivot as open access under a CC BY license. This exciting development means the ePub and PDF are both freely available to download, ensuring users can access this open access content on their devices, as well as their laptop/PC, and via institutional repositories.

After our Editorial team handed the project over as open access, it was time to organise a cover. We asked the general public, via Twitter, to help us choose a jacket for The Academic Book of the Future by casting their vote. Six different options were supplied and it was a close call between option F, and option D, with F being the overall winner. 


We received such a fantastic response – thanks to all those who voted! After a couple of mock-ups, we’re really pleased with the final jacket of the Palgrave Pivot!

In early October, Bex received the typeset proofs for the book and prelims. Our standard Palgrave Pivot schedule dictates that editors and authors only receive one round of proofs before the book is published; thus meaning that this was an extremely important part of the process because the editors needed to ensure all corrections were picked up first time round and collated efficiently to ensure no mistakes. Editors, contributors, and members of staff involved in the project from Palgrave Macmillan read through the proofs, and all corrections were collated and sent back to our Production team within a very short time period of 7 days.

 Although the proofs are now back with the production team, there is a lot more still to do….

Check in with us next week to hear about the latest developments! 

2 weeks to go...

In our last blog post, Bex collated the amendments that needed to be implemented to the proofs and the prelims and sent these back to our Production team. Since then, a lot of odds and ends have needed to be tied up.

Firstly, Bex put the index together and made a few tweaks to include additional terms, ensuring that the index will be a useful resource for our readers. The index was then typeset within 3 days and sent back to Bex who made one final amendment before the index was finalised.

Whilst implementing the changes to the index, the Production team found that key words couldn’t be added to the abstract for Chapter One, since the copy was too long. Last minute changes were once again made quickly to ensure that we stuck to our extremely tight schedule!

Additionally, we received the full cover proofs through and marked up a couple of changes in regards to the layout on the spine of the jacket and the wording on the back cover. 


Our changes were submitted at the end of October, and we are now waiting for the final front and back design to be sent through, which the lovely Vidhya is now working on!


We’re now preparing for The Academic Book of the Future Awards Ceremony on Friday 13th November.

When we initially put plans in place for our Palgrave Pivot, this date seemed a long way off. It’s quickly come around, and the Palgrave Macmillan team, along with Bex, are now working on our presentation for the awards ceremony as we share our involvement in The Academic Book of the Future Project. 

1 week to go...

We’re only a couple of days away from the start of Academic Book Week, and exactly one week away from The Academic Book of the Future Showcase at The British Library.

So it all came together for the last leg of production at the beginning of the week. There was some last minute confusion about the title of chapter 3 with questions raised in regards to whether hyphens were needed since the original handover documents and prelim proofs differed, one with hyphens and one without. We wanted to confirm that the author had approved the change and had removed the hyphens in “practice as research,” but we couldn’t get in touch with her. The editors asked to change it back to “practice-as-research,” but in the end, it turned out the hyphens were removed to make the title consistent with the body of the chapter – and the author was able to get back to us eventually and approved this decision.

After quite a bit of back and forth, we received all of the final files (including the amended jacket) on Wednesday 4th November, and after one final check, it was time to send the files to the printer. Finally!

Although the files have now been handed over, there are a few last things the Production team are now looking after. For example, the final files will need to be uploaded to CoreSource and we’ll be asking the eBook Support team to begin their work distributing the title to vendors, ready for the release. Since the title is open access under a CC-BY Licence, once released the title will be free to download on Palgrave Connect, Google Books, Nook, Amazon and Ebooks.com. Our printers, Lightning Source, have confirmed that the order is going through tonight (Friday 6th of November) and shall print on Wednesday morning. We are all extremely excited to see the finished Palgrave Pivot, adrenaline is high, and the countdown to Academic Book Week is nearly upon us!

We hope everyone has a great Academic Book Week, keep up to date with the latest events here, and make sure you join the conversation on Twitter #AcBookWeek @AcBookFuture

1 day to go...

With 1 day until The Academic Book of the Future showcase, we've had a delivery to the Palgrave Macmillan office, what could it be!?

The Awards Evening

To round off the week, The Academic Book of the Future Project Showcase was held at The British Library, where we launched our Palgrave Pivot, The Academic Book of the Future, with chapters from booksellers, librarians, academics and publishers (including a chapter about Palgrave Pivot written by us). We signed the book in the summer and since then it's been "all hands on deck" to get it published in time for the event.

We received our copies from the printer just the day before the event at The British Library - we were on tenterhooks!

The book is published as open access under a creative commons (CC-BY) license. But a limited edition hard copy was printed in a special run by Lightning Source, allowing all those gathered for the showcase to have a copy to take away with them. As you can see, the Palgrave Macmillan team were very happy with their copies! 


It was a fantastic evening and a chance for us to all get together celebrate the enormous success of Academic Book Week, especially our own Jen McCall and Bex Lyons (below) who have been involved in the Palgrave Pivot project since the beginning!


Many thanks go to Samantha Rayner and Bex Lyons who have been an absolute pleasure to work with. Their enthusiasm and energy is contagious and I hope we continue to find ways of collaborating on the project in the coming months.

The Palgrave Pivot, The Academic Book of the Future, sits alongside Palgrave’s cluster of humanities related titles, published as part of our Campaign of the Humanities; books such as How to Build a Life in the Humanities and The Humanities, Higher Education and Academic Freedom are squarely aimed at exploring themes relevant to and concerns of those working in the humanities sector of higher education.