Publishing Policy

ECH Publishing: Submitting to a Journal

What makes a good journal article? First, it must stand on its own. It may be a version of a chapter of a PhD dissertation, but it has to be self-contained. Second, it ought to have a strong and distinctive argument. The standard way to demonstrate this is by reference to the historiography – but it’s not enough (or even, really, at all persuasive) to say that your subject has been ‘neglected’ by the historiography. Some subjects are neglected for a good reason – they’re not interesting or important. You need to show how the historiography will look different by including your paper – what arguments are called into question, what new light is cast on bigger subjects, what new subjects are being developed that command attention. Sometimes people publish articles that give the overarching argument of a PhD thesis; sometimes they pick the richest or most provocative argument (perhaps from a single chapter). Third, you ought to be able to provide convincing evidence in support of your arguments. This isn’t easy within the scope of an article – which ought probably to be 8-10,000 words; it’s a real skill to learn how to select evidence that will fit within these limits and still carry conviction. How do you decide which journal to submit to? (You must only submit the same paper to one at a time.) The best course is to ask yourself which journals have published papers in your field that you have admired, or papers with which you have disagreed and would like to engage. Go for the highest-quality journal that fits this description – the one that publishes the work you consider to be the best in your field. If your work is accepted by that journal, people like you will also recognise it as standing with the best in your field. If you don’t succeed with the first submission, try the next journal down the pecking-order. This is likely to be a more specialised journal. Before you submit your paper, check your chosen journal’s website for their advice to contributors – how to format a submission, how to send it in. It’s polite to format the paper to suit the journal’s house-style; if they have an unusual style, very different from other journals, you can format it in a generic style so that you don’t have to keep re-formatting every time you submit to a new journal. For more details on what happens after your paper has been accepted, see publishing in a journal.

 

 

John Sabapathy writes about his Whitfield prize-winning book ‘Officers and Accountability in Medieval England’

John Sabapathy is a Lecturer in Medieval History at UCL who works on the comparative history of Europe/Christendom in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. His monograph Officers and Accountability in Medieval England, 1170-1300, a study of English officers in an European context, has been awarded the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize for 2015. Here he reflects on his reasons for writing the book, its contemporary context and what further agendas it might help open out for historians.


Exchequer_manuscript

Exchequer of Pleas

Historians often feel a proper professional nausea at the first person singular, but some contextualization may at least justify itself by describing how the medieval concerns of my book Officers and Accountability in Medieval England resonate today, as well as suggesting some historiographical ways forward. The book’s main argument is that the late twelfth to thirteen centuries was a period in which a number of extremely creative, practical ways were developed to control the insolence of the growing number of officers within a range of English institutions. Auditing and accounting at the Exchequer, eyres outside it; inquisitions by and into prelates; elaborate writs of account for investigating the doings and conduct of seignorial bailiffs; scrutinies of wardens and fellows within colleges: all these practices were greatly elaborated, though not necessarily invented, during this period. As that implies, however, those officers were not only ‘state’ ones. Historians have thought about the development of administrative control with too great a fixation on The State and the book argues for the importance of experimentation by towns, churches, universities and on lords’ estates too. Much of it focuses on these practices, but it is also interested in medieval reflection on them and so throughout I tried to explore the tension between the prescriptiveness of formal ways of holding to account and the wider licence of giving someone responsibilities.

In documenting and exploring this there were perhaps three large things that the book tried to do: show that accountability can be sensibly thought about for pre-modern Europe; that even if sensible such ‘accountability’ was not at all straightforward; and finally that administrative or institutional history could be a lot more interesting than its ostensible reputation has sometimes implied.

Officers and AccountabilityMy thinking about what medieval accountability could secure and what it could not and how had its own history. Although – I hope – the book is not a prisoner of its present, its agendas were undeniably informed by a pre-academic professional life in the late nineties and early noughties when I worked on corporate accountability inside various think tanks with companies, NGOs, governmental departments, and large philanthropic funders. Before the financial crisis of 2007-9 an interesting moment passed in which those groups tried to work out whether it was possible to make companies more accountable and sustainable (environmentally speaking) while, perhaps, making them stronger as companies by so doing. (The conclusion today seems more pessimistic.) It was a broad church. On one side Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s former head of strategy at Downing Street, was then the far less well-known founder of a small consultancy called Good Business. Elsewhere groups like the New Economics Foundation (where I worked for several years) tried to redefine what growth, progress and economics should mean.

There were various interesting tensions in such work on (modern, corporate) accountability. The tension between impulses to call for legislation to make companies more ‘accountable’ versus the desire for groups to assume voluntarily some degree of ‘responsibility’; the desire for these mechanisms to produce some sort of virtuous circle of social and economic reward for companies versus a suspicion that it could not be so; the desire to ‘marketize’ these responsible, environmental aspects of corporate performance versus evidence against the existence of viable markets within existing regulatory frameworks. And so on.

Throughout all these tensions however a deep lack of clarity seemed to run through most thinking about what on earth ‘accountability’ actually was. The clearest view came from the most critical anti-corporate groups, but they were also the crudest. Few seemed to have very good ways of recognizing how calls for (more) accountability worked, who they served, who it was they actually served and whether they had much to do with ‘accountability’ per se at all. ‘Who, whom?’, in the question attributed to Lenin, could have been more frequently asked. The complexity of what was going on was tremendous. Small, sometimes beleaguered, groups within companies tried to use arguments in favour of sustainability to strengthen themselves. Non-corporate groups used the credibility of working with such companies to leverage their wider standing with other funders and in the media. Yet any sociology of what was actually going on was pretty thin, and so the political activities more or less frustrated or frustrating. The result was that accountability was over-hyped, undernourished, and ultimately undernourishing. It was this dissatisfaction with a modern conversation about ‘accountability’ that ultimately led to my exploration of this modern mentality in relation to medieval officers.

Jinty Nelson

Jinty Nelson

Here I wanted to try and see whether one could inject a political and intellectual sensibility into administrative historiography and add in a way to the work of better historians who seemed to do that at the highest levels – Michael Clanchy, J. E. A. Jolliffe, J. C. Holt and most recently Tom Bisson, to name a few. The book itself was a very ‘London’ one. There I might invidiously single out three historians who shaped the book’s purposes fundamentally: Jinty Nelson (who had taught me), Michael Clanchy, and Susan Reynolds who I got to know at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR). I had found Michael’s work on the power of administration and legal practice enormously inspiring and provocative. I had been very struck similarly by Susan’s concentration on what a colleague calls common politics, and while I thought intellectuals had an important role in this particular history they were not its sole actors. I had also been very influenced by Jinty’s idea of ‘political thinking’, and took this to be a way of thinking about issues addressed in the Cambridge Histories of Political Thought but using sources that largely did not figure in them – in this case mostly administrative. By example they also all encouraged me to avoid an insular approach to this English material. To speak in terms of London institutions, one might say the book was written with a Warburg Institute sensibility using sources of a type generally held by the IHR.

This says something about what the book sought to do and why the topic seemed important. That importance does not seem to have diminished on two counts that suggest further ways forward.

Bartolo-di-Fredi A-Papal-Saint-Saint-Gregory-the-Great-1380

Gregory the Great

First, unsurprisingly, the problematic nature of ‘accountability’ has not gone away. Most public debate talks about it in the most diffuse and unhelpful of ways. Accountability is treated as a species of, or synonym for, justice, when it is a much more limited and complicated political good. Yet, as Gregory the Great knew even Satan has his court holding demons to account for how much wrong they have helped with. What sort of a ‘good’ is Satan’s accountability? We continue, then, to need more, better readings of accountability in all sorts of different places and periods to help us understand the particular nature, potential limits, and fantasies within those forms that we have created, invoked, and presumed upon.

Second, such fuzziness about this concept and its often lazy invocation is a symptom of our wider limitations in explaining institutionalization historically and generally. In the Middle Ages an enormous range of organizations and practices structured life at all sorts of levels, from churches, to parliaments to rituals of homage. Contemporary life is arguably even more institutionally structured, although, being committed individualists, we do not like to think so. Put simply, we need better institutional histories of ourselves. There is some reason for optimism here. The book suggests that, at least in medieval historiography, a new administrative history is taking shape   – one that has learnt its interdisciplinary lessons from later twentieth century historiography and is able to think about the interplay of individuals, organizational forms and institutional practices more convincingly than before. It would be good to think that this is a way of thinking historiographically that specialists of different periods can learn from each other about. Certainly there are striking recent ‘big’ examples of early medieval, early modern and modern institutional histories. If historians can show more clearly how this interplay has both constrained and enabled humans historically then we will understand our past and ourselves better, which is all anyone can ask of historians in any case.

Go to Whitfield Prize

Go to RHS News


 

 

Andrew Arsan on being joint winner of the 2015 Gladstone book prize

Andrew Arsan is joint winner of the 2015 Gladstone Prize for his book Interlopers of Empire: The Lebanese Diaspora in Colonial French West Africa (Hurst, 2014). Here he reflects on the importance of the prize not just in terms of its personal significance, but also for its timely recognition of historians of the Middle East. Andrew Arsan is Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History at St John’s College, Cambridge.


Interlopers of Empire

Seamus Heaney once spoke of the essays in self-presentation at which his American students excelled – a little doubt carefully sprinkled around the edges, a grace note or two of tasteful self-deprecation, but also an ability to plot the course of one’s life like a javelin travelling true through the air. I imagine we’ve all seen pieces like this, virtuoso compositions that set out to dazzle with the rapid fire reeling-off of accomplishments, and that treat past experience with all the blithe assurance and clarity of youth, as though each event was pregnant with meaning and each moment carried within it the portent of future achievement. It’d be easy – perhaps too easy – to lapse into this autobiographical mode and to claim for my younger self desires and drives he did not possess, to insist that I’d always intended to become a historian, to take on the subjects I have, to write the book I did. Easy, too, would be the obverse course of action: to claim that all was serendipity and contingency, and that I simply came upon this particular path by accident while wandering the blind alleys and byways of early adulthood. But I’m not sure that either account would be quite satisfactory. While one is all over-determination, weighed down and rendered awkward by the teleological freight I was taught to discard as an undergraduate, the other is simply too facile in its resistance to self-examination and analysis. More importantly, both make the grievous mistake of assuming that others will share one’s own fascination with one’s past. So rather than dwelling on what led me to become a historian of Lebanon and the Lebanese diaspora, of the Middle East and its formative entanglements with the world beyond, and to write Interlopers of Empire, a work that attempts to reconstruct the intimate moments and individual trajectories of Eastern Mediterranean migrants to colonial West Africa, I’ll attempt here to articulate what it means to me to have won the Gladstone Prize.

Lucie Ryzova

Lucie Ryzova

I’m proud, it goes without saying, to have been awarded this prize – and equally proud to have shared it with Lucie Ryzova, a brilliant and profoundly innovative historian of modern Egypt whose work on the self-fashioning of the effendiyya will shape discussion of these creatures of modernity for years to come. But I regard this not as a personal achievement, but as a symptom of a broader change in our profession. It would have been difficult even a few short years ago to imagine a prize of this stature being awarded to one historian of the Middle East, let alone two. But here we are, and the fact that Lucie and I share this year’s prize is not just a sign of the judges’ perspicacity, but also a reminder of how far Middle Eastern history has come in this country. The last few years have witnessed a spate of appointments in this field, as young scholars – Lucie and her colleague Simon Jackson at Birmingham, Jacob Norris and Hilary Kalmbach at Sussex, Benjamin White at Glasgow, my colleague Helen Pfeifer at Cambridge, and others – have taken up newly formed lectureships. Attentive at once to the specific demands and particular trajectories of regional history and to the broader currents of historical debate, these scholars are as willing to set the Middle East in a broader context as they are to treat it on its own terms. All, too, share a determination to prise the region from the gloomy narratives in which it is so often encased without, however, shying away from the difficulties and complexities of the Middle Eastern past.

In their different ways, then, these scholars are producing useable histories – useable not in their crude instrumentality and their subjection to the demands of the present, but in their willingness to provide narratives that surprise and enlighten even as they discomfit, that remind us of forgotten pasts and alternative futures even as they help us to understand the region’s halting progress towards the broken present. Whatever my reasons for writing Interlopers of Empire, I’m glad that I wrote it when I did. It’s a good time to be a historian of the Middle East – and never, perhaps, have our voices been needed more.

Go to RHS News

 

 

 

 

ECH Publishing: Research Excellence Framework (the REF)

If you are a UK scholar, or seeking employment in the UK, you will need to pay some minimal attention to the REF (the Research Excellence Framework, the current name for the periodic assessment of academic research undertaken by the UK funding bodies). The rules of the REF change from cycle to cycle, but the bottom line is: if you are publishing high-quality research with reasonable regularity, then you are doing all you need to be doing, so far as the publication portion of the REF is concerned. All publishing formats are eligible for submission to the REF. It does not matter whether your research appears in a journal (still less a ‘highly-rated’ journal) or in a collection of essays or in a monograph or online. When your research is assessed by the REF panel, it will be read in full by an assessor, who will make a judgement based on what is read, not where it appeared. (You will be told otherwise – perhaps by managers, or scholars in other fields, where practices differ – but the truth is that all history publications submitted to the REF are read by assessors and judged on that basis alone). Therefore, all that matters is the quality of what you produce. We are not always the best judges of the quality of our own work. So peer-review is a helpful guide to the REF outcome (which is simply peer-review itself). That is why submitting to a ‘highly-rated’ journal is a good idea – because your work will get searching peer review and acceptance in a competition is itself an indicator of quality. But a first-rate chapter in a book will still get equal treatment by the REF panel. As we say above in the section on book chapters, peer review tends not to be so rigorous for collections of essays. In addition, editors of collections often try to pack too many items into a single book – to please more colleagues! – and so you may be confined to 6-8,000 words whereas a journal article may run to 8-10,000 words; and you are likely to be able to say more, to demonstrate more rigour, significance and originality in a journal article, than in a short book chapter. This is also the reason why books tend to do better in the REF – not because they are favoured on principle, but because historians tend to put their best work into their books, at the length needed to demonstrate the depth of the research and the validity of the argument.

 

ECH Publishing: Other Formats

A very large majority of the work published by historians appears in one of these three formats – journal articles, chapters in books, books. These formats allow for the evidence intensive and subject-extensive treatment that history favours. But there are lots of other ways to publish, especially online, and these alternative formats tend to cater to other needs than the simple presentation of research. Some early-career scholars find that their first published words take the form of book reviews. Journals receive lots of miscellaneous books for review and are often delighted to find someone – anyone – who knows enough about the subject to review them. There is a case to be made for only reviewing books after you’ve written one yourself – an experience that imposes a proper degree of modesty. (It also shows that, minimally, you know what you’re talking about.) If you don’t have a track record, be extra careful not to raise unrealistic expectations or to be too territorial. Normally you should be given the chance to proofread the book review. And of course you get ‘payment’ in the form of the book. Forums and roundtables are increasingly popular formats in journals and on blogs. They are excellent formats for stimulating discussion (of controversial issues or influential books) and for broadening the range of voices. They’re normally by invitation only. But you can be the host, if you can find a journal editor willing to entrust you with the task of putting together a forum. Often roundtables in print originate as live roundtables at conferences. They are chattier, usually shorter than full-size journal articles (say 3-4 contributions of 1-4,000 words each?), and don’t require the full scholarly apparatus, as they tend to be more argumentative and less loaded with evidence.

Online formats

Some traditional publications (like book reviews) now often appear in online-only formats. There is no reason why you cannot include them in your C.V., just as you might print book reviews. But be conservative. If there is really no difference between the online version and its print equivalent – if you were commissioned by a reputable book review site, and you submitted a full-length review with a stable URL – then surely it’s the functional equivalent of the print version. But if it’s just a blog post, or some other more casual form of contribution, without apparatus, un-peer reviewed, it really has no place on your list of publications; it will just look like padding. A c.v. is an accounting of your scholarly qualifications, not an advertisement.

 

 

ECH Publishing: After Publication

Unlike with journal articles, you are almost guaranteed to get some feedback, at least within the first year, in the form of book reviews. Your publisher will ask you for a list of journals that are relevant to your book – you’re entitled to give them a reasonably long list, though make sure that they really are relevant and do publish book reviews. Include online book review sites. You’re entitled to check up to ensure that the publishers have sent copies of your book to at least a healthy selection of the journals that you have specified. Most book reviews are pretty anodyne. They’ll tell the reader what the book is about and give it a general recommendation. Sometimes they’ll be more, or less, enthusiastic. You may well feel that some reviewers have been unfair, perhaps protecting their turf or their own interpretation. That’s the luck of the draw. You have to hope that across the spread of reviews you get justice. It is almost never a good idea to write to a negative reviewer (or to the journal) to claim a right-to-reply. There is no such thing, unless you can prove malice, in which case you ought to be in court. The economics of book publishing are not changing as fast as they might. Most academic monographs are now selling under 400 copies each. They will sit in a limited number of libraries, where they will not be read by many (if any) people. This is partly because a lot of monographs are being produced more for hiring and promotion purposes than out of intellectual necessity, and partly because monographs are the part of the publishing landscape least accessible to online users. It may be that the spread of e-books and the development of open-access options for monographs (still only in their infancy) may address this latter deficiency. Regardless, you can take heart from the knowledge that, as with journal articles, their shelflife is very long indeed. If anything you write is still read at all 100 years from now, it’s likely to be a book.

 

 

ECH – Publishing a Book (II)

If an editor has agreed to review a proposal on its own, you may get a response in a month or so, as a short proposal does not receive a lot of scrutiny from reviewers. If you have submitted a complete manuscript, six months is not unusual. It takes a long time for a peer-reviewer to find the space to give a full book manuscript the attention it deserves. If you have waited that long, however, you ought to get some decent feedback – several pages from each of 1-3 referees. Unlike journal submissions, a book manuscript won’t typically be reviewed double-blind; you won’t know the reviewers’ identities, but they will, inevitably, know yours. Like a journal submission, the editor will then either decline your manuscript, accept it outright (while encouraging you to address the referees’ comments in developing your final version), or give you the equivalent of ‘revise and resubmit’ – encourage you to go away and re- think the manuscript in light of the referees’ comments. This latter verdict is not as common as in journal submissions – it is asking a lot to get an author to rewrite a whole book. As with a journal submission, once accepted your manuscript will go through copy-editing and proofreading. A good publisher will proofread your book themselves and expect you to do it too. As with journal submissions, you have to confine your major changes to the copy-editing stage. And there’s an additional stage as well – indexing. Most first authors do their own index, at the same time as they are proofreading. There are good software packages that make this easy. Some journal articles have illustrations, and it’s the author’s job to source (and pay for permissions for) illustrations. All the publisher does is provide the technical specifications (nowadays, what kind of image file is required). This task is more onerous for books, which often have a lot of illustrations. Only the wealthier publishers will even offer to help with sourcing and paying for illustrations. There are charitable trusts that you can apply to for subsidy – ask your publisher for advice. Most books will require at least a cover illustration – again, probably your responsibility. You’ll also be asked to supply jacket copy – including the ‘blurb’ describing and touting the book – although normally publishers themselves secure endorsement blurbs from senior scholars (often by asking those who refereed your manuscript or even excerpting the report).

 

 

ECH – Publishing a Book (I)

Book publishing remains fairly traditional, not as affected by the digital revolution as journal publishing. As with journals, however, there are a range of book publishers that you can probably array in a quality sequence depending on your own experience of your own field. Generally, though, they break down into three types: i) university presses; ii) big commercial presses; iii) boutique commercial presses. The university presses tend to carry the most prestige – because they do the most thorough peer-review, and thus the most thorough quality control. Their mission is to publish academic books (and so are not under such pressure to rack up big sales or require ‘crossover’ appeal). The big commercial presses need higher sales; they’ll only be interested in an academic book if it can be dressed up with ‘crossover’ appeal, either stylistically or substantively (sex, violence, war, or some other kind of rich human interest). Boutique commercial presses have burgeoned in recent years, as more academics want to publish more books than the university presses can accommodate. They rely on the fact that they can make a small profit with modern technology by selling only 150-350 copies of an academic monograph at a high price to a small number of libraries. All of these presses still have editors who go around universities and conferences prospecting for authors. You can often meet them at book displays at conferences. Mostly, however, you will have to approach an editor yourself. The best way to do this is to ask a senior colleague or a mentor for an introduction, or at least for permission to use their name when you email an editor with a query. As with journals, the best way to choose a press is to identify which press publishes books in your field that you admire and wish to emulate. Publishers differ in their practices, but many presses will accept an initial submission in the form of a proposal. This could be a 5-20 page summary of the work, which tells the editor what the book is about, why it is new and special, what kind of research it’s based on, and something about the structure of the book (a chapter outline with abstracts of each chapter). It’s better to accompany the proposal with a sample chapter, which you’re already pretty happy with. The university presses will almost certainly require you to go through peer review on the basis of a complete manuscript. They may issue you a contract but it will include a clause reserving the right to accept or reject the final manuscript on the basis of peer review.

 

 

ECH Publishing: A Book of One’s Own

For good reasons, a book of your own – now sometimes called a ‘monograph’, although this really only means a specialist work by a single author (and so technically could apply to a journal article) – is widely seen as the gold standard of historiography. Because history is an evidence-intensive subject, and also substantively extensive – that is, it aspires to both breadth and depth – there are many intellectual projects that can only be achieved at booklength. This is why the professional qualification for academic historians – the Ph.D. – is achieved by writing a book-length dissertation, and it’s why hiring and promotion decisions are largely based on the publication of books. Books are quite like Ph.D. dissertations – they tend to range from 80-120,000 words and often cover a similar stretch of ground. Why then don’t we just publish our Ph.D. dissertations (as is the case in some disciplines and in some countries)? There are a number of reasons for this. First, the tradition has been to consider the Ph.D. dissertation the first draft of a book. It gets examined and critiqued and the author can then go away and develop or transform it. As we’ve said before, history is slow – the work matures over several iterations, with time to breathe and contemplate in between. It’s hard to teach someone how to write a book; it’s the kind of thing you learn by doing; and this takes time (so be sure to get friends, colleagues, mentors to read successive drafts of chapters, to help you make sure you’re on the right track). Second, the tendency in recent years has been to tightly control the time spent writing the Ph.D. and therefore to limit its scope. If it’s going to be published, it needs to regain the wider horizons that only extra time (and sometimes some extra words) can supply. Many book versions of Ph.D.s involve extra chapters that take on entirely new extensions of the original conception, or more comparative or methodological reflections. Increasingly, postdoctoral fellowships are designed to give early-career researchers time to convert their dissertation into a book, rather than to launch a new project already. This may mean that there is a gap of 2-6 years (or more) between completion of the Ph.D. and publication of the monograph. It’s impossible to describe the ideal type book. Sometimes they range over centuries and continents. Sometimes they are tightly focused on a micro history, especially one which affords rich sources. Some historical monographs are more like books in other disciplines – loosely-connected collections of case-studies, where the chapters read like stand-alone articles. Others are dominated by a cohesive thesis which plays itself out systematically through every page of the book. You’ll have your own tastes and ideas, probably honed further by writing the Ph.D.

 

 

ECH Publishing: Chapters in Books

Unlike the practice of many other disciplines, historians publish a lot in collections of essays – normally not all their own essays, but collections ‘from divers hands’ edited by one or two colleagues. These collections often arise from a conference on a focused topic. (Sometimes a conference can also materialise as a special issue of a journal.) Sometimes they have been put together as a Festschrift for a senior or retiring academic by their students. Sometimes they just flow from the conviction of the editor that there is a topic that a lot of people are working on independently, and which would benefit from being brought together in one package. In many respects chapters in books function just like journal articles. You’ll get asked to submit your paper to the editor, who will decide whether it does indeed fit into the theme of the volume. You may have been supplied in advance with a proposal for the volume, which sets out a minimum common programme, to which your chapter should seek to conform. Some degree of peer review will be applied. It may be that the editor has had the proposal for the volume peer-reviewed by the publisher (in which only an abstract of your chapter has been included); more rarely, the publisher will want to peer-review the whole volume, once all the manuscripts have been submitted. Once the editor and the publisher have accepted the final text, your chapter will be copy-edited and proofread much as a journal article is. When it’s published, you will probably receive one free copy of the book. But chapters in books have additional pluses – and minuses. Put plainly, standards are not so high for edited collections, so it’s easier to get into them, especially as an early-career scholar. It can be gratifying to be solicited for publication, rather than having to undergo gruelling anonymous peer-review on a competitive basis for a journal. It seems like an easy way to build a publication record from scratch. But that’s why standards are not so high – the peer-review tends to be light and non-competitive, a pretty basic minimum standard only being applied. Collections of essays tend also not to get wide readerships. They’re not (at present) much available online, and they will likely sell only 150-350 copies at very high prices to a select group of libraries. Of course, we all know chapters in books that have revolutionized our fields, and collections on specialist topics can be very innovative, even pioneering. On average, though, they’re not. So by all means be flattered by a solicitation – take the opportunity to publish – but tread carefully, and don’t make a habit of publishing exclusively through these outlets.