- What would this manuscript contribute to the scholarly discussion?
- How would this manuscript advance, qualify, or redirect the state of the question?
- How does the author relate what he or she has to say to what other scholars in this field are discussing?
These questions at their base depend on a prior question, namely, Why has the author written this manuscript? We ask this question first because we do not want to publish books that simply reiterate what scholars already know, on the one hand, and because we do not want to publish books written primarily for non-scholars, on the other hand. Instead, we want to publish books that add scholarly information to what is already known.
To get at the contribution to scholarship, then, we focus on the author’s idea behind the manuscript. What is new in the author’s argument, analysis, or information? How will this advance the scholarly conversation?
The job of the publisher’s editor is to decide whether this idea for a book is a good one. Only when the editor is convinced of this is an author’s proposal submitted to the Editorial Board. For those proposals endorsed by this board, a publishing agreement is issued to the author.
Every manuscript must be peer reviewed when it is completed. Yet, the peer reviewer is not making a decision about publication; that has already been made by the editorial board. Mellen wants to provide each author both editorial guidance and critical feedback until the final manuscript is completed.
Sometimes this process is ongoing as in the case of three series begun in the 1980s: Opera Reference Index, Toyko War Crimes transscripts, and Schleiermacher Translations.
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