Author Agreement FAQs

Clause 1.4 (Delivery Date)

  1. The delivery date normally replicates what the author stated in the Proposal Form. Since our subject matter is medieval studies and not cancer research, slippage in the delivery date is normally not critical due to research quickly becoming out of date and redundant. If the author believes that they will miss the deadline by more than a couple of months, they should inform the Commissioning Editor.
  2. Production of books is based on six-month cycles that derive from seasonal catalogues that marketing departments are required to provide for agents, booksellers, and distributors. In other words, these cycles are outside the individual publisher’s control. That means that there is a cut-off date by which a final manuscript has to be delivered, in order for a book to be published in a catalogue period. For instance, a book to appear in Spring 2019 (that is, the publication period January-June 2019) may have to be submitted by January 2018 in order to meet that catalogue deadline. Pre-press and printing may be turned around in 6-9 months, but the marketing lead-time is far longer.

Clause 1.5 (Images and Line Art)

  1. Our normal policy is to allow unlimited black-and-white images, tables, graphs, and maps (the latter three known generically as “line art”), provided that
    1. all permissions have been granted in writing and paid for by the author
    2. full captions and permission statements are provided in a List of Illustrations
    3. call-outs, that is markers in the text, indicate precisely where an image or piece of line art is to be placed by a typesetter; and
    4. all images are provided to the publisher in one complete batch, digitally, and of publishable standard.
  2. We do not have in-house cartographers, lithographers, or other staff to manipulate or improve images. There is no regular budget for such work, so if external assistance is required the cost will get passed to the author. To avoid this, please either ensure that all images are supplied in publishable state and get special agreement in the Proposal Form and the budgeting stage (prior to contracting), or liaise with the Commissioning Editor if a problem occurs later.

Clause 2 (Special Responsibilities for Collections of Essays)

  1. Clauses 2.1 and 2.2 apply principally to collections of essays. Each contributor to such a collection is required to sign a Permission to Publish Consent form, which the author will circulate and collect from each of the volume’s contributors. This form gives explicit permission to the publisher to publish this material, and indemnifies the author/editor and publisher in case the contributor commits libel or plagiarism or suchlike. In return for this, the contributor is given certain rights, including a watermarked PDF of the entire volume, for private use only, and a watermarked PDF of their article that they can make available as Green Open Access–that is, on an institutional repository or academia.edu. See also paragraph 2 under Clause 17 below.

Clause 3.1 (Peer Reviewing)

  1. Our policy is to offer our authors contracts based on the Proposal Form, an evaluation by an independent Editorial Board, and whatever supplementary materials the Board wishes to see. This has advantages to the publisher in being able to plan ahead, but also to the author in that they know who their publisher will be and can get advice from the Board or Commissioning Editor while completing the work.
  2. Even though already under contract, the work will go through peer reviewing, normally by two scholars: one selected by the Editorial Board, and one selected by the publisher. The author is allowed in the Proposal Form to indicate major scholars in their field and scholars to be avoided, and these will be taken into consideration.
  3. If the initial evaluation process has been thorough, the peer-review should be a positive step, offering advice and additional input from major scholar(s) in the field. This can help prevent adverse comments later in reviews.
  4. If the peer-review is sufficiently negative that the criticisms cannot be repaired, in the view of the Board and/or publisher, this clause allows the publisher to rescind the contract. Also, the independent Editorial Board itself has the right to refuse to sign-off a book for publication.

Clause 3.4 (Indexing)

  1. We do not provide for indexing. However, the publisher has a list of indexers who can be hired for this purpose by the author, at the author’s expense. The fee is to be negotiated between the author and indexer and obviously depends on the size of the manuscript, complexity of the material and index. But typically the fee is in the range of $500 to $1000.

Clause 4.1 (Checking Proofs)

  1. Authors submit a series of versions of the material:
    1. The final manuscript prior to peer reviewing
    2. The definitive manuscript after peer reviewing (defined in clause 3), that is, in a form that the author considers to be publishable precisely as it stands
    3. The manuscript for copyediting, incorporating the technical changes required by the gatekeeper’s report

As author you are given two opportunities to check proofs.

  1. The first occasion for correcting the submitted manuscript above is the “copyedited, templated proofs.” Any textual changes or additions or changes must be made here–they cannot be made later. This phase of work, the “copyediting stage,” provides opportunity for the author to liaise direct with the copyeditor to get the text ready for publication. This phase can take a couple of months.
  2. The second occasion is checking the “typeset printer’s proofs.” As the name implies, these are files ready for printing, prepared by the typesetter. This phase can take a few days and is an automatic conversion of the “templated files” into the print-ready software, the incorporation of the images, and setting the definitive pagination. Substantive changes are at this point not allowed to the text; correcting typos or factual errors may be made. Failure to abide by this may lead to costs being charged to authors since significant changes lead to sizeable costs for the publisher and jeopardizes the printing timetable just when everything has been lined up.

Clauses 5 to 9 (Copyright Protection, Permission to Publish, Intellectual Property, Fair Use, Publisher’s Services)

  1. These clauses represent the heart of the contract. They should be read as counterbalancing rights and responsibilities, and we take pride in this balance:
    1. Clause 5.3: The author grants rights to the publisher, particularly potential rights to publish the material in various media and forms
    2. Clause 7.2: The publisher specifies exactly which of these potential rights are to be exploited under this particular contract; which means that any of the potential rights not named here (such as making a blockbuster movie) would have to be the subject of a separate, later agreement, and as an additional clause in a supplementary new Schedule. In other words, the publisher cannot undertake the exploitation of any of the potential rights not listed in clause 7.2 without written permission of the author
    3. Clauses 8.1 to 8.3: Balancing these so-called “exploitation rights,” the publisher acknowledge and recognizes the Intellectual Property and the “moral rights” of the author. The publisher undertakes to register the copyright of the work with the US Copyright Office in order to protect the author and publisher against misuse of the published material
    4. Clause 9.1: Similarly, the contract makes explicit the rights that are not transferred by the author to the publisher, for which use, therefore, no permission needs to be sought by the author. This is a lengthy list and covers what in the US is commonly known as “fair use”
  2. Conversely, the publisher undertakes to supply various services that are beneficial to authors:
    1. Clause 6.1 (and also 7.6): pre-press work to improve the content and appearance of the material supplied
    2. Clause 6.3: global promotion and supply of the book
    3. Clause 6.4: perpetual access to the digital versions of the book, to ensure that anything placed on the internet does not become inaccessible to later generations as software changes or user requirements adapt
    4. Clause 7.1: payment of all production costs

Clauses 10 and 13 (Freedoms under Intellectual Property, Not Damaging the Publisher’s Interests)

  1. The key consideration for authors is the distinction between their intellectual property (“IP”) which can be expressed in myriad ways and cannot be limited (by this or any other contract) and a particular iteration of this IP (i.e., a particular string of words) of which the right to publish has been granted to a publisher.
    Taking an example: you have published a book with us on the Fourth Crusade; you now want to publish another book on the Fourth Crusade but with a different publisher:
    … there is no problem in this, provided that this new “string of words” is not identical with what you published with us, and you are not damaging our ability to recoup what we invested in your earlier book
  2. The fact that you may have made material available on an institutional repository (including a doctoral thesis) does not prevent you making a substantially rewritten and revised version for publication; whether the publisher considers the free access to the earlier material constricts their ability to recoup their possible spending is another question
  3. Clause 10 protects the publisher against litigation for publishing libelous or plagiarized material. If in doubt, the publisher can advise about specific cases.
    1. Rights over images and suchlike can be a minefield; so we require written permissions for images that you wish us to publish
  4. Clause 13 stipulates that, while the publisher makes no restriction on what other works the author may produce, the author should not publish anything that could damage the ability of the publisher to recoup the spending on your book (see the services listed under paragraph 2 under Clauses 5-9 above).
  5. Clause 13.2: see also paragraph 2 under Clause 15 below. The so-called “post-publication Version of Record” is available as Green Open Access on the author’s institutional repository, academia.edu, and similar sites. This allows scholarly exchange with colleagues and students, in the style of “off-prints.” The intention is not that this version will be distributed in ways that may be seen as commercially competitive with the printed book. After any applicable embargo period (typically 24 months) even the latter restriction does not apply.

Clauses 11 and 12 (Recompense)

  1. Clause 11.1: In return for the author granting the publisher the right to publish the material in the ways defined in clause 7.2, the publisher compensates the author, conventionally through royalties.
  2. Clause 11.7: Our authors and contributors are entitled to a password to allow discounted purchases of our books through our Online Bookstore.
  3. Our royalties make no payment for copies below our breakeven figure. The logic is manifold:
    1. that if we did, this would make the financial budget more negative and we could not publish the work
    2. with typical print-runs of 150-200 copies of scholarly publications, the royalties would, in any case, be tiny; they are liable to tax or withholding tax, are often liable to international bank transfers where the banks take a princely deduction, and the eventual earnings are to be counted in pennies
    3. our books are academic publications and are almost exclusively published by scholarly researchers at institutions of higher education or public bodies; their salaries are paid by their institutions and the fruits of their research is, in some sense, the property of the institution or the funding agency
    4. the main reward for a scholar is to have a well-reviewed book which is well received by their peers, and material for a periodic national research assessment or institutional evaluation; and this can be used in promotions, which in themselves would generate thousands of dollars over a lifetime

    However, once the project has reached breakeven and there are “surpluses,” royalties kick on so that the author is rewarded too.
    Royalties are payable for each type of product, as specified in clause 11.1.

  4. Publishers and other bodies pay authors for so-called “subsidiary (or secondary) rights.” For instance, a textbook publisher might want to incorporate an article or chapter in an anthology. The publisher will negotiate a fee for this, using their knowledge of the current fees payable, and will share such fees 50:50 with the author.

Clause 15 (Subsidies and Open Access Options)

  1. Clause 15.1: We attempt to publish all books without any recourse to subventions. However, as printruns reduce over time, the budgets available reduce. This means that many services (rewriting text, indexing, dealing with rights agencies for use of images, paying for image rights) cannot be afforded in the standard package for authors. In exceptional circumstances we may ask for a subvention, assuming that this can be gained from an institution (e.g., the author’s university, or a funding agency).
  2. Clause 15.2: We recognize that 90-95% of the investment in making the material publishable has been funded through the author’s institution or a research granting agency (and this is, normally, from public funds and we recognize the demands from governments and others to make the outputs from publicly funded research freely available to taxpayers and others). To this end, all our publications are available as Green Open Access and can be made available on a university repository, an individual’s academia.edu page, or similar sites. The author is entitled to post two different documents:
    1. The “Final Manuscript” version (see definition in paragraph 1 under Clause 4.1 above), at any time
    2. The “post-publication Version of Record” which is a watermarked PDF of the published material, supplied by the publisher.
  3. Clause 15.3 (when it applies): We are fully Open Access compliant, using the ScholarWorks site at Western Michigan University, which is supported by a major Berkeley-based infrastructure. If authors wish to make their material available as Delayed or Gold Open Access, they should notify us, ideally in the Proposal Form so that the budget and financial parameters can be adjusted accordingly. For Gold OA or OA delayed by less than 24 months (that is, becoming freely accessible less than 24 months after publication) a fee is normally required, to compensate for lost earnings by the publisher.
  4. We are open to OA agreements for almost all our works. One possible exception may be reference works with a very long sales period. Odd OA articles in collections of essays or journals need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. For all such OA agreements the Creative Commons License CC BY-NC normally applies.

Clause 17 (Free Copies)

  1. This author agreement is solely an agreement between the publisher and the author stated at the head of the document. The “author” is a contracting party and may be one or more individuals or even an entity. The number of free copies is 5-6 copies, as standard – five for a single author, three each if there are two authors, two each if there are three authors, and so forth. This allocation does not include quotas for editorial boards, peer-reviewers, contributors, libraries or museums who may have granted rights in lieu of cash payment, and journal reviewers.
  2. Clause 17.2: in the case of collections of essays the volume editors (i.e., the author, in the terminology of this agreement) distribute, on behalf of the publisher, the “Permission to Publish” forms so that each contributor signs and consents to the document. The author (that is, the volume editor) collates them and sends on to the publisher. This is for the sake of efficiency, since the editors are in contact with the contributors, know their latest contact details and whereabouts, and respond most quickly to this approach. This step is done when the “Definitive Manuscript” has been approved by the gatekeeper as being ready for copyediting (that is, the point when the publisher starts pre-press work).
    1. Contributors to journals or collections do not receive a physical copy of the book but digital versions that can be used for sharing with colleagues and their students (akin to the old “offprint” system); see paragraph 2 under Clause 15 above)
  3. Clause 17.3: Editorial boards typically receive six copies; five copies are given to various bodies (such as the Library of Congress and Copyright Clearance Center), as required by law; a dozen copies are allocated for journals for review, bibliographies, or citation indexes.
  4. The standard print-run by academic publishers today is 200. We allow up to 25 copies to be allocated for “free copies” in the ways stipulated above. If you add the allocations to authors, Boards, copyright copies, review copies this allocation is already filled. So any special requests (e.g., libraries or museums requiring a free copy; copies for additional journal reviewers) have to be treated as highly exceptional. Otherwise, they cut into the available print-run for sale, to allow the publisher to recoup their spending.

Clause 18 (Access in Perpetuity and Remaining in Print)

  1. All our book publications are produced digitally, allowing us to print copies simultaneously in North America and Europe, and potentially simultaneously in Australasia and Singapore. After the initial print-run, typically 200, spread over the various continents, short-run print-runs of 50 copies can supplement the stock in any warehouse. Eventually, the short-run print-runs can be as low as five or two, since our warehouses have tie-ins with printers to allow “automatic stock replenishment” when stock goes under an agreed level.