Michigan Publishing (including University of Michigan Press)

Peer review procedure

The University of Michigan Press subjects all proposed scholarly and academic books to a rigorous review process. The complete manuscript is sent to at least two senior scholars who are authorities in the field, and who are asked to write a fairly lengthy assessment of the work, beginning with explicit reference to the purpose, the scholarly soundness, the originality, and the clarity of the manuscript. They are asked to further comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript, in general, and to suggest ways to improve the manuscript as a whole, or in specific segments. We ask them to comment on the intended or likely audience for the book, potential courses that might assign the text, and to compare the text to other books in the field. Finally, we request an overall assessment of the contribution of the manuscript to its discipline, and to make a recommendation that we either publish the work-with or without mandatory or optional modifications-or reject it outright. In general, it is expected that the reviewers, whatever their personal methodological, disciplinary or ideological convictions, will be able to fairly and objectively judge the scholarly and academic contributions of a wide range of projects to a field of inquiry.

If both reviews are positive, or conditionally positive, they are sent anonymously (though the reviewers are given the option of revealing their identity) to the author to respond to any suggested modifications of the text before the project is submitted to the press’s faculty executive board for a final decision. Two negative reports almost always produce immediate rejection of the project, while a divided opinion on the part of the reviewers may lead to either asking the author to try to address the problems raised by the negative review (and then resubmitting the revised ms. to the negative reviewer), or sending the project to yet a third reviewer as tie-breaker. As important as the reviewers’ opinions are for the press’s decision as to whether or not to publish the proposed project, their specific critique and suggestions are often equally important in providing editorial guidance through the process of revising the manuscript.