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The Science Of Publishing Science Books

Publishing books on or about science presents unique challenges, academic press directors say. First among these challenges, says Susan Abrams, executive editor for the natural sciences at the University of Chicago Press, is the fact "that some scientists just won't write them--it's not their style. And, of course, [finding the] time is a problem. With the state of grant support being what it is, people are spending more and more time just trying to get their work funded." Unlike scholars

Marcia Clemmitt
Publishing books on or about science presents unique challenges, academic press directors say.

First among these challenges, says Susan Abrams, executive editor for the natural sciences at the University of Chicago Press, is the fact "that some scientists just won't write them--it's not their style. And, of course, [finding the] time is a problem. With the state of grant support being what it is, people are spending more and more time just trying to get their work funded."

Unlike scholars in the humanities, who often write books, scientists gain tenure by publishing journal articles, says Rutgers University Press director Kenneth Arnold. "So if you want someone to write something, you have to go out and get the person," he says. "The scientist may not have even thought of putting the ideas in book form."

One consequence of that approach, says Columbia University Press director John Moore, is to give university...

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