Publishers and professional scientists enjoy a love-hate relationship over volumes of conference proceedings. Many researchers question whether science is well served by conference papers published as collections in journals or books. Reviewers frequently criticize proceedings books for their high prices and poor physical appearance, for a lack of rigorous editing, or for long publication delays. Some academic publishers must share this skepticism because they rarely produce books arising from meetings. On the other hand, some presses have substantial listings of symposium volumes produced for international organizations and scientific unions.

Clearly there are good and bad books of this type. The success of such a venture depends in part on how one approaches the question of whether or not to attempt publication of the papers presented at a meeting and on how the papers are handled.

Publication and the issues it raises need to be considered early in the planning of...

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