- Overview of publishing functions
- The publishing process
OUP has been synonymous with quality in publishing since 1633. Everything we do underpins our commitment to the Press's mission of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. We are committed to delivering authoritative content to our customers, pursuing innovative ways of making content more accessible, and attracting and maintaining strong author relationships.
Smooth and successful publication relies on professional teamwork and input from all OUP functions and its authors and editors from proposal to publication. We ask our authors and editors to prepare their manuscript according to our instructions, to ensure that we maintain the high quality of our products. We have tried to make these guidelines as succinct and user-friendly as possible.
Please make frequent use of the resources provided throughout the process. Should anything be unclear or you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to contact your OUP Editor.
We look forward to working with you.
Overview of publishing functions
Once involved in a project at OUP, you can expect to have contact with three main functional groups who will support the editorial, production, and marketing aspects of producing your publication. An outline of the roles and responsibilities of each of these functions is given here. Your OUP contacts will be in touch with further information at the appropriate time. Please note, therefore, that some details, activities, and quoted timeframes will vary depending on the individual needs of your title.
Within the Editorial team the aim is to help you to create the best possible work by providing guidance and support throughout the title’s lifetime at OUP and particularly during the planning and writing stage. The Editorial team is committed to continuing its responsibility for your title after its publication.
You may work with one or more members of our Editorial team. Each person’s role will be explained to you as appropriate. For brevity within these guidelines we refer to ‘OUP Editor’; however, this may actually be more than one individual.
Content Operations and Design (production)
Once the final manuscript has been submitted and your OUP Editor is confident it is ready for production it is taken on by the Content Operations and Design team and you will be assigned to an individual Production Editor (PE). It is the PE's role to have the manuscript copy-edited and proofread, to coordinate the design of the title, including the typeface, layout, and jacket/cover, and to have the title typeset, prepared for online publication, printed, and bound. While there are several parties involved during this phase, your Production Editor will be responsible overall for your title throughout and will be your key point of contact.
Our aim within the Content Operations and Design teams is to produce titles of the highest quality and to agreed schedules, in keeping with the OUP standard, and to meet the demands of the intended market. To achieve these aims within the schedule, it is important that we have your full input and cooperation.
The Marketing department is responsible for the promotion of OUP’s products to retailers, libraries, and end-users, both nationally and internationally. Using our experience along with your input, we ensure that each product is promoted to the appropriate audiences using a mix of marketing methods chosen to maximize sales potential, including direct mail, e-marketing, advertising, conferences, solicited reviews and, where appropriate, bookseller promotions. We provide the sales team and overseas OUP branches with the information and support to sell products into their markets. From our UK office we can liaise, or put you in touch, where appropriate, with marketers in our US office who are responsible for the promotion of your title in North America.
Before you submit your script you will be asked to provide information about your work in the Author Marketing Questionnaire. This is extremely important for your title’s success, so please submit all the necessary information promptly. Promotion of your title will begin around six to nine months before the publication date. Closer to publication a member of the marketing team will contact you to develop a plan covering all aspects of your title’s promotion, as appropriate. We believe that communication with authors is vital to developing promotional plans that are best suited to individual titles.
In general, your OUP contact at any stage of the process is as illustrated here, with the exception of queries in the following areas, which should all be directed in the first instance to your OUP Editor:
- royalty payments
- clearing copyright permissions
- author/editor gratis copies.
For more information on the roles and responsibilities of the three publishing functions, see Frequently Asked Questions.
The publishing process
What follows is an overview of the process from proposal through to publication. Please be aware that:
- elements of the publishing process may vary depending on your type of title and discipline; in general, however, the main principles apply;
- activities often overlap and may not occur consecutively;
- your OUP contacts will discuss specific details with you at the relevant points and may send you additional instructions.
Stages in the process
Submitting a proposal to OUP
- New projects start in a number of different ways. If you have an idea for a book or online project please contact an appropriate Commissioning Editor; contact details can be found at http://www.oup.co.uk/contactus/academic/.
- You will be required to write a proposal, usually summarising the proposed content and analysing the market and competition. Specific instructions or a template will be supplied by the Commissioning Editor.
- Most proposals will be sent for peer review and will be discussed by an OUP Publishing Committee.
Proposal to the Delegates
- Every OUP title starts life as a proposal to the Delegates of the Press, whose approval is required for all new publishing.
- If the proposal is accepted, the author/volume editor is contracted by our Editorial department and the publishing process begins.
Defining the work and signing the contract
- Author/editor and OUP Editor agree content, presentation, and length (extent). Contract is issued.
- Author/editor finalizes a structure and plan for the work based on the agreed criteria.
- Author(s) and contributors prepare to start writing, in line with the Instructions for Authors.
- In-house plans begin for format, design, branding, pricing, marketing, and sales.
- Author(s) and contributors write content according to agreements made with OUP Editor.
- Content is prepared as per the Instructions for Authors.
- Any changes to agreed plan are discussed and agreed with OUP Editor at an early stage.
- Author/editor sources copyright permissions as required.
Manuscript content review
- Your OUP Editor will tell you if your manuscript will be reviewed (either in-house or by external peer reviewers), and if so how the process will work for your title and at what point in the process it will be carried out.
- Reviews may be done on sample material at an early stage or on a final draft manuscript when it is submitted.
- Your OUP Editor may request that sections be revised before production can begin.
- A complete and final version is submitted to OUP on time and fulfilling all terms of contractual agreement.
- Manuscript is presented according to OUP Instructions for Authors.
- The Manuscript Submission Checklist and Artwork Log are complete.
- All artwork is presented according to OUP Instructions for Authors along with captions and in-text cues.
- All permissions are cleared by this point and Permission Grants are submitted with the manuscript.
- If a professional indexer is required, a brief for the indexer is supplied with the final script.
- No further rewriting is possible after final submission.
For specific instructions on submitting, please refer to the Manuscript Submission Checklist, which is available from your editor.
Post-submission manuscript assessment and preparation for production
- Manuscript is assessed by OUP Editor to ensure that it is complete and matches our contractual agreements.
- All artwork is checked for quality and usability.
- Queries and requests for changes to the material may be sent to the author/editor.
- Text design is finalized. This determines how the title will look, including: typefaces; styles; size; and page layout. Designs are usually chosen from a library created by OUP Designers, according to the intended market and/or the series to which the title belongs.
- Jacket/cover design is discussed, if it has not been designed at an earlier stage.
Handover to Content Operations
- When the final manuscript is approved by your OUP Editor, it is handed over to an OUP Production Editor (PE) during a detailed handover meeting.
- All production requirements are discussed and the PE becomes the author's/editor's main point of contact until publication.
- Author/editor receives introductory correspondence and an outline production schedule from the PE.
Supplier project management
A Supplier Project Manager (SPM) may work alongside the PE to manage the production process:
- If an SPM is used, they will be the day-to-day contact for all correspondence.
- The PE oversees the SPM's work and assists with any complex queries and content issues.
The manuscript may be sent for pre-editing. This process:
- tidies up certain keyboarding errors;
- highlights inconsistencies in the text according to predefined criteria requested by the PE;
- marks up typographical features in preparation for typesetting;
- assesses bibliographic entries for completeness;
- assesses artwork again to double-check it is suitable for reproduction.
- prepares files for digital production process
The copy editor's role is to ensure your message reaches the reader as clearly and directly as possible and to prepare the manuscript for typesetting by:
- correcting errors in spelling and grammar;
- checking correct application of OUP house style;
- identifying inconsistencies and checking in-text cross-references;
- marking up headings, text, and features so that text design can be applied (or checking any assigned at a pre-edit stage);
- ensuring artwork, tables, and other features are sited appropriately.
The author/editor is likely to be contacted during this phase to resolve any queries. Corrections can be made only to factual and grammatical errors; no rewriting or additional content can be accepted at this stage.
- The typesetter applies the text design to the copy-edited manuscript to produce page proofs.
- Once pages have been typeset, changes to the content are complex and time-consuming.
- Author/editor is given a provisional date upon which to expect proofs.
- Page proofs are sent out according to production schedule.
- This is the last opportunity for the author/editor to review proofs. All further checks are done in-house.
- Author/editor must allow time for thorough checking and collating corrections from any co-authors onto a single set of proofs.
- The title may also be read by a professional proofreader.
- Only absolutely essential changes can be made at this stage because of the impact on pagination.
- All collated changes are returned to the typesetter by the PE.
Jacket and cover approval
- PE sends author/editor a PDF proof of the jacket/cover, including all copy, for final approval.
Indexing (and legal tabling—HE Law and Law departments only)
- The index and any legal tables are usually created once the first proofs have been produced.
- Responsibility for the creation is detailed on the Contract.
- Once complete, the indexes/tables are typeset.
- Author/editor is sent files for approval.
- The typesetter makes any requested changes and returns draft final proofs to PE.
- PE carries out thorough in-house checks before requesting final files.
Printing, binding, and publication
- Final files of the text and jacket/cover are sent to the printer to be printed and bound.
- OUP receives and quality checks a sample of books from the printer.
- Electronic files are prepared for online publication (if applicable).
- Title publishes according to the set publication date (always a Thursday).
- OUP Editor ensures that all contractual obligations are met with respect to free copies and fees (if applicable).
Post-publication activities vary widely depending on the market for the book and the discipline. Some examples are:
- Promotion of the book, such as advertisements, conference attendance, direct mail campaigns (as appropriate for the title);
- Sales figures sent to author/editor by OUP Editor (on request);
- Published reviews shared between author/editor and OUP Editor or OUP Marketing Manager;
- Royalties paid in January and July.