Publish your SDG book: Everything you need to know from Senior Editor Josie Taylor

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Oct 31 2023

Author: Guest contributor

Senior Editor of Social Science at Palgrave Macmillian, Josie Taylor discusses what authors can expect when publishing an SDG book with Springer Nature. Throughout the blog, Josie takes us through why authors should publish an SDG-related book, why they should choose Springer Nature to do so, and the advice she would give to any authors considering embarking on their publishing journey.

How is the research community supporting the Sustainable Goals as a whole, with a focus on SDG16?

The Sustainable Development Goals create a blueprint for future research and the publishing industry by highlighting priority topics for researchers and publishers to focus on for research impact. Our books and journals can therefore play a hugely impactful role in society.

Publishing editors can support the goals by actively seeking out researchers doing SDG-related research to ensure that our publishing outputs contribute to The 2030 Agenda. I’m particularly interested in the topic of violence against women and I actively approached some authors who I saw had a research grant. They ended up writing a book on Violence Against Women During Coronavirus (open access). Editors can also play an active role in encouraging researchers to consider the SDGs in their research and publishing plans where they haven’t already. The more conversation there is around the SDGs and the targets, the more likely we are to achieve them.

Encouraging and publishing interdisciplinary research is particularly important as the SDGs are interconnected. We can’t expect to achieve the goals of SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions without considering poverty, gender equality, and decent work and economic growth. I would argue that we need “social science-based transformations” beyond just the “science-based transformations” outlined in The 2030 Agenda, to provide a holistic understanding of how to bring about change in our societies.

What are the benefits of publishing an SDG-specific book? How will they know their research is a good fit?  

Publishing an SDG-related book that engages with the goals means tapping into topics of global interest and publishing with a clear purpose to address them.

Publishers play a role in highlighting relevant research for practitioners in policy and business who need those insights to achieve their goals. Our Springer Nature Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Programme features the latest SDG-related books and journals for key communities, including through individual marketing campaigns for each SDG. We also have a unique Sustainable Development Goals book series that publishes SDG-relevant content from both the Palgrave Macmillan and Springer imprints. Developing a cross-imprint series has allowed us to address some of these core societal challenges more effectively by bridging the gap between the natural and social sciences. We welcome new book proposals to the series via the series link above for further discussion with an editor.

What tips would you give to a prospective author?

You can read about the book publishing process on our website, from first developing your idea through to publication. You can contact a book editor directly if you want to discuss your idea first. After that, you’ll need to submit a book proposal. Here are my five key book proposal recommendations:

  1. Have a clear target market: think about which subjects and sub-disciplines your idea speaks to within academia and note them in your proposal. Consider policy-makers and practitioners and how the content will appeal to them directly, perhaps via some ‘key points for practitioners’ in each chapter. Be clear about why your unique is unique and why it should be read by a global academic audience. 
  2. Consider the right length for it: smaller studies might lend themselves best to a journal article or a short Palgrave Pivot or Springer Brief (up to 50k words). They might be reviewed better in a shorter format. 
  3. Position the idea clearly: include detailed chapter summaries and choose a clear main title and subtitle that includes keywords to support quick, online discoverability. 
  4. Speak to the publisher to understand their focus areas and remit and if it matches yours: ask the editor about what book series they have in case there is an ideal home for your research. 
  5. Consider open access (OA) publishing. Open access means that your book will be free to read online and will increase the discoverability and impact of your work. Our books all undergo the same high-quality peer review process. I recommend asking your university or funder about the availability of funding for books and consider including funding for open access in any new research grant applications. You can read about the benefits of open access here. We partner with various institutions to cover OA book publishing costs for affiliated authors or for authors with research grants from their institutions.

If and once your book is published, we have advice on promoting your book and how we promote our books here.

What are you looking for when commissioning an SDG book? 

We publish a variety of book formats including: 

  • Monographs (sole-authored books)
  • Edited collections (where each chapter is written by a different contributor)
  • Palgrave Pivots/Springer Briefs (short books up to 50/52k words which can be well suited to policy-makers and practitioners)
  • Textbooks (for students and courses)
  • Handbooks (authoritative edited books which summarise a field)
  • Open access books
  • Major reference works.

This gives our authors the flexibility to publish for different audiences and at the natural length for their research. We’re always on the look out for innovative and timely research which fills a gap. We’re particularly interested in ensuring that we’re publishing diverse and new perspectives, including from the global South (for further reading, see a social science blog discussing this definition), to better address the global challenges. We support early and mid-career researchers with publishing guidance including on this hub. As Senior Editor for Criminology and Socio-Legal books at Palgrave, I particularly welcome proposals which innovatively address the Peace and Justice agenda.

© Springer Nature 2020
About the author

Josie Taylor, Senior Editor, Social Science, Palgrave Macmillan

Josie has been with Palgrave Macmillan since 2013, first working on professional business and finance titles and now on criminology and socio-legal studies. She is interested in a wide range of topics, particularly cutting-edge, critical, global topics including: youth justice, gender, mental health, green criminology, terrorism, policing, hate studies, cybercrime, race and crime, human rights, and prisons.


Author: Guest contributor

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