corner board room with 2 large windows, dark teal walls, and orange chairs around a large rectangular table

What is the role of a faculty board at a university press?

All voting member presses in the Association of University Presses must have a faculty committee or board, or the equivalent, that certifies the scholarly quality of the books published by the press through peer review. The size and formal name of these boards varies from press to press—e.g., “press committee,” “executive board,” “delegates,” or “syndics,” among others—as does the frequency and structure of their meetings. Boards often consist of tenured or tenure-track faculty representatives from a range of disciplines at the university (or institutions) affiliated with the press, but some might also include administrators or faculty from other institutions.

Acquisitions editors typically prepare a set of materials for board members, sometimes called a brief, docket, or dossier, that might include a short description of the book, information about the author and the peer reviewers, the book’s table of contents and a short manuscript sample, the readers’ reports, and the author’s response to the reports. In evaluating these materials, the board members pay close attention to the peer reviewers’ credentials and assessments, as well as whether the author’s response reflects a serious engagement with the readers’ suggestions for revision. Acquisitions editors work to ensure that by the time they present a book to the board it will meet the board members’ high standards, but they also prepare to answer questions and relay any advice or suggestions from the board to the author.

See also How Do I Write a Response to Peer Reviews? For more information on peer review, see the AUPresses handbook Best Practices for Peer Review of Scholarly Books.

—Princeton University Press, March 2023