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Publishing in English: Project Prospectus

An upcoming guide to English-language publication for Japanese scholars


(Oct. 2013 version)

Project Working Title: NCC Online Guide to English-language Publishing for Japanese Scholars (Humanities and Social Sciences, future modules may be developed for other subject areas)

Principal audience: Japanese scholars who want to publish in English-language journals, edited volumes, with academic presses, and in reputable online venues.  

Product: A Bilingual Guide (Web-based) that will be linked to NCC's Image Use Protocol Website.  The guide will explain the differences in the publishing climate between Japan and the US, outline the expectations of editors and publishers, and detail the process from beginning to researching potential publishers, making contact, through the publishing process itself.

An introductory essay on the differences in publishing climates between the Japanese publishing industry and US publishers will draw considerably on the work of NCC's Image Use Protocol Task Force and the Website they produced. The IUP Guide will also offer models for downloadable templates that can be edited individually for contacting publishers.  Advice on how to write an abstract will be an important part of the introductory section.  The guide will also introduce Open Access and Creative Commons Licenses, and how to judge the quality and reputation of online publications. 

The guide will include sections that focus on key venues for scholarly publication in English, those are: 

1) English-Language Professional Journals (print and electronic): to include a list of major refereed journals in key fields, how to research a journal's editorial board, a guide to approaching the editor of such a journal, understanding the schedule and lead time, an outline of the usual editorial process -- submission, review, analyzing readers’ comments, making revisions, and publication.

2) Contributing an article to an edited volume: What is expected of individual contributors, who is responsible for editing, revisions, schedule, what are contributors’ roles, is it usual for contributors to get royalties, receive a free copy, be able to get off prints, assign their chapter for teaching, etc.          

3) Publishing a monograph with an English-language publisher: How to research academic presses and understanding their subject strengths, creating a book prospectus for a publisher (downloadable template), how to contact the publisher (downloadable letter template). Is there an expected timeline for a publisher to respond?  What do you do if you don't hear back, should you contact them again, if so, what do you say?  Should you send to multiple publishers simultaneously, if so, what do you tell each of them?

 Project Leaders:  The Executive Editors of the project will be Professors Keiko Ikeda of Doshisha University and Jordan Sand of Georgetown University:  

Professor Keiko Ikeda (anthropologist, Doshisha University), former Dean of the School of American Studies at Doshisha, author of A Room Full of Mirrors: High School Reunions in Middle America, Stanford University Press, 1998, and one of the organizers of Japan's Women's Action Network (interview at

 Professor Jordan Sand (historian, Georgetown University), author of Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects, University of California Press, 2013, and House and Home in Modern Japan: Architecture, Domestic Space, and Bourgeois Culture, 1880-1930, Harvard University Asia Center, 2005, currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Asian Studies.  

Both Professors Ikeda and Sand have published extensively in Japanese and English, Professor Ikeda received her PhD at the University of Illinois and Professor Sand his MA in Architectural History from University of Tokyo, prior to completing his PhD at Columbia University.  

 NCC’s production team includes: Anna Wada NCC’s bilingual project associate, who will coordinate editing and production, working directly with NCC and a PIE advisory team.  As NCC did with the Image Use Protocol project, we will assemble a group of advisors who will bring special areas of expertise to the project.  Those include academic publishers, journal editors, and others.

 Project Timeline: The Guide will be an online publication on the NCC Website using the LibGuides platform with a Creative Commons license.  Initial research and project outline began during the summer of 2012 with a survey of publishers (to 67 publishers/journals and 79 individual editors).  Interviews with Japanese scholars who have successfully published in English, as well as the advice of writers, editors and translators, who work with Japanese authors and a Japanese language survey of potential users are currently being sought.  The first edition focused on English-language publishing in the humanities and social sciences is targeted for electronic bilingual publication in mid-2014.  

English Language Template: To assist users in other languages than Japanese this project will create an English language template for its guides.  Scholars and librarians in Chinese and Korean have already expressed interest in using this template as a model for guides in their own languages.

Note on possible future modules: The NCC Online Guide to English-language Publishing for Japanese Scholars (humanities and social sciences website) may serve as a model for additional modules in other fields such as science, technology and medicine.  If developed other teams of executive editors may be assembled. 

For further information and to offer suggestions, please contact: Victoria Lyon Bestor, Executive Director, North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources, Website: , or Anna Wada, Bilingual Program Associate, Visit NCC’s Facebook Page for regular updates on this and other NCC projects.  

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