And now for something completely different…

Publishing is one of those things many academics do as part of their daily job, but the details and mechanics of it – beyond the question of where and/or with which publisher one publishes – are often not discussed. The question of indexing one’s volume (an issue for those in disciplines where publishing books is part of the norm), for example, raises its head at the end of a long process when one’s work has gone into production. For a long time it has been common to ask authors if they want to index their own work, or have it done professionally (set off against any royalties, which are mostly negligible). Indexing can be time-consuming so the latter option often seems sensible.

Closeup of antique books educational, academic and literary concept

However, for the first time I have just encountered a serious academic press, Manchester University Press, stating that it is no longer providing indexing services. Now authors has to secure such services which typically apparently cost £350-£500, themselves. So, not only do authors do all their work for the publishers (the researching, writing and preparing of the book) themselves in advance and without remuneration (their ‘research’ time usually not covering that activity, however vital it is for the ranking of their institution); they now also have to organize, and pay out of their own pockets (or via their institutions) for, indexing. One wonders what book publishers actually do . . . Authors, beware!

Gabriele Griffin

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