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Chapter 170: Communications

170.025 University of Missouri Press

Executive Guideline No. 26, 5-15-89; Revised 10-25-93.

  1. Duties of the Press Director and Editor-in Chief
    1. The primary responsibility of the Press Director is the ongoing development of an editorial program in the various areas in which the Press specializes. The Director will strive to achieve and secure a unified and balanced focus for the editorial program by reasonably limiting the number of areas the Press cultivates and seeking to acquire strong titles in those several areas. The Director will meet, at least once each year, with the Vice President for Academic Affairs to discuss and jointly review the development of the Press's editorial program.
    2. It is also the responsibility of the Director to oversee the production and design of the Press's books, their advertising and promotion, their sale and distribution. Each department of the Press answers to the Director, and the work of each department is supervised by the Director.
    3. Fiscal responsibility for the overall Press operation and for individual titles published rests with the Director, who is administratively answerable to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for ensuring that the publishing program generates the revenues necessary to operate within its established budget.
  2. Duties of the University Press Committee and Manuscript Review Process
    1. The primary responsibility of the University Press Committee is editorial oversight. All manuscripts that the Press editors propose to publish must be brought before the Committee for its consideration, and the Committee therefore has ultimate control over the titles that appear under the Press imprint.
    2. The Press Committee will meet four or five times a year on an irregular schedule dictated by the readiness of projects for consideration and the schedules of the individual Committee members. Notice of meetings will be sent out two weeks in advance, along with materials on each manuscript being presented to the Committee members. This material will take the form of a summary and description of each manuscript and reports secured by the Press editors from specialist reviewers.
    3. All books published by the Press must receive favorable recommendations from readers who are specialists in the field. These referees will be members of the University of Missouri faculties, of the faculties of other universities, or established, publishing scholars who may or may not have university affiliation. Every effort will be made to find the best qualified reader for each manuscript, and at no time will a reader be a member of the author's own faculty or, insofar as the editors are able to discern, closely associated with the author (as mentor or friend).
    4. As is customary in the process of referring scholarly manuscripts, the editors will commission reviews on the basis of an assurance that the reader's name will be held in confidence and will be revealed to no one other than members of the editorial committee and the Press staff without the express permission of the reader. Committee members will hold the information in the reports confidential and they will return the reports to the Press Director at the conclusion of each meeting for proper disposal.
    5. At each meeting, reports on the manuscripts proposed for publication will be reviewed individually and the reports discussed by the members of the Committee and the Press editors. Each manuscript will then be voted upon individually.
    6. Each year the Press can expect to consider for publication several hundred manuscripts and nearly one thousand manuscript proposals. In order to deal with the substantial volume of material submitted to the Press annually, the Press Director has the authority to make negative decisions; manuscripts and proposals that are to be rejected will not be brought before the Committee. Decisions not to move forward with external review of specific manuscripts will be made by the Press Director. Negative decisions will be based on the following factors:
      1. Subject is outside the Press's areas of emphasis.
      2. Internal readings (by Director or Acquisitions Editor(s) suggest that the work does not measure up to the Press's standards of excellence in presentation.
      3. External readings fault the work's scholarship, originality, or meaningfulness to the academic community.
    7. Manuscripts brought before the Committee will be those that are being recommended for publication by the Press Director. The Committee's principal responsibility is to ensure that appropriate evaluations are secured and that only works which have been determined to be deserving of the Press imprint are approved.
  3. Guidelines for Press Committee Membership
    1. People serving on the Press Committee will be selected from all four University of Missouri campuses. The members will be individuals from the several scholarly disciplines in which the Press regularly publishes and must themselves be established scholars who have published one or more significant academic books. Terms of service on the Committee will be three years. No individual may serve more than one term in sequence. Following a one-year break in service, however, an individual may be nominated for another three-year term.
    2. When vacancies occur on the Press Committee, campuses will be informed as to the discipline areas from which their representatives will be selected and will be asked to recommend persons from these areas. If a campus has no person thus qualified in the discipline area called for who is willing to serve on the Committee, then a person from another discipline who meets these qualifications and is willing to fulfill the obligations of membership on the Committee may be nominated.
    3. In consultation with the Press Director, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will make final recommendations to the President for Press Committee members.
  4. Guidelines for Designating Areas of Specialization
    1. The Press Director and Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the development of an editorial program that represents and reflects the Press's strengths in the academic and regional communities it serves.
    2. The Press Director shall from time to time seek the advice and counsel of the Press Committee regarding new directions and new subject areas being envisioned. The overall responsibility for long-term list development remains with the Director.

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