Notes for Contributors of Edited Volumes
- There are, of course, things that reviewers are looking for in edited volumes that you, as a contributor will have less control over than the volume editor(s) – a coherent and solid introduction that is much more than an "annotated table of contents"; the division of the collection into thematic parts; the logical sequencing of the chapters; the sense that each of the chapters is of roughly the same length, pitched to roughly the same level of audience, and so on. But there are things that you can do, as well:
- Bear in mind that reviewers assess the merits of an entire collection, not your paper alone. So, if you take liberties with the length of your chapter, or the number of interesting but tangential footnotes, that will set your paper apart. So too will the way in which your chapter is framed. Remember, an edited volume is quite distinct from a special edition of a journal – what's different are the linkages between the chapters. There should be no "introduction," describing what your chapter will set out to do and a "conclusion," describing what the chapter has done, simply because that turns your findings inward, instead of creating causal links with the next chapter. Finally, please bear in mind issues of formatting and referencing – consult with your volume editor(s) if you are unsure.
- Aside from the things you should avoid, there is one particularly positive thing you should try to incorporate into your chapter. Your editor(s) is striving to make your volume an integrated, coherent whole. You need to ensure that all the work you've put into them before publication, and all the communication you've had with your coauthors, are reflected quite materially in the manuscript. So, please do refer to other authors' chapters in your volume – "picking up on a point that Sue Brown elaborated in regards to X," OR "though John Williams argues that globalization leads to homogenization, I will show otherwise," OR "an interesting finding of Frank Mills's in an earlier chapter links to my proposition that..."