The inaugural International & Comparative Law Quarterly (ICLQ) publishing workshop was held on Wednesday November 14th in London. The event was jointly organised by Cambridge University Press (CUP), the journal’s publisher, and the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL), ICLQ’s academic home. The workshop was part of a programme of anniversary events held in 2018 to celebrate 60 years of BIICL advancing legal knowledge in global affairs.

Representatives from ICLQ’s senior editorial team and publishing experts from Cambridge led a series of presentations aimed at demystifying the processes involved with journal and book publishing. Many of the 42 participants were early career academics and represented a diverse range of institutions and subject areas within law.

Robert McCorquodale, outgoing co-Editor-in-Chief of ICLQ, started the afternoon with practical tips on how to get published in a journal including what to write, how to make it more publishable and where to send it. He usefully recommended depth over breadth and not to take your first rejection too personally.

Looking back at the text of peer reviews he had written, ICLQ Editorial Board member and Book Review Editor, Ian Cram reflected on what does and doesn’t impress him when he looks at an article. While he likes an article to tell him how it advances the intellectual agenda and to explore alternative points of view, he is put off by too much description and lack of a coherent argument.

ICLQ’s Assistant Editor Anna Riddell-Roberts took participants behind the scenes as she described the review process, how journal decisions are made, an explanation of what each type of decision means and what happens after acceptance. Anna’s top three tips for authors were to wait patiently for a decision, follow any rewriting advice carefully and to accept decisions with grace.

Against a background of editorial teams finding it increasingly difficult to obtain timely peer reviews, Rebecca O’Rourke, Publisher for law journals at CUP, made an appeal for participants to put themselves forward as peer reviewers. She outlined the essential role of peer review in the journal ecosystem and talked through how to write a good peer review.

Andrew Hyde, Commissioning Editor for Open Access and Data at CUP, gave the audience useful suggestions for navigating the emerging open research landscape including considerations of Green and Gold open access, adoption of an ORCID ID and sharing data and methods. He also encouraged authors to share content freely but responsibly using Cambridge’s new Core Share service.

The final part of the workshop turned from journals to books. Tom Randall, Commissioning Editor for law books at Cambridge, gave valuable advice on how to get a book published including selecting the right publisher, reworking PhDs, writing and submitting a book proposal that stands out from the crowd and an explanation of the review and contract process.

A lively panel discussion closed the afternoon with questions asked reflecting a room full of participants invigorated by their new understanding of publishing and hungry to start writing.

ICLQ welcomes submissions and willing peer reviewers; more information on publishing in ICLQ can be found here. Visit Cambridge University Press’ new hub of resources for peer reviewers. Look out for details of future publishing events at BIICL.org.

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