Publications Policy

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Approved November 1998, Board Meeting, Minutes: Tab 8

The Policy of the American Association of Law Libraries is to produce publications that fit within the scope of the Publications Program Statement of Purpose. These publications shall be issued in a timely manner and on a financially sound basis. When appropriate, the Association shall seek partnerships with other publishers.

Through these efforts, the AALL Publications Program strengthens the Association; fosters a growing, diverse, and developing membership; and helps the Association provide leadership to shape the emerging legal information environment.

Publications Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the AALL Publications Program is to further the mission of the Association by providing information products and services to the membership on a variety of topics and in a range of formats. More specifically, the AALL Publications Program seeks to:

Develop high quality educational and informational resources for all users of legal information, to increase the accessibility of legal materials and the value of law libraries;

Create materials that enhance the professional development of law librarians, by contributing to the updating of their knowledge and skills;

Provide venues for the exchange of ideas and opinions, and for the dissemination of research results;

Support greater knowledge and understanding of legal information products and services and improved relations with vendors, especially through evaluative materials and comparisons;

Improve public awareness of law libraries by producing effective promotional materials;

Offer practical tools to assist members in better supporting and marketing their libraries;

Enhance communications between the Association leadership and Headquarters staff and the general membership, and between the Association leadership and Headquarters staff and the Special Interest Section and Chapter leadership;

Benefit the membership by providing forums for publication, assisting in professional and career development of individual members and attracting new members with common interests.

Publications Procedures

(Final version, developed by the Special Committee on AALL Publications Policy; last modified September 2008)

The purpose of the AALL publications procedures is to guide and explain the decision-making processes used by the Association regarding publications it finances, sponsors or produces.

All publications for which funding from or sponsorship by the American Association of Law Libraries is sought, or which are published directly by the Association, shall be subject to these procedures. This includes new monographic publications proposed for existing sponsored publications series. Publications not subject to these procedures include: press releases; existingserials (including but not limited to the Law Library Journal; AALL Spectrum; Annual Meeting Educational Program Handout Materials and other sponsored conference proceedings or handouts; salary surveys; the Price Index to LegalPeriodicals; the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals; Information Access Corporation's legal periodical indexes; the AALL Directory and Handbook; Rothman's Current Publications in Legal and Related Fields; SIS and chapter newsletters; and SIS Council and Council of Chapter Presidents newsletters); materials of an extremely time-sensitive nature or those only useful for a limited period of time; and those excepted by joint decision of the Chair of the Publications Committee and AALL Marketing and Communications Manager, in consultation with the Association's Executive Director, if needed.

If AALL sponsorship of a publication is sought, but AALL is not proposed to be the publisher, please refer to the "Policy on the Use of the American Association of Law Libraries' Name."

The American Association of Law Libraries reserves a right of first refusal for all proposed publications for which the use of its name is sought. If the Association chooses not to directly publish the item, the proposer may use the Association's name on its publication, regardless of publisher, if approval is given subject to the terms of the "Policy on the Use of the American Association of Law Libraries' Name."

Inquiries regarding Association publications and the publications program covered by these procedures can be referred to the Chair of the Publications Committee. The Chair can be identified using AALLNET. The primary role of the Chair in this process is to coordinate proposal and manuscript reviews, communicate with the proposer/author, and ensure that the publications approval process is conducted in a timely manner.

Inquiries may also be referred to the AALL Marketing and Communications Manager. The Marketing and Communications Manager can be identified on AALLNET. The primary role of the Marketing and Communications Manager in this process is to provide an initial review of publication proposals on the listed criteria, provide professional expertise as needed, and coordinate the technical details of publication, sales, marketing and distribution.

The primary role of the AALL Publications Committee is to provide member oversight of the publications program and recommend policy to the AALL Executive Board. Committee members review proposals and manuscripts, and the Committee as a whole makes a recommendation on whether a proposal or manuscript should be accepted for publication.

The Executive Director of the American Association of Law Libraries is the Association's Publisher of Record.

Publications Procedures-Proposals

  1. Proposal Reviews

    The purposes of the proposal review process are: to provide guidance to authors on what the Association publishes and the procedures used to recommend proposals for publication; to allow for informed and joint decision-making by the Association and authors; and to inform the Association of proposed publications, to allow for efficient planning and production of publications.

    1. Initial Proposal Review

      1. All parties (including individuals or organizations, regardless of whether they are members of or a unit of AALL) interested in having AALL publish their work must submit a formal proposal, using the Publication Proposal Form. The form, with directions, can be obtained from AALLNET (www.aallnet.org), the Marketing and Communications Manager, or the Chair of the Publications Committee. The form, together with any attachments, shall be submitted to AALL headquarters. The date the completed form is received at AALL headquarters is the official date of receipt.

      2. The Chair of the Publications Committee and the Marketing and Communications Manager shall conduct an initial review of the proposal for consistency with the Publications Statement of Purpose, financial soundness, and general feasibility. The Chair and the Marketing and Communications Manager may determine that: the proposal is ready for Committee review; the concept is of value but the proposal needs further development; or that the proposal does not meet the threshold requirements for an AALL publication.

        1. Proposal ready for Committee review:

          If the decision is that the proposal is ready for full proposal review, it shall be forwarded to the Publications Committee for consideration under the procedures for Full Proposal Review.

        2. Further development needed:

          If the decision is that further development is needed, the proposer shall be offered the opportunity to work with the Marketing and Communications Manager or a Publications Committee member for assistance in refining the proposal, as appropriate. The proposer may resubmit the proposal at any time. Upon resubmission, the proposal again shall be subject to initial review by the Chair and Marketing and Communications Manager.

        3. Does not meet requirements:

          If the decision is that the proposal does not meet the threshold requirements for an AALL publication, the proposal shall be returned to the proposer, who or which shall be informed that the proposal may be resubmitted at any time. Upon resubmission, the proposal again shall be subject to initial review by the Chair and Marketing and Communications Manager.

      3. The initial review shall be conducted and a written decision communicated to the proposer by the Chair of the Publications Committee within three weeks of receipt of the completed Publication Proposal Form. If the decision is that the proposal requires further development or does not meet threshold requirements for an AALL publication, included in the communication of the decision shall be an explanation of the basis of the decision.

    2. Full Proposal Review
      1. When the proposal is ready for Committee review, it will be distributed to two members of the Publications Committee as chosen by the Chair who, together with the Chair, are the proposal reviewers for this proposed publication. If the proposed publication appears to fit within an existing Association publication series, the person responsible for that series will be notified and asked for input, but will not vote with the Committee on the proposal.

      2. The reviewers shall evaluate the proposal based on the information provided on the Publications Proposal Form and any attachments and any additional information provided by the proposal author, including answers to questions posed to the author by the Committee, and the written decision from the initial review. At least two of the three reviewers must agree on a decision. As a guiding principle, the reviewers should read the proposal in the light most favorable to the proposer. The review shall be conducted and a written decision communicated to the proposer by the Chair of the Publications Committee within five weeks of receipt of the completed Publication Proposal Form. Included in the communication of the decision shall be an explanation of the basis of the decision.

      3. The decision may take one of the following forms: recommended; conditionally recommended with required modifications; invited to resubmit with changes; rejected. Further procedures for each are described here:

        1. Recommended:If the decision is to recommend the proposal for publication by AALL, the Marketing and Communications Manager shall negotiate a publication contract with the proposer. The proposer shall be informed that the completed manuscript will be subject to the Manuscript Review process. A Manuscript Review Form shall be furnished to the proposer at the time the contract is finalized. For AALL-sponsored publications that are published by an outside publisher, if the decision is to recommend the proposal for publication by that outside publisher, a written recommendation will be forwarded to the publisher. The proposal author should be informed if the publisher is not obligated to follow the Committee's recommendation regarding publication.

        2. Conditionally recommended with required modifications: Any number of factors may lead to a decision to recommend with required modifications. For example, the proposal reviewers may determine that an additional chapter is needed, or request that the author supply a writing sample. In communicating a decision of "conditionally recommended with required modifications," the Committee Chair should clearly specify the modifications required and propose a timeline for receipt of a modified proposal. The Chair may suggest appropriate parties from within the membership (with their permission) to assist the author with these changes. A proposal conditionally recommended with required modifications will undergo a second full proposal review, and the written communication from the Chair following the first full proposal review shall be included in the materials distributed for the second full proposal review.

        3. Invited to resubmit with changes: If the review committee determines that the proposal has merit but needs refining, the Committee Chair shall communicate this decision to the proposer, with specific suggestions from the review committee on changes that should be made. A proposal invited to resubmit with changes will undergo a second full proposal review. The written communication from the Chair following the first full proposal review shall be included in the materials distributed for the second review.
        4. Rejected: A proposal for which the committee recommends rejection may be resubmitted at any time. The written communication from the Committee Chair shall include this information.
      4. The entire Publications Committee shall be notified of the recommendation of the review committee prior to its communication to the proposer. Committee members have one week to object to the review committee's recommendation; silence signifies acquiescence. Objections must be communicated to the Committee Chair. The Committee as a whole shall resolve all disputed recommendations, and the proposal review recommendation shall be communicated as a decision of the Publications Committee.

      5. Accepted proposals for new series or serials will be referred to the series/serials editor, who shall confer with the Marketing and Communications Manager to set specific content and review standards.

    3. Review of the Committee's Decision
      1. If, after full proposal review, the Publications Committee cannot reach a decision on a proposed publication, or if the proposer desires reconsideration of a decision of the Committee to reject a proposed publication, a review of the Committee's decision may be had. Review of the Committee's decision shall be de novo. The review of the Committee's decision shall be coordinated by the Association's Executive Director. The Association's President, Treasurer, and another officer or Executive Board member, as designated by the President, will conduct the review of the Committee's decision. The Executive Director does not vote in this process.

      2. The Chair of the Publications Committee shall notify the Executive Director if the Publications Committee cannot reach a decision. The Executive Director shall notify the President and Treasurer. The President shall designate another officer or Executive Board member, who together with the President and Treasurer will conduct a review of the Committee's decision. The Publications Committee Chair shall supply the Executive Director with a copy of the Publications Proposal Form and any attachments, the decision on initial review, and a written description of the full proposal review committee's deliberations and the Publications Committee's decision. The Executive Director shall distribute copies of all documents to the President, Treasurer, and other designated officer or Executive Board member and notify the proposer of a delay in consideration of the proposal. The review of the Committee's decision must be completed and the outcome communicated to the proposer in writing within four weeks, unless the proposer agrees to more time; there must be a majority decision on review of the Committee's decision.

      3. If a proposer desires reconsideration of a decision by the Publications Committee to reject a proposed publication, he or she must make a request for reconsideration in writing to the Chair of the Publications Committee. The Chair shall notify the Executive Director, who shall coordinate the review of the Committee's decision, as above. In addition to supplying all documents noted above, the Chair shall supply the Executive Director with a copy of all written communications with the proposer. The review of the Committee's decision must be completed and the outcome communicated to the proposer in writing within four weeks of receipt of the request for reconsideration, as determined by the date of receipt by the Chair of the written request for consideration; there must be a majority decision on review of the Committee's decision.

      4. The Executive Director shall notify in writing the proposer and the Chair of the Publications Committee of the outcome of the review of the Committee's decision. The outcome of the review of the Committee's decision shall be final.

Publications Procedures--Manuscripts

The purpose of the manuscript review process is to provide a substantive review of manuscripts for which a completed proposal has been received and publication has been recommended. All publications for which funding from the American Association of Law Libraries is sought, or which are published directly by the Association, and which are subject to proposal review, shall be subject to these procedures. Exceptions to manuscript review may be granted by joint decision of the Chair of the Publications Committee and the AALL Marketing and Communications Manager, in consultation with the Association's Executive Director. Manuscript reviews are not required for publications sponsored by neither funded nor published by the Association.

Unsolicited manuscripts (those for which no proposal review was had or which differ significantly on their face from that which was described on the Publication Proposal Form) will be returned to the author unread with information about the proposal review process. As an alternative, the author may sign a release relieving the Association of any liability, including for copyright infringement, and the manuscript can be retained by the Association and forwarded to the initial review committee to be included in the proposal reviews.

  1. Manuscript Reviews

    1. Initial Manuscript Review
      1. A manuscript for which review for publication is sought must have a completed Publication Proposal Form on file with the Marketing and Communications Manager. If the manuscript did not undergo a proposal review, it will not be considered for manuscript review until a completed Publication Proposal Form is received at Association Headquarters and both initial and full proposal reviews are completed.

      2. Manuscripts submitted for publication must be accompanied by the Manuscript Review Form. The form, with directions, can be obtained from AALLNET, the Marketing and Communications Manager, or the Chair of the Publications Committee. The form and copies of the manuscript shall be submitted to AALL headquarters at the address noted above. The date the completed form and the required number of copies of the manuscript are received at AALL headquarters is the official date of receipt.

      3. When the completed Manuscript Review Form and the required copies of the manuscript are received at Association Headquarters, the manuscript is readyfor review, providing there is no indication on the Manuscript Review Formof a significant change. If a significant change is indicated, the Chair of the Publications Committee and the Marketing and Communications Manager shall reconsiderthe proposal in light of the change. Unless, in the opinions of the Chair and Director, the change would have resulted in a different recommendation at the initial proposal review or full proposal review stage, the manuscript shall be sent to the Committee for manuscript review.

      4. If, in the opinion of the Chair and Director, the change to the manuscript would have resulted in a different recommendation at the initial review or proposal review stage, they shall treat the manuscript as an unsolicited manuscript, as described above.

    2. Full Manuscript Review
      1. When the manuscript is ready for review, the Chair shall designate two members of the Publications Committee who, together with the Chair, are themanuscript reviewers for the proposed publication. In the alternative, the Chair may designate another Publications Committee member to serve in the Chair's position. An additional manuscript reviewer, with appropriate subjectmatter expertise, may be appointed from the Committee or from the Association's membership at large if subject expertise is needed for adequate review. The manuscript reviewers shall be provided with copies of the manuscript, the Publications Proposal Form and any attachments, the decision on initial proposal review, and the decision of the full proposal review committee. If a review of the Committee's decision on the proposal was conducted, the outcome of the review of the Committee's decision shall also be provided.

      2. The manuscript reviewers shall evaluate the manuscript based on its substantive content and whether it meets the description given on the Publications Proposal Form. The review shall be conducted and a writtendecision communicated to the proposer by the Chair of the Publications Committee within five weeks of receipt of the manuscript copies and completed Manuscript Review Form.

      3. The decision may take one of the following forms: accepted; returned for required modifications; rejected. Further procedures for each are described here:

        1. Accepted:

          If the recommendation is that the manuscript be accepted, the Chair shall notify the proposer in writing of themanuscript's acceptance. Accepted manuscripts are forwarded to the Marketing and Communications Manager, who sees to it that they are published in a timely manner and in accordance with any agreements made with the proposer.

        2. Returned for required modifications:

          If the recommendation is that the manuscript be returned for required modifications, the Chair shall notify the proposer in writing, clearly specifying the required modifications. The Chair and the proposer shall agree on a date certain by which the changes will be accomplished; in all cases this should be as soon as possible. The Chair may suggest appropriate parties from within the membership of the Publications Committee or the Association membership at large (with their permission) to assist the author with these changes. Upon completion of the required modifications, the manuscript shall be returned to its manuscript review committee for review.

        3. Rejected:

          If the recommendation is that the manuscript be rejected, the Chair shall notify the proposer in writing, clearly specifying the reasons for rejection. The Chair shall also inform the proposer that rejection does not bar subsequent reconsideration, and that the proposal may be resubmitted at any time.

      4. The entire Publications Committee shall be notified of the decision of the manuscript review committee prior to its communication to the proposer. Committee members have one week to object to the manuscript review committee's recommendation; silence signifies acquiescence. Objections must be communicated to the Committee Chair. The Committee as a whole shall resolve all disputed recommendations, and the manuscript review recommendation shall be communicated as a decision of the Publications Committee.