Our Publication Processes and Timelines

University Press of Colorado, Utah State University Press, University of Wyoming Press, and University of Alaska Press are committed to transparent and equitable peer review and publication processes. In both processes, we require the usage of inclusive language, meaning our house style precludes the use of ableist language in our books; we capitalize Black, Indigenous, and related terms and use self-identified descriptors for multiply marginalized and/or underrepresented (MMU) scholars and groups of people; we respect and will preserve language diversity; we encourage a broad range of writing styles; we require the usage of alt-text and transcriptions of any multimodal projects; and we require respectful engagement and inclusive citational usage in our reviews and publications. Reviews that engage in hostile language or reinforce stereotypes in citations or identities will be redacted or rejected and will not be used in the evaluation of a work for publication.

We explicitly welcome works from scholars without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, ability, or age. We also commit to mentoring MMU scholars through the publishing process and invite antiracist, queer, decolonial, and anti-ableist research and reviewers of our publications. If you are interested in serving as a peer reviewer, please contact the appropriate editor of that list for more information.

Successful path to publication (timelines are all estimates and may be extended beyond what is here, in part because the work is collaborative and depends on labor both within and beyond UPC | USUP | UWP | UAP):

Proposal submission (up to 6 weeks)

Our internal review of a proposal submission can take up to six weeks, after which an editor will indicate if the project is a good fit for peer review.

Peer review (~8–12 weeks)

Because we value the labor of both our authors and editors and the scholars who review our work, our timelines are often flexible. While we strive to move projects forward as quickly as possible, we recognize that the labor involved in reading and evaluating work can be in conflict with institutional labor, caretaking responsibilities, and unforeseen complications and, as such, acknowledge that timelines can extend. If there are external pressures, such as job market needs and tenure and promotion deadlines that we should be aware of, please communicate this to your editor and we’ll do our best to assist with the timing in whatever ways we can.

We view peer review as a generative and constructive process, not a means of gatekeeping or enforcing canonical ideas or ideals of disciplines. We invite scholars and scholarship to move and grow and become more inclusive. Your editor will share your peer reviews with you but may censor or redact parts that could be harmful or are not constructive. We also ask our peer reviewers to read manuscripts inclusively, meaning that we as a Press respect language diversity, require equitable citational practices and accessible texts, and reject the idea that manuscripts must always adhere to long-standing expectations of what disciplinary bounds or practices should be. We ask our peer reviewers to join us in setting new expectations for this work.

  • UPC | USUP | UWP | UAP peer reviews full manuscripts and enlists a minimum of two anonymous readers for each project (with a suggested 6-8-week review period). 
  • Authors/editors are welcome to suggest possible appropriate reviewers for their projects (please don’t include mentors, mentees, colleagues within your department, or scholars with whom you have closely collaborated on previous publishing projects) although we are under no obligation to query those scholars. We also encourage authors/editors to share scholars with whom they would not want their work shared and we will not query those scholars.
  • Your editor will share an anticipated timeline with you and will make every effort to contact you proactively if the timeline changes substantially (more than one week beyond).
  • Each reviewer is provided a set of guidelines and a checklist, along with a set of expectations for inclusive approaches to reviewing. Our editors commit to ensuring that these expectations are followed and, in the event of bias, will redact harmful comments and/or reject the review. 
  • When reviews are split, i.e. one reviewer supports publication and another does not or suggests a revision and resubmission, editors will likely seek a third review to provide clarity on revision needs, either before or after manuscript revisions.

Faculty editorial committee approval (~2–3 weeks)

Our faculty editorial committee is composed of scholars from many disciplines at our member institution presses. They receive training from the Press in how to evaluate materials for publication and, like reviewers, are encouraged to be inclusive and equitable in their responses. Their role is primarily to evaluate that the peer review process was undertaken ethically by the acquiring editor (who found appropriate scholars for review), the reviewers (who engaged fully and ethically with the manuscript), and the author/editor/contributors (who engaged with the peer reviews and made necessary revisions).

  • The committee can request a full manuscript but typically review a package that consists of:
    • Editorial memo that outlines the project, summarizes peer reviews, and shares author/editor revision plans
    • Peer reviews
    • Revision memos
    • Manuscript table of contents
    • Author(s)/editor(s) CVs
  • This process typically takes 2-3 weeks. The editor will spend at least one week preparing the materials and five members of the committee will vote on projects by email on a rolling basis. Approvals must be unanimous and, in the event that one or more committee members does not support publication, the acquiring editor can either present the project at the next quarterly Board of Trustees meeting and seek approval there; request additional revisions by the author/editor; or reject the project.

Contract (~1–2 weeks)

  • Once the faculty editorial committee approves a project for publication, projects are typically contracted. 
  • Authors/editors can, among other details, negotiate timelines, copyright, titles and subtitles, and number of gratis copies. Draft contracts are shared prior to signing and one can be requested at any stage if the author/editor would like to see the document further in advance.
  • Authors/editors are typically responsible for their own index (which can be sent to freelancers at the author’s (or their institution’s) cost dependent on the manuscript’s specifications) and proofreading (which is separate from the professional copyediting that UPC | USUP | UWP will undertake).
  • We are receptive to open access publishing, if funds to support the attendant costs are available. 

Publication (~12–14 months from submittal of final manuscript to publication)

  • Production typically takes 12-14 months for most manuscripts. Authors are asked to provide these materials prior to the manuscript entering the editorial, design, and production stage. This process entails many efforts, including:
    • The development of a production schedule
    • Assigning a design template
    • Assigning ISBNs
    • Requesting CIP data from the Library of Congress
    • Tagging text files for the copyeditor and typesetters
    • Creating the proof sheet
    • Assigning a copyeditor and copyediting the manuscript
    • Typesetting and designing the manuscript
    • Designing a cover (the author receives drafts throughout the process and is invited to participate)
    • Drafting marketing copy (the author receives drafts throughout the process and is invited to participate)
    • Finalizing book data for vendors and retailers
    • Printing and shipping the book to our warehouse
    • Creating an ebook (EPUB) file for distribution to ebook vendors
  • We are mindful of accessibility and ensure that all our books meet current standards. We also prioritize price points and formats that ensure scholarship is available for course use and to graduate students, contingent faculty, and independent scholars. 
  • Authors/editors and contributors receive gratis copies of their books
  • Marketing plans begin

Inclusive efforts will change over time, so please return to this document as we revisit and revise our own processes. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on this and pledge to work at continually bettering our own systems, scholarly publishing, and the disciplines in which we publish. 

Today we seek transparency in our work and thank you for being part of our scholarly community. We invite critiques on ways in which these processes, timelines, and efforts could be improved and acknowledge that, as a publisher, we have long participated in systems and structures that have not always welcomed MMU scholars or made publication accessible to them. Please find an anonymous survey here where you’re welcome to share your feedback and critiques with us. We look forward to working with you!

University Press of ColoradoUtah State University PressUniversity of Alaska PressUniversity of Wyoming Press