Who is the General Editor (GE)?
We see the GE as being the primary expert overseeing the development of the project. The GE works regularly with Routledge to plan the content and scope of the encyclopedia and also commissions Section Editors who will be in charge of specific subject areas.
Our team will report to GEs regularly on the progress and may ask them for input on the platform, features, and other aspects of the encyclopedia.
The chart below tentatively shows the process of developing an encyclopedia.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Who are the eContent team and what is their role?
The eContent team member assigned to an encyclopedia will be the day-to-day contact at T&F—they will work with GE and SEs to find and contract contributors, deliver the content to eProduction, keep the project on schedule, and communicate with sales and marketing. They will also set up and facilitate Editorial Manager, update records, and send contributor agreements (this will be done electronically).
Q. What is Editorial Manager?
Editorial Manager (EM) is a manuscript invitation, submission, and peer review system. Members of the eContent team have used EM across 30+ products for 5+ years, and we have found it to be the most effective system on the market for our needs. Virtually everything can be done through EM related to the editorial process, including but not limited to manuscript upload, metadata collection, reviewer invitation/ assignment, decisions, revisions, author letters, and automated author reminders. EM streamlines a lot of the ‘grunt work’ in the editorial process.
We will require that authors, GEs, SEs, etc. use EM but an eContent team member will be on hand to train and support them at all times.
Q. Does the general editor need to read every entry prior to final acceptance?
No, this is not necessary. As long as every entry receives two reviews (between the GE, SEs, and advisors) that should suffice for acceptance. You will, however, have the ability to see every entry through Editorial Manager should you choose.
Q. Who is the target audience?
This will depend on you and your subject area, we in general we are hoping to appeal to a broad audience (undergraduates and above). These are the ideal products for background research into a topic, as well as quick reference. E-encyclopedias will be sold to institutional (and occasionally commercial) libraries by annual subscription.
Q. How long is an entry and what does it consist of?
The ideal entry length will vary depending on the subject of the encyclopedia as well as the topic of the entry itself, but 3,000 to 5,000 words is a general guideline (of course, in some fields like nanoscience and medicine they might run quite a bit longer). We would recommend no fewer than 1,500 words because we hope the emphasize the scholarly value of these products (which will set us apart from sites like Wikipedia). Research we have commissioned indicates a preference for longer entries rather than dictionary-style/ stub entries (so err longer when in doubt).
An entry consists (at minimum) of the abstract (or “B” entry) which will go in front of the paywall; the body (or “main entry”) divided into sections; an annotated bibliography (not included in the word count); keywords; a list of related articles; and both bibliographic references and cross-references to other entries in the body of the text.
Q. How big is an e-encyclopedia/ how long does the whole process take?
We tentatively expect e-encyclopedias to be no fewer than 750,000 words (typical length 1.5-2 million words). That’s anywhere from 350 to 1,500 entries, depending on the size of each entry. (Remember the work will be divided between the GE and SEs.) And the project will grow with semiannual updates.
Of course it will vary, but on average we expect it will take 2-5 years before we have a full encyclopedia online if we start from scratch.
Q. What is the open access content posting model?
Under the open access plan, content will be posted almost as soon as we have it approved and will be free until we secure enough content to charge. The thresholds for posting the content as well as for “launch” (where we would begin charging) are still somewhat TBD but we plan to charge as soon as we have a minimum viable product (MVP).
The freemium model has several advantages. First, authors are incentivized to submit their work sooner as they’ll see their work publish right away (i.e., they don’t have to wait years for a complete product, by which time their work might be out of date—this was a common complaint with our old print encyclopedia program). Second, having free content serves as relatively low-cost advertising with articles that would otherwise just be sitting and waiting to publish.
Q. What kinds of interactive/ media features can we expect?
E-encyclopedias have intuitive navigation, search, browse, and other features on their sites. Each entry will have in-text cross-references to related content in the encyclopedia so readers can easily navigate to related topics. Cross-references have been rated very favorably in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Development research has shown that images, video, audio, and other media are highly desirable so we should encourage contributors and SEs to suggest/ include them whenever appropriate and possible. As needed, permissions will be applied for by a freelancer (to be found by the T&F).
Q: Who should I be approaching for the Section Editor roles?
For existing and forthcoming encyclopedias, we have wonderful Section Editors in all stages of their careers from recently tenured faculty to more well-established scholars. We recommend that potential Section Editors be colleagues who are above all reliable and likely to deliver in the agreed upon timeframes. The ideal SE is also someone who is easy to work with and has enough time to devote to the project.
Q. Can an entry reference works written in other languages than English?
Yes, and we suspect this may be necessary in some fields. We would recommend that when this occurs, contributors provide a translation of the title of the work in the bibliography and during the first mention in the text.
Q. How does cross-referencing work?
Entries will include links to related content within the body of the article. There will also be a list of related articles.
We expect contributors to suggest cross-references in the first instance, but the editor(s) may recommend additional cross-reference as appropriate during the review process.
Here is an example of cross-referencing in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Q. How often are the products updated after launch?
We anticipate the encyclopedias will be updated around twice per year after we begin charging. We have received sales feedback that the best timing for updates is usually around April and October, when institutions are reviewing their subscription budgets.
Q. What is the target for online updates?
We aim to add 10% new content each year, divided between new entries and revisions (as appropriate). This 10% figure is based on the size of the product when we begin charging for content and is not cumulative. For example, if we have 1 million words at launch we should aim to have 100K new content added each year.
Q. Can contributors write multiple entries? Are co-authors permitted?
Yes to both, and we can usually be a bit flexible with delivery if a contributor is willing to write more than one entry for us.