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Open Peer Review

Please note our publication ethics policy as well as the following procedures for quality review of contributions in our series or as an individual title. In case of conflicts during the open peer review process, different instances can be contacted.

Since the founding of the press in 2011, FAU University Press has used the term "open peer review" to mean that the reviewers are known during the review process; in addition, revision instructions from the reviews, for example in the case of thesis or other assessed papers, may have to be discussed with third parties such as the supervisors and can be passed on from the author's side for this purpose. Singular additional practices of other publishers with regard to the term "open peer review", such as public calls for comments on preprints or the co-publication of reviews, are currently not being applied.


In accordance with the Open Science Policy of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU), FAU University Press promotes the most open form of academic communication possible. This also includes non-anonymous reviews of book manuscripts submitted.

Academic book projects are often long-term processes involving considerable expenditure. The important decision whether to publish or not should not be taken anonymously but needs to be made as part of an academic consultation process. Randomised controlled studies (such as Van Rooyen et al. and Vinther et al.) have shown that the quality of publications is not impaired if a blind review process is switched to an open peer review process.

One of the main problems with the open peer review process is the fear that younger reviewers, in particular, may be worried by their loss of anonymity. This could mean, for example, that they might feel pressurised to take a more restrained or positive approach when reviewing papers by established professors so that they do not put their own future career prospects at risk. However, this would be deemed academic misconduct if a reviewer were to be disadvantaged as a result of having provided a negative review of a manuscript.

Nevertheless, FAU University Press only commissions researchers from various disciplines with a long track record to review book manuscripts to ensure that they will not be influenced or placed under pressure by the circumstances outlined above.

The reviewers

FAU University Press differentiates between three publication series.

  • The FAU Forschungen series papers are reviewed by all members of the Academic Advisory Board of FAU University Press. This is composed of eminent researchers who do not have any commercial links with and are not in any other way dependent on FAU University Press. As an independent advisory board, it also generally monitors the academic quality and integrity of the activities of FAU University Press.
  • The FAU Studien series mainly consists of postdoctoral dissertations and other dissertations. These are reviewed by the series editors; moreover, a recommendation from the relevant supervising professor is also required. The series editors also have no monetary interest in the series publications, but are only responsible for the academic quality of the published titles.
  • In addition, there are individual titles such as exhibition catalogs or conference proceedings. These are usually not subject to a formal peer review process, but if the board of FAU University Press considers it necessary, they may be reviewed by specialists in the subjects working in the University Library who will provide constructive input. As FAU University Press is organisationally closely linked to the University Library, the subject specialists are not formally regarded as external reviewers, but they are naturally encouraged to ensure that the best possible quality is maintained.

In addition to existing publication series, certain new interdisciplinary series such as ‘FAU Kunst und Bildung’ and ‘FAU Lehren und Lernen’ have appeared. These are usually published by individual or all members of the relevant interdisciplinary center, such as the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aesthetic Education (IZÄB), and these are subject to review by the series editors equivalent to that of the publications in the ‘FAU Studien’ series.

All series editors and members of the Academic Advisory Board are listed at "Editors" , while the subject specialists of the University Library are listed on the following external website:

The Review Process

Any book manuscripts submitted are first reviewed by the board of FAU University Press. If the manuscripts to be published as part of the FAU Forschungen series are found to meet the acceptance criteria, the Academic Advisory Board is contacted and the review process is initiated. The review is undertaken in compliance with the guidelines below. The final decision with justifying statements and review notes are forwarded to the author. Authors are requested to implement any necessary changes or, if they regard any such criticism as unjustified, to defend their original text. If necessary, a joint session with the Academic Advisory Board may be convened to discuss the matter. In situations in which it is found that extensive revision is required, manuscripts will be subject to further review after this has been implemented.

Publications submitted for the FAU Studien series are subject to an equivalent review by the series editors if these are positively assessed by the relevant supervising professor and the board of FAU University Press. If necessary, a joint session can be convened with the board of FAU University Press to discuss any revisions requested which the author considers to be unjustified.

All reviewers have entered into an obligation to assess and evaluate only the academic quality of any manuscript. In addition, the series editors are required to assess the relevance of a manuscript to the subject of the series in question.

Review Guidelines

FAU University Press aims to produce academic literature of high quality at reasonable cost. As FAU University Press is part, in both personnel and organisational terms, of the University Library, all its activities are undertaken with no profit-making motive. This allows FAU University Press to maintain a high degree of independence, thus placing the focus on quality instead of quantity. In order to ensure that this is the case, FAU University Press places particular emphasis on the following aspects of submitted manuscript reviews; reviewers are requested to take particularly note of these, determine the degree to which manuscripts comply with these and propose any revisions they may consider necessary to provide for compliance:

  • Subject relevance and originality
  • Appropriate use of sources, i.e. correct, non-plagiarised and trend-free citation of the most important international reference works on the subject
  • Academic quality of a manuscript (structured format, use of technical terminology, logical argumentation, proficient use of the foreign language in question if the manuscript is not published in the author’s first language)

The manuscripts are only typeset after review and formatting issues will usually not need to be taken into account by reviewers (unless appearance is particularly relevant to content).

Reviews are generally undertaken in three phases. The most important part is the decision:

  • Accepted without revision
  • Accepted with minor revisions
  • Accepted with major revisions
  • Rejected.

The second phase involves stating the justification for the decision, with reference to the aspects outlined above and their relative importance. Individual linguistic weaknesses (grammatical errors, mistakes in foreign languages), for example, cannot be cited as the reason for rejection of a manuscript. In such cases, an external editor and proofreader may be appointed.

The third phase involves the specification of proposed revisions and enquiries. These are entered directly into the manuscript, for example using the track changes option or comments option.