Instructions for Book Reviewers

Books Needing Review   |   Instructions for Reviewer   |   Submitting a Book for Review

REVIEW POLICY: Because of problems with a few reviewers, there is a strict review policy. Those asking to review these books are thereby agreeing to this policy. Reviewers who do not return reviews to me according to schedule with be given three options:

  1. provide a review,
  2. pay the going rate for the book so we can replace it, or
  3. send the book back ASAP.

Please consider the following points when reviewing books. Remember, our limit is 500 words, so be concise!

  1. Be critical yet constructive. If you do not like some aspect of the book, suggest how it might be improved.
  2. Indicate the potential readership of a book. Does it address a narrow group of scientists or does it have wider applications? Is it a book for libraries or for individual purchase?
  3. Compare the merit of other books which overlap or duplicate contents of the review text.
  4. Is the book up to date? Note any long delays in publishing information, particularly in disciplines where the speed of progress is rapid (e.g., molecular biology).
  5. Is the design of the book appealing? Design is an important issue.
  6. Is the index useful? Consider also how lists of information are arranged, and whether these will help the reader search for a particular item or topic.
  7. Describe the contents of the book, but consider carefully whether a chapter by chapter listing in your review is essential.
  8. Highlight important mistakes of fact or typographical errors, but use only key examples to illustrate these.
  9. Comment on value for money. This is one of few opportunities to express our views to publishers -- to praise good value and lament high prices.

For those who do not regularly review books, or for whom this is the first attempt, it is not necessary to read the whole book! The review should give a flavor of the book and include your critical comments (both positive and adverse) but does not need to dissect the text from start to finish.

Adapted from notes by SEB UK Member Eric Boa