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Author Publication Guide

About Athabasca University Press

Athabasca University Press is Canada’s first open access scholarly press. Founded in 2007 with the principal aim of reducing barriers to knowledge and increasing access to scholarship, AU Press is committed to bringing the work of emerging and established scholars to the public. With both an open access journal and monograph program, we make a significant contribution to the growing body of academic and literary work available to a global readership at no cost to the reader.

As we embrace new publishing venues and the opportunities they present, we maintain a rigorous process of peer review and a high editorial and production standard for all of our output. We support each project with careful and creative marketing that assures authors of our intention to provide all of our published material, in a variety of formats, to the widest readership possible.

Manuscript Submission Guidelines

AU Press has cultivated a strong list of publications in the areas of distance education, labour studies, Métis and Indigenous studies, gender studies, and the environment. However, we welcome superior works of scholarship, regardless of subject area. We also have a particular interest in often neglected forms of social and cultural history, including oral history and memoir, and in works that are broadly iconoclastic—that experiment with narrative form and/or challenge received wisdom.

HINT: To find out more about book series at AU Press, please visit our series page.

AU Press accepts proposals for future projects, works in progress, and completed manuscripts. We are happy to provide collaborative consultation on your project, when needed. To submit any project to AU Press, you will must complete a prospectus form. The prospectus will tell us what your book is about, why it is important, and other details that will help the acquisitions editor get to know your book and its audience. Please note that we do not publish unrevised dissertations.

Prospectus form

Submit your prospectus form to the director at There is no need to submit a hard copy by mail at the time of submission. If the Press requires a hard copy we will request one.

Approval Process and Peer Review

Once you have submitted a complete manuscript to the acquisitions editor, they will begin an initial evaluation of the work. When the acquisitions editor is satisfied that the manuscript is ready for peer review, the work will be sent to two carefully selected readers in your discipline. Each reader will provide a written report to which you will be able to respond. AU Press follows a single-blind peer review process. The reports and your response will be brought forward to our Editorial Committee for consideration. The Committee will consider and discuss the material presented by the Press and will then determine whether the manuscript is accepted for publication as is, whether additional revisions are needed, or whether another course of action should be pursued.

In addition to matters of peer review, funding eligibility and other means of project support are considered. Please keep in mind that special projects such as manuscripts with an extensive art program or other additional components will be carefully scrutinized for financial viability. Authors from outside of Canada should note that foreign citizenship restricts our ability to secure funding.

HINT: If your book is eligible for the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP), we will apply on your behalf.

Final Manuscript Submission

Once your manuscript has been accepted for publication, you will receive an author package containing your contract and guidelines for your next steps. Your acquisitions editor will contact you regarding any revisions that need to be made before publication. Once you receive their feedback and you discuss any additional work that is required, you can begin to prepare your final manuscript. Please submit your final mansucript along with the “final manuscript checklist.”

Final Manuscript Checklist

Artwork for inclusion

Please ensure that all artwork that is intended to accompany the manuscript is submitted in a suitable format for print and that permission to reprint already published material has been secured. Each piece of artwork (digital photos, photographs, maps, charts, etc.) should be accompanied by a caption, source information, and a callout in the manuscript. Incomplete submissions will result in a delay in the production process.

For more information about submitted artwork go to Appendix A: Art Submission Guidelines.


Your acquisitions editor will discuss the index for your book and whether one is needed. Please note that fees associated with an index are incurred by the author. We recommend hiring a professional indexer to complete this work but you are welcome to create the index yourself.


AU Press works with a stable of trusted freelance copy editors. We will select a copy editor for your project who is familiar with your discipline. Once the manuscript has been edited, you will be given a chance to review the edits, answer queries, and make minor changes. You will then return the file for cleanup and final preparations for typesetting.


Most AU Press books are typeset in-house and each book is a given a custom design. Once your book has been layed out, the production coordinator will send you a proof of your book to review. As is stated in the author contract, proofreading is the responsibility of the author. You will be given between two and four weeks to complete this work and submit your list of changes. When we have incorporated your changes and the proofs have been finalized, we will send your book to a professional book printer. We work with only the best printers in Canada and they deliver printed products of the highest quality. It takes from 4–6 weeks for a book to be printed and an additional 3–4 weeks for the book to be shipped from the printers, to the warehouse, and then on to the vendors.

While your book is being printed, we will be preparing an epub and kindle file for our online vendors and will be posting a pdf copy of your book on our website that will be available for download. All AU Press books are available in these three formats.

Marketing and Promotion

The author is a critical component of every book marketing program. As the author, you will receive a marketing questionnaire that will help us find the best and broadest audience for your book. We will draft a marketing campaign unique to your book that will contain components appropriate for your book’s target audience.

Marketing of your book will begin with cover design and cataloguing, which beings around the same time your book is sent to the copyeditor. AU Press believes in the importance of design, both for reading and marketing. Our books are consistently selected for the Association of American University Press’s annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show and many have been shortlisted or have won the design awards at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards.

Your input will help us determine where to send review copies and where to focus a course adoption campaign. We also seek input on advertising, relevant conferences, listservs, and connections with current events.

The immediate online access provided by our open access mandate makes social media an effective tool for marketing our digital content. Therefore we put as much emphasis on digital marketing as traditional forms of publicity. We maintain a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and regularly post about our books on our blog. We are also interested in experimenting with other social media tools and have worked with video, podcasting, and Facebook Live.

AU Press regularly attends conferences and exhibits our books. Most notably, we exhibit annually at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities and our books are on display at conferences such as American Historical Association, Parkland Institute, American Political Science Association, American Sociological Association, Ethnohistory, Distance Teaching and Learning, Word on the Street Lethbridge, and Capital City Press Festival. When we cannot attend a conference or event in person, we work in partnership with our distributors to ensure that our books are visible at relevant events.


AU Press books are distributed by UBC Press who maintains agreements with worldwide distributors and provides trade representation through Ampersand. All AU Press titles are warehoused at UTP Distribution in Ontario and we keep only a small number of books at our office in Edmonton. For a full list of our distributors around the world, please visit the ordering information page on our website.

Appendix A: Art Submission Guidelines

If you are including digital art in your manuscript submission in the form of digital photographs captured through scanning or art created using a software program, you will need to submit each piece as a separate file.

HINT: Do not embed digital art in your manuscript document. Most word processors automatically compress images or figures placed in a document to reduce the overall file size which reduces the quality of the image, making the image or figure unusable for print publication.

There are three types of digital art:

  1. Scans of photographs;
  2. Digital photos captured on a digital camera; and
  3. Vector-based drawings such as maps, graphs, and diagrams.


If you wish to submit a scanned photo with your manuscript please take it to a graphic arts professional who can scan it using professional equipment. Please submit scans intended for use on the interior of the book at 5” x 8” at 300 ppi.

HINT: Do not use your personal printer at home to scan photographs for inclusion in your manuscript.

If the photograph you are submitting is of poor quality the scan will be too. So please consider the quality of the source image before including it with your manuscript.

Digital Photos

Digital photos are taken by a digital camera and therefore do not need to be scanned. Digital photos should be submitted at a minimum size of 5” x? 8” at 300 ppi. If you have discussed including colour photos in your manuscript with the Press, please provide them in CMYK format. Preferred image formats include .tiff and .jpg.

HINT: Check the resolution of your digital photos before submitting.

Charts, Graphs, and Diagrams

Prepare your charts, graphs, and diagrams to the best of your ability using either Adobe Illustrator or Microsoft Word. As you prepare them consider the fact that the interior of your book is likely to be black and white, not colour, and that the dimensions of a standard book are 6” wide by 9” tall with margins on the top, bottom, and left and right sides.? If we decide that a chart or graph needs to be redrawn, we will need access to the source data, so please include source data with your figures wherever possible.

Numbering and Placing Art

Please number figures (photographs and line art) and maps separately and do not number frontispieces or jacket art. Start with 1 and number the pieces sequentially (fig. 1, fig. 2, etc.) in a single-authored book. In an edited collection include the chapter number in your numbering of figures (fig 1.1, fig 2.1, fig 2.2, fig 2.3, fig 3.1, etc.).

Indicate where you would like to place the art in the manuscript. For example <insert figure 1.1 here> could be inserted at the end of the paragraph.

Appendix B: Permissions

If you are wishing to include material in either text or image form that has been previously published online or in print, you will need to seek permission from the rights holder to reproduce it as a part of your book.

HINT: It is important that you seek permission to reproduce material that has been previously published online or in print, even if you are the creator of that work.

The first thing you will need to do is determine who the rights holder is. In the case of text that has previously appeared as a part of a book, begin your search by contacting the publisher, who is likely the rights holder (consult the copyright page to determine if this is the case). Once you have confirmed who holds the rights, you must request permission to reproduce that work as a part of your book. The language around this is specific so please, whenever possible, use the forms provided by the Press to complete this work. In the case of visual art, the artist is more likely to be the holder of the rights, therefore you might want to begin your search there.


Some publishers and/or rights holders will require you to pay a fee to reproduce their material. Permission fees will be incurred by the author unless another arrangement has been made with the Press.

Appendix C: Open Access and Licensing

All AU Press books are licensed with a Creative Commons License. The Creative Commons license that we use most often is CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it protects our authors’ works.

CC stands for Creative Commons.

BY represents “attribution” which means the author of the work must be properly credited.

NC stands for NonCommercial which means that others can copy, distribute, display, perform the work but they are not allowed to share the work for profit.

ND stands for NoDerivatives which means that others cannot modify the work.

One of the purposes of the license is to keep the press informed about how our material is being adapted for other uses.

Appendix D: Style Guides

Please follow the latest version of the Chicago Manual of Style when preparing your manuscript. You may choose the author-date or notes and bibliography system, depending on your preference. If you would like to use a different style, please consult with your acquisitions editor as to your reasons for selecting another style. Note that books in the Issues in Distance Education series generally follow APA style.

Spelling should conform to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.