The Nordic Africa Institute

Africa Now – the work process

How we work to ensure the high quality of the publication series

Africa Now is a book series that the Nordic Africa Institute publishes in collaboration with London-based publisher Zed, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It features high-quality, peer reviewed and original research from leading academics and researchers. The series targets researchers as well as policy makers.

Most Africa Now-titles are edited volumes in which the chapters are written by different researchers to bring together a variation of studies, observations, conclusions, viewpoints and experiences on a common theme. Apart from the thematic focus, the Africa Now-books normally also have a geographic focus, for example on a country, a continental subregion or in some cases on Africa in general. The chapters are compiled, coordinated and harmonised by an editor, or in many cases two or more editors.

We at the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) use a plagiarism checker service to guarantee that all texts in the Africa Now series are original works, not republished.

Here is a description of how we work to guarantee academic scrutiny and quality in each step of the work process:

1. NAI’s proposal review

Book proposals submitted to the Africa Now series are first reviewed by the NAI Publication Committee (PC). For a proposal to be reviewed, it should consist of (1) a summary or concept note, (2) a draft introduction, and (3) at least one sample chapter. Before making its decision about the submitted proposal, the PC usually submits the proposal to a double blind peer review, involving at least a couple of peer reviewers. These are the criteria upon which the proposal is reviewed:

  • the relevance of the addressed themes, issues and questions, based on the NAI strategy 2022-2026.
  • the academic merits of the editors and authors
  • the quality and relevance of the suggested use of theory and methods
  • the originality of the research presented
  • the text submitted must not have been published elsewhere before (However, a revision of a previously published text can be accepted if the reviewers consider the revision to be of such a nature that it gives the text a new originality).

If the PC gives its approval, the proposal continues to the NAI Management Group (MG) which decides whether NAI can take on the book project based on budget and available financing opportunities. If the proposal is accepted by the MG as well, the process moves into the next phase – Zed’s book proposal review.

2. Zed’s review processes

Zed is an imprint of Bloomsbury. Consequently, the Africa Now series follows Bloomsbury’s publishing process, which sets forth that the proposal should be review by a minimum of two, but sometimes four or five, peers. Later on, the submitted manuscript will be sent out for yet another round of peer reviewing. The proposal and manuscript reviews are described on Bloomsbury’s website External link.. The review is done in accordance with COPE’s Ethical guidelines for peer reviewers External link..

3. From review to publishing

After peer reviewing and consequent revisions, the book goes on to language editing and layout / typesetting, before it is finally ready for printing and publishing. Both NAI and Zed/Bloomsbury embrace the Open Access (OA) principles of making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research. After an embargo period of nine months, all titles in the Africa Now series are OA-published in full text online at the online academic archive Diva External link., NAI’s platform for digital publishing and registration of publications.

You can find more information about Open Access at Bloomsbury, including a guide for authors, at Bloomsbury's website External link, opens in new window..