Review a book

Book Review at NJSTS

Book reviews are a highly valued component of our journal. They demonstrate thoughtful engagement and contain stimulating insights about recent publications of interest to our readers. The book reviews should address the following:

  • A careful summary of the book’s central features, including its subject matter, organization, how the argument is structured; and context within the relevant scholarly and/or policy debates; and
  • Analysis of how the work contributes to the relevant field(s) of knowledge and/or theoretical literatures, including any perceived shortcomings; in other words, how successful was the work in achieving its stated goals?

The review should not include passages that simply promote the reviewer’s own work or engage in ad hominem attacks. Critical engagement is welcomed but on the basis of substantive points rather than solely on ideological differences. Book reviews should be written in clear and comprehensible English that does not require in-depth editing or rewriting. If we judge a book review fails to meet this standard for clarity, it will be sent back to the reviewer for revision.

Your review will contribute to our intellectual community, not only by informing readers about recent scholarly publications, but also by more broadly sustaining the practice of serious, careful, and diplomatic yet critical exchange that lies at the heart of the scholarly endeavor.

Before accepting or proposing to review a book, please consider the following:

  • Do you have time to write the review within the specified timeframe? Please bear in mind that incomplete reviews result in disappointment for the book authors and editors.
  • Should you exclude yourself from writing the review based on a potential conflict of interest?

In order to maintain the integrity of the review process we aim to exclude from consideration reviewers who have a potential conflict of interest with authors. The professional obligation to self-declare potential conflict of interest is triggered when there is a relationship that falls into the following categories:

  • former or current advisors and advisees,
  • current departmental colleagues,
  • former or current co-authors,
  • previous reviewers of the manuscript for a press,
  • or if you have well-documented strong scholarly, ideological or personal disagreements with the author.

If you feel you fall into one of these or other categories of potential conflict of interest, we would appreciate your letting us know so that we can find another reviewer. If you have any doubts or concerns regarding whether you are in a potential situation of conflict of interest or not, please contact us.

If you have been invited to review a book but are unable to do so for the above or other reasons, we would welcome your suggestions for other reviewers who you feel have the appropriate level and type of expertise.


Before Submitting Your Review

 If you decide to accept our invitation, please consider the following prior to submitting your review:

  • Does the word count fall within a range of 1,000–2,000 words (excluding the bibliographic information and reviewer information)? In the interest of fairness and equity in allocating word space for each review, our policy is to keep review texts within the confined range.
  • Does the review summarize the book’s central features (including its subject matter, organization, and argument structure), and analyze its contributions to the relevant scholarly fields? We believe that our journal’s readership benefits from concise summaries and fair engagement and/or criticism of the quality and significance of the information and arguments contained in the book.
  • Has the review been proofread for any typos or errors, and is it formatted properly? Specifically, we would appreciate your attention to the following: 
  1. Reviewers should confirm that any diacritical marks are rendered correctly.
  2. If direct quotations are made, please ensure that these are accurate and that the page reference is supplied (in parentheses) after the quote.
  3. Avoid citing your own work, if there is a compelling reason to do so keep the number to the absolute minimum.
  4. At the head of the review, please provide the following bibliographic information: the title of the work, names of authors or editors, publisher and year.

This text has been adapted from the book review guidelines of Pacific Affairs.