Prospective Authors


Submitting a Proposal

The Harvard University Asia Center Publications Program welcomes submissions of original scholarly studies on both traditional and modern East Asia in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. Most of our publications deal with China, Japan, or Korea, but we do publish a few works on Southeast Asia. Note, however, that East Asia must be the primary geographic focus of the work. 

Our series feature books by individual authors, but we do occasionally publish edited volumes. Edited and conference volumes will, however, be reviewed and considered for publication only on two conditions: (1) the Asia Center Publications Committee may, at its discretion, opt to make the work available only in an on-line edition rather than in published print version; (2) the editors of the volume provide a subsidy sufficient to cover the costs of editing and production. The Publications Program will consider translations of literary works only if the translation is embedded within a work of scholarly analysis. Proposals for Asian-language textbooks and collections of readings intended for classroom use are also accepted.

The initial submission should consist of four items:

(1) your CV;
(2) the table of contents;
(3) a description of the book, such as a prospectus;
(4) the introduction and, if available, a representative chapter.  

Please send us these files as email attachments. Your cover letter should include information on:
(1) the approximate length of the manuscript in total number of words (please note our limit of 130,000 words inclusive of bibliography and notes);
(2) the anticipated number and type of tables, figures, illustrations, and maps; 
(3) the current status of the manuscript and the date you expect to complete it;
(4) any elements that will require special handling or typesetting.

We will circulate these materials among the members of the Asia Center Publications Committee with knowledge of the subject and canvass their opinion. This stage generally takes a few weeks. If the verdict is favorable, we will invite you to submit the complete manuscript for review. Do not send us a copy of the complete manuscript until invited.

Submission inquiries should be emailed to the director at They may be mailed to:
Director, Asia Center Publications Program
1730 Cambridge Street 
CGIS South Building, Room S118
Cambridge, MA  02138-4317


Preparing the Manuscript for Review

We need two hard copies and one electronic version of the manuscript, which should include all elements in the book except the dedication, acknowledgments, and index. The former would best be submitted as single-sided sheets secured with rubber bands; the latter should come as a single Word or PDF file. A manuscript that is physically easy to read and to handle is less likely to generate irritation among reviewers. Please adhere to the following guidelines when preparing your manuscript:

(1) Use a large size of type (11 or 12 points). 
(2) Leave one-inch margins on all sides. 
(3) Doublespace the text proper. Set-off block quotations and footnotes can be singlespaced. 
(4) Be sure that each page is numbered. Consecutive numbering of the pages throughout the manuscript is best; if each chapter is paginated separately, the running heads should indicate the chapter as well as the page number.
(5) At the review stage, footnotes are preferable to endnotes and are more likely to be read.

Multiple Submissions

Many presses will undertake the review of a manuscript only if the author agrees not to send the work to other presses for review at the same time. The Asia Center will review a work that is under consideration by another press provided that the author agrees to keep us informed about the progress of the other review process and to let us know if it appears that the other press is about to accept the manuscript. This allows us to stop our own review process. This is in the author’s best interest as well. Manuscript reviewing is a tedious and ill-paid process, and readers do not take kindly to learning that their work was unnecessary.  


The Review Process

We commission two reports on each manuscript we consider for publication. If the reports are favorable, the author is shown copies (shorn of any information that might identify the reviewer) and asked to respond to the readers’ comments. The reports and the author’s response are then sent to the members of the Publications Committee, who will discuss and vote on the project in a quarterly meeting.

We try to keep the review process moving. You should, however, expect the review to take a minimum of three to four months; it may well take longer. Be advised that we cannot guarantee that the review process will be quick or that the reports will recommend publication. Nor do favorable reports necessarily mean that our Publications Committee will vote to accept the manuscript for publication in our series.