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Guidelines for Reviewers

Thank you for agreeing to be part of MAA Reviews! Enclosed is a book for your review. The standard deadline is “one or two months after you receive the book,” but we can be very flexible about this; if you expect to take longer, just let your editor know. Getting a thoughtful review is more important than getting it quickly.

 

If this is your first review for us, please check out the Guidelines for Reviewers, which you can find on the website and below.  It’s also a good idea to read some recent reviews to get a feeling for our style.  

The MAA’s Reviews and Basic Library List editorial board consider all newly reviewed books for their list of library recommendations. (Click on “The Basic Library List” for more information.) If you have an opinion on adding a book to the BLL, let us know. If the book is already in the BLL, the committee would like to know if you agree with their recommendation and rating.

Please send your review by email to the editor who arranged for the review. You will be notified when your review is published.  

Finally, are you a member of MAA? If not, please consider joining the Association. By doing that, you will help support MAA Reviews, Project NExT, the Putnam, and many other things the MAA does for and with the mathematics community.

 

Guidelines for reviewers

 

The big picture

 

  • The intended audience for our reviews are members of the MAA or people who might become MAA members.   Ideally, your review should be accessible to a broad audience of mostly Ph.D. level mathematicians.

  • Many readers use the site to help them find introductory books about a topic outside of their expertise or to help in the selection of course textbooks.  

  • Your review should help the reader understand what is in the book and what is not in the book.  Comment on unusual choices of content and any important topics that seem to be missing. Don’t simply repeat the table of contents as we provide a link to the table of contents on the website.

  • To what extent is the book a research monograph, a reference, a textbook, a memoir, or a popular account?  Some books blur these distinctions. 

  • What audience is the book written for?  What prerequisite knowledge is assumed? Is the book accessible to a general audience? undergraduate students? graduate students? advanced researchers only?

  • What features does the book include?  Exercises? Sample codes? datasets? Is the book well referenced? Is there a usable index?  

  • Your review should evaluate the book and if possible compare with other books on the subject.

  • Reviews are typically about 400-600 words but this can vary quite a bit in length.  Use the space that you need to write a complete review. Contact your editor if in doubt.

 

Formatting

 

  • Reviews can be submitted as plain text, LaTeX, or Word, but realize that most formatting will be stripped from your review to prepare it for the web.

  • Do not use underlining. Use boldface only where it is essential. To emphasize, use italics. For book titles, also Italics. For titles of articles, “quotes.”

  • Footnotes will be converted to parenthetical remarks. Similarly, we avoid reference lists at the end of reviews.

  • If you refer to a book that we have reviewed, a link to that review will suffice as a reference; if the book has not been reviewed, it’s ok to supply some of the publishing information in a parenthetical note.

  • References to journal papers are seldom needed, but if you must include them, then cite them in a parenthetical note.   

  • The website uses LaTeX/Mathjax for mathematical formulas.  You can put these into your review in LaTeX notation using \( and \) as math delimiters rather than $ $. If you use the MS Word equation editor, we will have to retype your formulas.  Please provide a .pdf copy of your review for checking the formulas if you used Word. 

  • Please append to your review a sentence or two “about the reviewer”. If you want to list your email address, this is where it should go. Links to your home page or other sites are fine.   

  • Please fill out, sign, and return the Transfer of Copyright Agreement- this can be faxed or emailed to Carol Baxter at the MAA Office.

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