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APIII, Pittsburgh, PA Tues., Sept. 11, 2007, 11:30 am-12:30 pm Jules J. Berman, MD, PhD author and series editor for the Jones & Bartlett Publishers Series in Biomedical Informatics. Book Publishing in Biomedical Informatics.

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book publishing in biomedical informatics

APIII, Pittsburgh, PA

Tues., Sept. 11, 2007, 11:30 am-12:30 pm

Jules J. Berman, MD, PhD

author and

series editor for

the Jones & Bartlett Publishers

Series in Biomedical Informatics

Book Publishing in Biomedical Informatics
purpose of today s workshop

To let you know the situation regarding book publishing in the field of biomedical informatics.

To give you some idea of the process of getting a book published (based on my own experiences).

To get others who have had book publishing experiences to share their experiences (which may be quite different from mine).

To encourage people to write books that will ultimately improve the practice of medicine through the application of biomedical informatics.

Purpose of today's workshop

Although I am a series editor for Jones & Bartlett, and the Jones & Bartlett name will come up again and again, I encourage everyone to consider other publishers if they decide to write a book.

I have names and contact information for other publishers.

(Stephen Weaver, freelance editor,

I don't plan to say anything in this lecture that favors Jones & Bartlett over any other publisher.



Undergrad at MIT (degrees in Math and Earth Sciences), MD at U of Miami

PhD in pathology at Temple University, Residency in pathology at George Washington U, postdoc at NCI

Chief of Anatomic Pathology, Baltimore VA

Program Director of Pathology Informatics, Cancer Diagnosis Program, NCI

Full-time author - 2005 until I can't write any more


Journal Articles – Authors aren't permitted to include anything that they haven't proved.

Books – Just right. Author has a chance to tell a story in her own words, but is held responsible for what she writes.

Meeting presentations – Presenters are permitted to say anything, and nobody really has the chance to set the record straight.


We need Biomedical Informatics books because:

1. Few people have any real expertise in biomedical informatics (few people in the informatics field can program in any language or have studied any set of books in the field).

2. Field is currently dominated by vendors (the people in the field wait passively for vendors to provide the next important application).

3. The vendors are bogged down by a morass of complex data standards and seemingly intractable technical, social and legal problems (so we end up buying systems that we complain about).

4. Books do things that journal articles can't.


Important Biomedical Informatics books would be:

Books that combine two or more medical/scientific disciplines into a new discipline capable of answering important questions that none of the component disciplines could answer alone.

Books that train people to solve a problems that could not be solved with traditional approaches in computer science or medicine or biology.

Books that unblock an impasse or offer fresh approaches to a seemingly intractable problem in the field.


The Process of writing a book:

1. Write and submit a book proposal to a publisher.

2. Negotiate a contract.

3. Write the first draft of the book.

4. Get the first draft reviewed.

5. Write a final draft of the book. There may be a second round of reviews needed.

6. Correct first set of copy edits.


The Process of writing a book (Continued)

7. Correct second set of copy edits.

8. Correct third set of copy edits (sometimes).

9. Create index (sometimes)

10. Wait several months for publication

11. Receive a small number of books free

12. Receive royalties

major decisions 1 type of book 2 audience 3 authors if not single author book
Major Decisions

1. Type of book

2. Audience

3. Authors (if not single author book)


Unsolicited Advice

1. Don't do it for the money (it's unlikely that the Royalties will compensate you adequately for your time).

2. Don't do it if you're not going to enjoy doing it (it's a lot of work, and you'll be miserable if you don't love the labor)

3. Don't do it if you have nothing to add to the subject of the book (why bother if you're not creating something of your own).