Scholarly book reviews have always played a crucial role in informing readers about new academic publications and helping them find authors diffusing research in their field. A well-balanced, engaging and informative book review published in a scholar-ly journal, especially if penned by a recognised expert, provides valuable exposure for authors, offering visibility, impact and attention.

Everyone appreciates reading a well-constructed critique that draws out a book’s key arguments, evaluates the quality of its content and highlights the significance of the research findings.

A review can generate a conversation and even establish gaps in literature, paying a substantial service to the scholarly community. The debate can easily spread to social media channels, further amplifying the message and promoting the academic book that generated it. A solid review will also encourage institutional libraries to purchase the book.

The promotion offered by a well-written review not only helps advance an academic author’s career by securing a promotion, but might result in invitations to speak at conferences and a rise in their professional profile, potentially leading to collaborations in prestigious research networks.

Scholarly book reviews in today’s digital age

The communication and dissemination of knowledge has become more complex due to the rapid evolution of digital technologies.

A wide range of opportunities is available to scientists to promote their work – websites, blogs, self-publishing platforms, institutional repositories, peer reviewed journals and scholarly publishing, online academic networks…

In our daily lives we have to navigate through vast amounts of data to find the information we need. In a similar way, scholarly book reviews enable academics to cut through the huge output advertised online on different platforms and in the huge number of catalogues provided by publishers.

Academics struggle to balance increasing workloads, the growing pressure to publish and the need to keep abreast of publications in their field.

Reviews help researchers to keep abreast of new developments and assess the quality and appropriateness of publications.

Most academic journals provide a curation service, selecting books and commissioning reviews that are relevant to their readership. This fosters the critical thinking, deep subject knowledge and exposure to current trends that are crucial for scholars. Some scholarly journals also accept unsolicited reviews and this is a good opportunity for early-career researchers to boost their publication list.

Book reviews provide great value to the academic community, stimulating debate and discussion. The short length of the review and its accessibility can also engage wider audiences outside academia, especially if the research field might also be of interest to non-academic audiences such as industry practitioners, policy and decision makers, and the general public.

Many Sciendo journals publish book reviews. Find out the wide range of academic fields on offer by visiting here.