Q: Which is considered the highest academic publication among a book, an edited book, and a book chapter?

Detailed Question -

What is the difference among a book, an edited book, and a book chapter? Which one is considered the highest academic publication? This is about our national policy on award output wherein a book has higher value compared with an edited book.

1 Answer to this question

First, let’s ensure we’ve got your question(s) correctly. You wish to understand which is considered superior – an authored book or an edited book – because chapters are to be found in both types of books. It appears that the book chapter you are referring to is one that would be found in an edited book. So, let’s look at edited books and authored books in some more detail.

Edited books contain chapters usually written by different authors who are experts in their field. An editor (or a group of editors) puts together articles from various sources. While each chapter deals with the same topic, chapters may present diverse – sometimes even contradictory – perspectives, guided by the authors’ respective areas of expertise. Such collections of chapters focusing on a certain theme are particularly valuable to emerging fields. Contributing chapter authors are credited with their work within the text and through individual chapter-level citations, but edited books ultimately give the full publication-level credit to the editors when referencing the work.

An authored book is a book written by one or more individuals. Instead of having a collection of many different 'articles,' the book serves as a comprehensive treatise on the subject as a whole. The authors guide the reader through the entire subject, and all ideas are the authors’ own. Credit for the full publication is always given to the authors. Such books could have one or more authors, a corporate author [e.g., American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association], or even no author [e.g., SPSSx: User’s guide. (1983). Chicago, IL: SPSS].

From the characteristics of both types of books, it is clear that they serve different purposes, making both crucial contributors to the scholarly literature.

Coming to your primary question, without knowing your country, it is difficult to comment on the education or research policies of the country on rewarding one over the other. However, having an entire book to one’s credit might appear to hold more weight over having authored chapters in one or more edited books, as the former would reflect the author’s expertise on a broad subject. Another parameter to consider would be the publisher of the book. A chapter in an edited book published by a well-known publisher might be considered more valuable than an authored book published by an obscure or unknown publisher.

Hope that answers your question(s).

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