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Information for publishers and authors

How to enter

The call for entries for the 2021 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize has now closed. 

For enquiries please contact sciencebooks@royalsociety.org.

The Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize has championed outstanding popular science writing and authors since 1988. Currently it is the only major international prize that celebrates all areas of science writing for a non-specialist audience.

The Prize is awarded each year by a panel of expert judges to the book that makes science accessible to a mass audience through exciting and engaging content. The judging panel is selected to include a Royal Society Fellow, one of the most eminent scientists in the world, and Royal Society Research Fellow, selected as an outstanding early career scientist, and high profile individuals from the cultural and literary world. Pivotal in promoting a wider understanding of science and its role in society, the Prize advocates books that challenge the public perception that science writing can be too difficult or uninteresting to engage readers.  

Key dates 

Date Details
1 February 2021 Call for entries opens
25 March 2021 Call for entries closes
June 2021 Judging panel announced
September 2021 Shortlist announced
October 2021 Winner announced at award ceremony 

Entry process 

1. Each book entered must be submitted by the book’s publisher.
2. Ensure you have read all the terms of entry on this page before submitting your entry/entries. 
3. For each book you are entering:

  • Complete the full online entry form. A separate form must be completed for each book.   
  • A PDF copy of each book must be submitted through the online entry form or by emailing it to sciencebooks@royalsociety.org

Due to current coronavirus restrictions in the UK please do not send any paper/physical copies of the submitted titles. The Royal Society will request copies at an appropriate time.

Eligibility criteria

  1. The subject matter of the books entered may include any aspect of popular science and technology, including biographies of scientists and technologists, and histories of science and technology. 
  2. The Prize rewards books that best contribute to making science more accessible to public adult audiences. Judges will look for books they deem stimulating, engaging, clear, accessible, and high-quality. These books might challenge people’s views that science is too difficult, boring, or inaccessible.
  3. The judges’ interpretation of “popular science books” excludes books published primarily for scientific, professional or specialist audiences and pure reference works including encyclopaedias, educational textbooks, and descriptive books. The judges’ decision on the eligibility of an entry is final.
  4. Books in the same series may be judged together or separately, at the sole discretion of the judges.
  5. The first publication in English must have been between 1 July 2020 and 30 September 2021 inclusive for all books entered. Books which were first published between 1 July 2020 and 30 September 2020 may only be submitted on the condition that they were not submitted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2020. The only exceptions are for any books in which:
    i. Any member of the judging panel has a direct involvement, which may be deferred for consideration in the following year.
    ii. The Chair of Judges has agreed prior to submission that there have been extenuating circumstances. 
  6. Books entered must be in the English language.
  7. Books entered must be available to purchase in the UK through a UK bookstore or through an online retailer at time of entry.
  8. Books entered which haven’t been published yet are eligible as long as preview copies of the book (proof or manuscripts) are available by 1 April 2021. Uncorrected proofs, manuscripts or PDF sections of the book are acceptable as a preview copy, providing that the final versions are sent to the Royal Society before 10 June 2021. Books that are in the process of being reprinted at the time of entry (e.g.: as paperback when originally published as hardback) are acceptable.
  9. Employees and Officers of the Royal Society or any associated company of the Royal Society and their immediate families, persons connected with the competition/prize draw and their immediate families will not be eligible to submit publications.
  10. There is no restriction on the geographical location of the publisher of any entry. There are no restrictions on the nationality, age or any other characteristic of the author(s) or illustrator(s) of any entry. 
  11. Due to current coronavirus restrictions in the UK please do not submit paper copies until requested. However, upon request from the Royal Society, the titles entered must be available paper-based and bound. For printed books we would expect the latest edition of the paperback or hardback. For eBooks we would expect the current edition of the eBook, printed and bound.
  12. A PDF version of each book must be submitted. Submissions without a PDF will not be considered. PDF’s can be submitted to sciencebooks@royalsociety.org.
  13. Publishers may submit as many books as they wish and are encouraged to do so. 
  14. There is no charge to enter.

Regulations

  1. The Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2021 (the Prize) will be awarded to the author(s) of a book that is judged to best meet with these terms of entry.
  2. Books must be submitted by the publisher. The submission of an author’s work by the publisher will be taken as agreement for their work to be considered.
  3. For 2021, prizes of up to a total of £37,500 are awarded:
    i. The author of the winning book will receive £25,000 .
    ii. £2500 per book is awarded to the author(s) of up to five shortlisted books.
    iii. All the prize money will be awarded as described above. Where a book has more than one author, the Royal Society will agree the allocation of the prize money with the publisher.
  4. The judging panel is appointed by the Royal Society. The judges’ decision is final.
  5. By entering the publisher is committed to supplying up to 7 gratis copies of each title submitted upon request from the Royal Society.
  6. In the event of a book being shortlisted for a Prize, publishers agree that they will:
    a) Contribute 10 additional gratis  copies of the book to be used by the Royal Society for promoting the book and the Prize.
    b) Supply within 10 working days upon notification of shortlisting: book synopsis, author biography, high-resolution electronic photographs of the author(s) and book cover cleared for perpetual, royalty-free use and distribution by the Royal Society or its agents in any media and publicity associated with the Prize.
    c) In cooperation and agreement with the Royal Society press office, issue a press release to appropriate contacts about the book’s success in being shortlisted.
    d) Guarantee shortlisted authors are available for appropriate levels of media activities ahead of the award ceremony. The Royal Society will issue a briefing note on nomination to the shortlist advising the expected involvement required.
    e) Ensure shortlisted authors are available to attend the 2021 award ceremony in London which will take place in Autumn 2021. The Royal Society is able to provide support for travel and accommodation where needed and within reason.
    f) We ask that shortlisted and winning authors are freely available for promotional events to promote the Prize during the year after their award. We aim to organise a variety of high-profile activity across literary festivals, online discussions, school activity and other relevant events, which has a positive promotional value to both the book prize and the winning and shortlisted authors.
    g) Acknowledge the Prize in subsequent reprints, paperback editions and point of sale material of shortlisted and winning books.
  7. The winning title must mention the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize on the cover, rear or dust jacket on subsequent printings, including the paperback. 
  8. The Prize is managed by the Royal Society, to whom all enquiries about the application of these regulations should be addressed. Contact sciencebooks@royalsociety.org

Enquiries

General enquiries about the Prize should be sent to sciencebooks@royalsociety.org.

All media enquiries regarding the Prize should be directed to press@royalsociety.org.

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