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A few days ago I was approached to write a 10-20 page long chapter in a book in field of mathematics. I did a little research. Authors are well known and no scam there. The issue is that this is my first experience and would be great to know some of the charactristics of a book chapter in math ( research level). How is it structured? Should one provide more background than typical academic papers?

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    Beware: if you were contacted not by one of the well-known people (authors or not), but by an editor claiming that those well-known people are writing other chapters, this is quite possibly a scam. Who exactly contacted you about this? – paul garrett Apr 4 at 19:29
  • Hi Paul. Well I googled the authors academic webpages and also the publisher's webpage. Everything seems legitimate. But will emailed one of them to double check. There are a lot of scams out there nowadays you never know. – BigM Apr 4 at 19:33
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    I think @paul garrett's comment concerns the possibility that the CLAIM that the well-known people are actually INVOLVED could be a scam, not whether or not the people themselves are "fictional". – Dave L Renfro Apr 4 at 19:38
  • Ask them what structure they want for the chapter, what it should and should not cover, and what the reader can be assumed to know. (This depends on the other chapters, so you cannot know this in advance -- you are expected to ask.) Make sure to ask for an open license for your contribution -- you have nothing to lose (you aren't likely to get paid either way). – darij grinberg Apr 4 at 20:02
  • Echoing @DaveLRenfro's comment, yes, my earlier comment meant that some low-quality editorial staff may claim that they have well-known authors lined up, and claim that they are operating under the umbrella of a well-respected publisher... but that none of those claims are true. Name-dropping is not a guarantee of anything. It is entirely possible that you'd find yourself producing (for free) text for scammers. (The scam is that you produce original content for them, for no benefit to you, and in fact possibly damage to your reputation by being associated with them.) – paul garrett Apr 4 at 21:25
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I assume you were approached by one of the main authors, rather than an editor. They can answer your question as they know something about what they want the book to be. You might even be able to get a draft of another chapter if the project is in progress. But there is too much variability for a general answer here. Perhaps the background you would provide is already covered elsewhere in the book, for example.

But it might also be that whatever you write as a first draft will need to be modified before it is accepted. You might have to do a lot of modifications so that the entire volume fits together properly.

  • Why an author rather than an editor? That seems quite inappropriate. – Andrés E. Caicedo Apr 6 at 12:12
  • Sometimes, @AndrésE.Caicedo, it is the lead author who puts such a composition volume together. It sounded like that was the case here. – Buffy Apr 6 at 12:21
  • Ah, ok, in which case the editors themselves may just be part of the publisher's staff as opposed to people in the author's field. Thanks. – Andrés E. Caicedo Apr 6 at 12:34

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