Sheffield Doctoral Publishing Prize 2024

Interested in developing your doctoral research into an open access book?

Logo for the Sheffield Doctoral Publishing Prize 2024

The Sheffield Doctoral Publishing Prize aims to celebrate doctoral research at the University of Sheffield, enabling recent PhD graduates to explore opportunities to develop their doctoral research into an open access book published by the University of Sheffield’s academic publisher White Rose University Press

We are inviting PhD-holders who received their award from the University of Sheffield since 1 April 2022 to submit proposals for open access books based on their doctoral research. Proposals will detail how the author plans to present their research in book format to audiences who would benefit from reading their work.

Up to five prize-winners will be shortlisted by a University of Sheffield panel, and prize-winning proposals will then be considered for publication by White Rose University Press. If a book is shortlisted, authors will be supported through the peer review process and - should the book be commissioned - all open access fees for the first edition will be paid for by the University of Sheffield. Prize-winners will also receive a £250 prize and have their work celebrated at a joint University of Sheffield/White Rose University Press event.

More information for potential applicants can be found in the information sheet Sheffield Doctoral Publishing Prize 2024 - Information for Applicants.

Outcomes of the previous instance of the prize, held in 2022, can be found here.

Why publish open access with White Rose University Press?

Open access for books is a growing area of publishing and is increasingly required by funders and in policy specification, with the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) currently indexing over 78,000 books. Publishing a book open access ensures the rights to the work remain with the author, and the digital format means that it can be shared, read, downloaded and reused by anyone with an internet connection, increasing the book’s readership and impact.

White Rose University Press (WRUP) is the University of Sheffield’s non-profit, open access digital publisher, run jointly with the Universities of Leeds and York. It has published high-quality open access books from a range of disciplines, primarily across Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. WRUP is committed to academic rigour and also to innovation in digital publishing. 

What submissions would be in scope for this prize?

The prize is open to proposals for long-form, research-based publications in text format. This would include conventional monographs, but could also include academic publications with multiple applications, e.g. crossover into teaching. Proposals should consider the range of potential audiences the volume would reach (e.g. mixed audiences of academics and practitioners, specific communities / interest groups or policymakers). 

Proposed volumes may also (though are not required to) include a range of multimedia elements to take advantage of the primarily digital format.

Eligibility criteria

  • The prize is open to University of Sheffield PhD graduates in any discipline who received their award from 1 April 2022 onwards.
  • The doctoral research must have the potential to be turned into a book, and the application must include a clear plan of the support required to achieve this.
  • The proposed book must be written in English, although the examined thesis submitted as part of the doctorate could have been written in a different language.
  • You must not have already published the doctoral research in book form, nor have an agreement to publish it.
  • You may have published elements of your original thesis as journal articles. In this case, your proposal must detail how the proposed book would sit alongside any existing publications issuing from the doctoral research.
  • We require a commitment to share any data and underlying materials as openly as possible, while recognising that some doctoral projects will be based on confidential or sensitive information.

How to apply

To apply, please submit the following to

  1. a completed copy of the application form (please download and save a copy as a MS Word or PDF file)
  2. a sample chapter written specifically for the proposed book.

The deadline for applications is 30th September 2024.

Your doctoral supervisor or a member of your supervisory team must support the application, and an academic mentor is also recommended to assist the development of the book. 

We recommend that your academic mentor is not your doctoral supervisor, but is someone from your field of study who has agreed to support you through the drafting, peer review and manuscript drafting stages of the publishing process. You can find an information sheet for academic mentors here - please ensure you share this with your prospective mentor if you have identified one.

Please also see the full Rules, Terms and Conditions for the prize.

Guidance and support for applicants, supervisors and academic mentors


Information sheets:


Briefing session for supervisors

An online information session for doctoral supervisors will be held on Wednesday 6th March at 14.00-14.45. This will provide information about the prize to assist in identifying whether it would be a good fit for any of your former supervisees, and in order that you can support any who may be interested in applying to the competition. The session will be delivered by members of the Library’s open research team and the Press Manager  of White Rose University Press.

Book a place for the session in myDevelopment.

Online information session for applicants

An online information session for potential applicants will be held on Thursday 14th March, 13.00-13.45. This will provide information about the prize and an opportunity to ask questions of members of the Library’s open research team and the Press Manager of White Rose University Press.

This session will be recorded and a link added to this webpage once the recording is made available.

Book a place using this form.

Workshop session: Developing a book proposal based on your doctoral research

This session will take place on Tuesday 30th April, 13.00-15.00 and is open to all TUoS PhD alumni and current PGRs, whether you are eligible for the prize or merely interested in developing a book proposal based on your doctoral research at some time in the future.

This will be a two-hour session. The first hour, which will be recorded and also available to join hybridly, will focus on information and support, while the second hour (in-person only) will be a live writing session where those wishing to engage practically with the process can do so in the presence of expert help and support.

Speakers will include WRUP colleagues, Library and Researcher Development staff, and early career researchers with experience of the process. The session is likely to feature:

  • A detailed talk from WRUP about how the proposal and commissioning process works for academic books, what makes a good proposal, and how a book for publication differs from a thesis.
  • Talk/s from colleagues with experience of developing a long-form publication proposal.
  • Talk from a TUoS academic about their experience of peer reviewing a book proposal and what they look for.
  • Practical session - sketch the outline of a book that would communicate your doctoral research. This would consider from a fresh perspective the message, focus, structure and potential audience of the proposed book and the content the author wants to share. This would be valuable in shaping a book proposal for submission either to the Doctoral Publishing Prize or directly to a publisher.

Book a place on the workshop session using this form.

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