a. Submit the Draft for Internal Review
Share the first draft with the steering committee, the advisory committee, other advisors, the authors of background papers, stakeholders and other experts involved in the creation of the draft. One goal is to check for the appropriate use of data and the quality of the analysis. A stakeholder workshop may also be useful.
The resident representatives and regional directors of the United Nations Development Programme are responsible for protecting the public perception of non-partisanship that should be associated with UNDP and the United Nations, as well as the standard of quality that HDRs should exemplify. They should ensure that HDRs comply with the six core principles outlined in the HDR quality standards module and the procedures and standards detailed in the UNDP publications policy (box 1). They should gauge the accuracy, pertinence and timeliness of the data; the soundness of the analysis; the openness, fairness and impartiality of the arguments; and the coherence and consistency of the recommendations in relation to the data and the analysis and as practical solutions within the context of the current situation in the country or region.
HDRs must achieve high standards in the quality of the content, writing, editing, translation, design and printing. The UNDP publications policy describes the standards that all UNDP products and publications should meet to maintain the external image of the organization. The policy is therefore not restricted to HDRs. We highlight here selected points that may be relevant to an HDR. (For more detail, see the full description of the policy.)
While creativity in the design of UNDP publications is encouraged, it is essential to retain a consistent organizational identity. Thus, all units should comply with the following:
The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations or UNDP concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The quality assurance procedure
The quality assurance procedure (available for UNDP staff) has been established to safeguard the quality, relevance, consistency and impact of UNDP products and publications and to promote the corporate identity of UNDP. It is also designed to help raise the visibility of UNDP in donor and programme countries so as to generate support for UNDP.
Each Regional Bureau or Regional Centre is responsible for implementing the quality assurance procedure and for the day-to-day management of quality assurance in the production of publications (such as regional HDRs) and is accountable to the UNDP Administrator. All major UNDP publications, including global and regional HDRs, must be endorsed by the Executive Office before they are published.
Country Offices are encouraged to apply the quality assurance procedure as well. UNDP resident representatives are responsible for national HDRs and are accountable for the quality of the final product.
An effort should be made to produce publications in the working languages of UNDP: English, French and Spanish. If, owing to budget constraints, UNDP publications cannot be translated, offices are encouraged to produce summaries in the appropriate UNDP working languages.
Units should explore the sales potential of publications, drawing on experience within and outside UNDP.
All published reports should be made available online to facilitate advocacy and outreach. This should occur in advance of the launch date for secure and embargoed media outreach, as appropriate. The web posting of each publication should include the following: complete bibliographic information and a note on the languages available, where to obtain the publication, and price, where applicable.
Units should produce a short description of the publication for use in UNDP public information efforts in catalogues and on UNDP websites. Units should also update or revise this information on their own websites.
b. Prepare and Submit a New Draft for External Peer Review
An effort should be made to take on board all reviewers’ comments. If the authors disagree with the comments then they should respond to those who have commented explaining why their comments have not been taken on board.
The external peer review should be designed to contribute to the impartiality of an HDR. It is therefore fundamental in ensuring the quality and credibility of an HDR, and, for this reason, the peer review process should be described directly in the HDR.
UNDP offers assistance in conducting peer reviews.
c. Prepare and Submit the Final Draft for Executive Review
d. Establish and Print the Final Product
HDRs must range over economic and social issues in detail to frame often complex policy considerations. They therefore do not normally entice a readership among the general public. However, they do seek to draw the attention of busy practitioners, researchers, policy makers and development donors. For this reason, they must stand out within the crowded field of development publications.
To achieve this, a successful HDR should be characterized by fluid language, possess a pleasing visual appearance and rely on an interesting combination of graphic elements. A presentation that is efficient, but also varied greatly increases the chances that the members of the target audience will pick up an HDR, read it and discover its messages.
Examples of global HDR language editions produced and published at the national level, which could serve as inspiration for national and regional HDR teams, include the Catalan, German, and Japanese editions.
A commercial publisher
The HDRO produces the global HDR in six languages. Some language-versions are promoted and published by commercial publishers. A commercial publisher enjoys an advertising and distribution network that is able to increase the report’s visibility. Yet, the smaller the market, the less likely it is that HDRs, which are also available at no cost on the UNDP website, will appeal to commercial publishers.
In the global HDR model, HDRO pays for the printing and ships to the contracted publisher. The publishing agreement typically adopted by HDRO binds the publisher to purchase an agreed number of copies at a set rate. There are no royalties for UNDP, which, however, holds the copyright.
Until 2011, under such an agreement, Palgrave Macmillan commercially distributed around 2,500 copies of the English-language HDR. (Note that the partnership with Palgrave Macmillan came to an end that year. United Nations Publications is now the primary distributor of global HDRs.) Palgrave MacMillan also had a separate agreement with UNDP and HDRO to produce and distribute a low-cost edition in black and white that was printed on demand for the South Asian market. HDRO has been exploring this option for the African market. This same model is followed for the Spanish edition of the HDR, which is published by Mundi Prensa.
United Nations Publications
United Nations Publications is also a publisher of HDRs and, each year, distributes HDRs in various language-version editions. Sales records show that, notwithstanding the co-publishing agreement with Palgrave Macmillan (until 2011) and the fact that HDRs are available online without charge through UNDP, United Nations Publications sells several hundred copies of HDRs in English each year.
National and regional reports published by UN Publications would benefit from the publisher’s access to book trade channels and library networks. They would also be included in the marketing efforts of UN Publications, which reach tens of thousands of readers every year.
Electronic publishing is another option. In agreement with the UNDP issuing offices, UN Publications could create editions that can be read on laptops, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and other popular e-book readers. It could also make the e-book version available through Google Books, which helps publishers make their content searchable through search engines. UN Publications has developed specific production guidelines for this purpose.
UN Publications seems keen on marketing, distributing and selling national and regional HDRs. For sales of the print editions, English is likely to enjoy the largest market, although e-books sell well in other languages, too.
Any office with a plan to produce a national or regional HDR should contact UN Publications in a timely manner. Be ready to supply information about the forthcoming report. Based on this information, UN Publications would decide on the report’s sales potential and, if appropriate, propose a discussion on design and editorial production guidelines and a list price. There would also have to be agreement on print production. For example, if the report is to be published in black and white only, UN Publications would offer to use its print-on-demand network, instead of shipping copies from a UNDP office to its warehouse and then out again to the country of the purchaser. Cost factors such as shipment (by pouch) and unit cost charged to UN Publications would also need to be determined. If UN Publications prints on demand, it will cover the cost of printing.