Starting next year, the eligibility dates for AHA book prizes will be aligned with the calendar year listed on the book’s copyright page.
Currently, eligibility for each award runs from May 1 to April 30. For example, under existing rules, books published from May 1, 2011, to April 30, 2012, were eligible for prizes to be awarded at the January 2013 meeting. Members of book prize committees and some publishers report, however, that these dates are a significant source of confusion. This past spring, for instance, a half dozen committee members and chairs wrote to headquarters staff to inquire about how to determine the publication month. After careful review, the Association’s governing Council concluded that it made much more sense to use the year listed as the copyright date in each book.
The greatest challenge will be in the transition to the new eligibility dates. For the coming year’s competition, all books published in 2012 will be eligible. We are sensitive to perceptions that this may seem unfair, as a few books (published January 1 to April 30, 2012) will get a second opportunity to be considered. But AHA Council members ultimately concluded that there would be a measure of unfairness in any transition, and that this would be the most efficient way of implementing the new policy.
All policies for AHA book prizes are overseen by the AHA’s Research Division. Comments and concerns about the policies can be directed to Robert B. Townsend, the staff member for the Division.