Qin Higley - Faces of Brill

Qin Higley

Position: Acquisition Editor (Asian Studies)


Short job description:

Qin joined Brill in 2010 as an acquisitions editor in Modern and Contemporary Chinese Studies – a relatively new program within Brill – as well as East Asian Studies. “I’m responsible for developing the publishing program, which consists of monographs and edited volumes, journals, primary sources, and reference works,” Qin says.


What is the best part of your job?

I really enjoy this job,” says Qin. “The Chinese Studies program is exciting because the field is so active. I feel like I’m able to work together with academics so that our publications develop with the trends within the scholarship. I find it rewarding to work with scholars from the very beginning of the publication process: starting with the proposal, watching the idea develop, and ending with the published volume. My fluency in Chinese, together with my experience with China also makes for strong collaborations with Chinese scholars and presses.”


What is the most challenging part of your job?

Modern and Contemporary Chinese Studies is a very active and growing field. Authors and editors can choose from several reputable publishers, so we have to make sure we attend the key conferences, meet with academics and provide them with the support they need to publish their research,” says Qin. “Brill has a long-standing tradition as a publisher in Asian and Chinese studies, and we work hard to deliver the level of quality that lives up to our reputation.”


Why do you think is Brill special?

Brill has a history of over 330 years of academic publishing, spanning more than three centuries. That’s good evidence of its specialness.  Based on my experience here, Brill has always been committed to its vision of high quality academic publishing.” Qin explains. “There has always been a dedication to scholarly research in humanities and the social sciences, and also has a long tradition in Asian and Chinese studies.”

“Take the publication ‘Chinese Astronomy,’ for example, published in 1875. The journal T’OUNG PAO that we published back in 1890 remains one of the top journals on Sinology.” Qin says. “When I share those stories about Brills tradition in China, they find it impressive and are eager to collaborate with  a publisher of such a long history.”


What are qualities do you look for in an author or editor?

“I am always looking at the academic value of the work. The author should have an academic background, and history of strong publications. On the other hand, we shouldn’t exclude young, promising scholars.”


What are you currently working on?

One of the projects I’m focusing on now is the peer-reviewed Journal of Chinese Humanities, in cooperation with the Shandong University. This journal is the English language edition of a well-known Chinese journal, which was founded in 1951 by Shandong University.” Qin says. “This journal represents the current research coming out of mainland China, and provides a platform for dialogue among Chinese scholars.”

“It will be published beginning 2015 and we are all looking forward to it. For now we will publish two issues per year.”


Who is the readership of this journal?

The readership consists of scholars of Chinese humanities, including topics within history, philosophy and literature."


List three keywords you would associate to your current position and scholarly publishing:

One keyword is dynamic, because this work is always changing and developing with new possibilities. Quality is a keyword as well, since this is a cornerstone for Brill.  Relationships are also important, and that is a big part of my job – building, developing and maintaining relationships with authors, scholars and Chinese partners.”


Do you have an anecdote you would like to share?  

One thing I remember is that, while attending a conference, I was approached by a scholar who was so thrilled with Brill that he wanted to come over to the booth to say hello. He really loved Brill books (In his own words, Brill books can last for 500 years.), and remarked on high quality and longstanding tradition of Brill.  That was so nice to hear!”