Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm Not a Vanity Publisher, I'm a Predatory Publisher!

I learned a new term today “predatory publisher.” A vanity publisher is one who will take your money willingly to publish your book when all of your submissions to regular trade publishers have uniformly been rejected. Those rejections probably mean the manuscript is just not very good – but don’t worry about that, the vanity publisher doesn’t concern him or herself with quality. They just want the money involved in helping you to realize your quixotic dream of seeing your very own book in print.

A predatory publisher on the other hand is in business to take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of those poor miserable creatures who are in desperate pursuit of academic tenure. Often these are struggling academics who have submitted to legitimate refereed journals only to have their manuscripts turned down. What now they say? Well here’s a journal that will accept my article if I will only pay them a fee of several hundred dollars.

One of these publishers, The Canadian Center For Science and Education, is currently suing Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and scholary initiatives librarian at the University of Colorado Denver. Beall’s transgression? He publishes an extremely useful online list of suspect journals entitled Potential, Possible or Probable Predatory Scholarly Open-Access Publishers (Attention all Scholars: see The CCSE is part of that list and they think that Beall’s inclusion of them is defamatory and libelous. In my opinion any court would be wise to dismiss charges of libel against Beall and instead bring charges of fraud against CCSE.

I went to the website of CCSE and was troubled by at least three issues:
  1. there are no company executives listed anywhere on the site;
  2. CCSE publishes statistics on accepted and rejected articles for each journal they purportedly publish but the reader doesn’t know if acceptance versus rejection is based on quality of work OR on the willingness or unwillingness to pay a stiff fee ($200 to $500 per article) for publication.
  3. many if not most legitimate scholarly journals do not even charge author fees for publication.
So the watchword here like so many other areas in life is “caveat emptor.” But perhaps the final word should go to scholar Airil Haimi when he reports: “You mentioned CCSE, right? I was one of those stupid enough to get duped by them, sorry to say. The print journal came all the way [from] . . . wait for it… wait for it…CHINA. Obviously the owners are based there. Don’t waste your hard-earned $$$ and really, DO NOT tarnish your own reputation by publishing in these bogus journals. I learned the hard way :-(.”

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