If you want to make absolutely sure that your monograph is accepted as a scholarly publication, you need to watch out for vanity publishing. What is vanity publishing?Isn’t this exactly what the author pays model is for Open Access publishing? Isn’t this like Article Processing Fees?No: because, although vanity publishing and author paysboth ask for a fee beforehand, author pays OA provides you quality control (peer review) and editorial services in exchange for that fee. Vanity publishing was there long before OA, no direct relationship such as Nature assumes
This is an example of what could be called a ‘spam’ email, which I and many with me have gotten, of a publisher soliciting for manuscriptsLAP does not ask you for a fee but will take your copyright, ask exuberant prices for your book on Amazon, without providing peer review or editorial services (your book is published verbatim), hoping that your relatives or someone random will buy your book. That’s the business model.
This has led some to come to the defense of Open Access publishing by exposing scam vanity publishers, disguising as reputable OA publishers. Jeffrey Beal, librarian at the University of Colorado Denver made a list of what he has called predatory publishers, exposing their methodologiesThe goal of predatory open-access publishers is to exploit the author pay model by charging the fee without providing all the expected publishing services.There is a lack of transparency in their operations and processes.Critique:Beall's list identifies publishers which Beall has concerns about. These concerns may or may not be justified.Risks throwing undue suspicion on start-up publishers. Publishers in developing countries and emerging economies are at particular risk of being unfairly tarred by Beall's brush.Beal’s list mostly focuses on OA journals, but that does not mean there are or will not be any predatory OA publishers.
It will always be good to follow the following checklist Declan Butler set up based on Beal’s criteria. Replace journal with books in this case
In the past, and now too, books were all about the reputation of the publisher (as we don’t have impact factors in book publishing). But of course the brand value of most OA book publishers is still small, as many are start ups. There is also a value perception difference between free online and hard cover printed.Let me make clear that Open Access books are just as qualitative and trustworthy as print publicationsBut there are some misunderstandings and perceptions that get in the way.Misconceptions:Because it is freely available, people believe it is not subject to the same academic standards of peer reviewand editorial oversight as research published in traditional toll-access venues.Perceptions:Printed matter has more statusPublishing in open access journals will damage their careersMany advocates of OA are self-confessed conservatives when it comes to peer-review.This is partly strategic. It’s a way of combating one of the main arguments leveled against OA:; that it undermines peer review. Example OHP
OHP quotes: “We’re intending OHP as a tangible demonstration to our still generally skeptical colleagues in the humanities that there is no reason why OA publishing cannot have the same professional standards as print. We aim to show that OA is not only academically credible but is in fact being actively advanced by leading figures in our fields, as evidenced by our editorial advisory board. Our hope is that OHP will contribute to OA rapidly becoming standard practice for scholarly publishing in the humanities.”“This is why OHP's first act was to form a highprofile international advisory board. The ease with which this was accomplished,indeed the invariably enthusiastic response to our invitation from top scholars in our fields, makes us think that there is already a significant body of interest and support for OA in the humanities, which just needs to find a viable outlet.”
Open Access is also about openness towards and rethinking of print-based quality control systems: such as peer reviewWe still judge digital texts according to the standards of the paper world. How should they be assessed and how can we judge them differently, do we need new standards for quality control of digital scholarship?What about examples of open peer review, such as Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Planned Obsolescence. Forms of post publication reviews such as comments on the sidelines or reviews, what is the importance of these? Think about the important role of editorial control in the HSS (which means no external review, only internal)Values within communities of practice: who are our peers?Although there are a lot of different figures with respect to this issue, research we did for the DOAB shows that scholars think quite positively about alternative forms of quality control
DOAB user needs report
Now as an extended critique of Beal and his list of predatory publishers, Instead of relying on blacklists, Lars Bjørnshauge from the DOAJ argues, open-access associations such as the DOAJ and the OASPA should adopt more responsibility for policing publishers. He says that they should lay out a set of criteria that publishers and journals must comply with to win a place on a 'white list' indicating that they are trustworthy. The DOAJ, he says, is now compiling a list of new, more stringent criteria. To help clean up practices, he adds, research funders should pay author fees only to such white-listed publishers. (Nature article)DOAB is a discovery services that points to OA books that can be found elsewhere. It wants to be exactly that: a white list of reputable OA publishers
As part of the DOAB user needs research we held an open online discussion with scholars, theorists, publishers, librarians etc. on what kind of requirements people felt were needed for OA books.Requirements were very welcomed.As transparency in quality control mechanisms was considered very important in Open Access books, DOAB might consider adding information about the specific peer review or quality control procedure used to specific book titles. This could be added either as part of the book’s metadata or for instance via a badge or icon system such as used by Creative Commons. Heather Morrison made a plea for the importance of the publisher’s reputation and suggested that we might need a rigorous evaluation of (new) publishers to ensure that they are following appropriate practices, perhaps regulated by senior scholars possibly in conjunction with established publishers or by institutions such as OASPA. Or perhaps an independent organisation should audit and review publishers against set criteria via the logic of a seal of approval. As CarenMilloy stated, we need to help new Open Access publishers be trusted by the academic community - especially as we know trust in Open Access is a critical factor. Audit criteria could for instance include peer review procedures, preservation and archiving policies, metadata requirements, and license policy. EelcoFerwerdasummarised that there are a few options that we might decide to follow: − force strict peer reviews on all procedures − identify a number of adequate forms of quality control − aim to make peer review procedures transparent. Standards should remain flexible to incorporate alternative practices.Malcolm Heath brought the discussion back to what peer review is actually about from the perspective of a scholar: to help publish something that is as good as it can be. For him as an author it is not about quality control so much as it is about quality enhancement. As he stated: ‘A peer review policy won't necessarily reveal the peer review culture, which is much more important to me as an author.’
Flexibility: towards transparency
The project aims to implement the CrossMark system within the OAPEN Library. Specifically:• To introduce CrossMark as a transparent system to improve quality assurance for OA books• To provide readers relevant information about the publications• To set up a service for quality assurance for OAPEN publishers based on CrossMark
Peer review procedures and, if possible, information about editorial policiesAsk around, contact editorial board members:Business model used: if APCs, do you have funding? How much are the APCs? Are their waver possibilities?
Strand 1: Find a reputable OA publisher - the Directory of Open Access Books by Janneke Adema, Coventry University
Find a reputable OA
publisher – Directory of
Open Access Books
(Coventry University / DOAB)
Vanity publishing and predatory publishers
Quality and Open Access
New forms of quality control
Directory of Open Access Books
Quality requirements and policies
Checklists and resources
Preventing vanity publishing
„A vanity press or vanity publisher is a term
describing a publishing house in which
authors pay to have their books published‟
But what about Gold Open Access
publishing models and APCs?
Quality control and editorial services
„The explosion in open-access publishing
has fuelled the rise of questionable
operators.‟ (Nature, 27 March 2013)
Dear Janneke Adema,
I am writing on behalf of an international publishing house, LAP Lambert
In the course of a research on the Coventry University, I came across a
reference to your thesis on "Influence of online information transmission on
research practices within the Humanities?".
We are an international publisher whose aim is to make academic research
available to a wider audience.
LAP would be especially interested in publishing your dissertation in the form
of a printed book.
Your reply including an e-mail address to which I can send an e-mail with
further information in an attachment
will be greatly appreciated.
I look forward to hearing from you.
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG
Dudweiler Landstraße 99
Fon +49 681 3720-310
Fax +49 681 3720-3109
Predatory Publishers - Jeffrey Beal
“Potential, possible or probable predatory
scholarly open-access publishers”
“An intention to deceive authors and
readers, and a lack of transparency in their
operations and processes” (Beal, Nature, 27
Critique of Beal‟s methods
Predatory OA book publishers?
Buyer beware: A checklist to identify reputable
publishers - Declan Butler (Nature)
How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher:
Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including
address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
Check that a journal's editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact
some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
Read some of the journal's published articles and assess their quality. Contact past
authors to ask about their experience.
Check that a journal's peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a
claimed impact factor is correct.
Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its
members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) or the Open
Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org).
Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks
fishy, proceed with caution.
Quality and Open Access
Open Access books are just as qualitative and
trustworthy as print publications
Misunderstandings and perceptions
OAPEN User Needs Report (2010)
“Many researchers still consider electronic-only
publications as of the equivalent of publishing
something without peer review. Even those who were
aware of the fact that electronic-only journals also
have full peer reviews were concerned that the people
who decide their careers were not (…).”
“(…) many researchers feel that the Internet is not a
good place to find authoritative material because of
the high level of poor quality information.” (25)
Open Humanities Press
“Our strategy is to create an open access brand
that people will trust and which will convey the
message that OHP's open access publications are
just as intellectually challenging, academically
rigorous and professionally produced as books and
journals produced by the best commercial
publishers.” (Beyond Impact: OA in the Humanities,
Sigi Jӧttkandt and Gary Hall, 2007)
Alternative forms of quality
Open peer review: peer-to-peer review
Post-publication review: comments, reviews
Who decides on quality control?
Directory of Open Access Books
DOAB user needs research:
what kind of quality control?
Requirements and standards concerning quality
control are warmly welcomed
More transparency about procedures used (icon
As long as these standards remain flexible and open
to a variety of quality control mechanisms, from
editorial control to open peer review and post
Focus should remain on the outcome, not on the
“The standards, requirements and protocols DOAB
develops for quality control and licensing should be
flexible enough to incorporate change and innovation.
At the same time they should be strict enough to
ensure quality and trust within the system.” (23)
DOAB determines requirements for participation by
publishers, in consultation with the participating publishers
and OASPA. The current requirements have been specified
by the OAPEN Foundation. The current requirements to
take part in DOAB are twofold:
Academic books in DOAB shall be available under an
Open Access license (such as a Creative Commons
Academic books in DOAB shall be subjected to
independent and external peer review prior to publication
The policies and procedures regarding peer review and
licensing should be clearly outlined on the publisher web
site. More information about these requirements can be
found in the Statement on Open Access (Appendix II of the
CrossMark to improve
quality assurance for Open
OAPEN-NL and OAPEN-UK are pleased to announce a
new joint project to improve quality assurance for Open
Access publications. The project will be exploring the use
of CrossMark as a OA awareness tool for OA books by
implementing it on a selection of titles within the OAPEN
Readers use the service by clicking on the CrossMark
logos on PDF or HTML documents, and a status box tells
them if the document is current or if updates are
available. CrossMark also provides a record box, which
can contain other useful information about the document
to readers, for example, the usage rights, the peer review
process, the publication history, etc. It could also contain
information about the research connected to the
publication, information about grants or links to connected
elements such as research data.
Checklist Open Access
Peer review procedures
Licensing policy (for a detailed description
of CC licenses please see the Creative
Commons website at
Business model used
Janneke Adema, DOAB User Needs Analysis –
Final Report (DOAB Project Report)
Janneke Adema and Paul Rutten, Digital
Monographs in the Humanities and Social
Sciences: Report on User Needs
Declan Butler, “Investigating Journals: The
Dark Side of Publishing,” Nature 495, no. 7442
(March 27, 2013): 433–
Sigi Jӧttkandt and Gary Hall, “Beyond Impact:
OA in the Humanities” (presented at the Open
Presentation, Brussels, February 13, 2007).