Your Thesis and the Predatory Publisher

March 13, 2015

Image by Frank Hebbert

Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence. Some rights reserved. Thesis Desk Chaos

Have you received an email with an offer to publish your thesis?

The risks of publishing your thesis with an unscrupulous publisher include:

  • Loss of your Copyright in the work and limitation on further publishing spinoffs from your thesis
  • A poor quality publication that does not meet the basic standards of academic publishing
  • Loss of reputation due to publishing with a notorious “vanity publisher”.

If you are completing your HDR studies, or just starting your academic career as a PhD graduate beware of solicitous emails from predatory publishers that seek out authors of new theses.

The most dominating of these publishers is Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP) a subsidiary of VDM Verlag. Lambert specialises in the publication of theses, but is not considered a bonafide academic publisher as they merely reproduce theses without any editorial oversight, i.e. they do not apply the basic standards of academic publishing such as peer-review, editorial or proof-reading processes into their hurried production of theses into books. Lambert has been described as an author mill which bases its business on producing high price print-on-demand books for a large number of new PhD graduates sourced from universities around the globe, exemplified by many of the 106,602 LAP paperback books on Amazon(as at 11 Feb 2015).

As Lambert works on the basis of very fast, low production cost publications without applying any editorial quality controls the thesis is published ‘as is’, in exactly the same format as submitted to the university, where as the submission process requires, the digital version is placed into the university’s open access digital repository [email protected]. As with any publisher there is also the prospect of loss of copyright by the author. This should be taken seriously in the case of a thesis as any loss of copyright would severely curtail any further publishing spinoffs from the original work which could be the cornerstone of a successful academic career.

It is recommended that before accepting any publishing offer you carefully research and evaluate the scholarly credibility of the publisher and their product and seek advice before making any decision.

You are welcome to contact your Faculty Librarian, or  the Library’s Manager, Scholarly Publications and Copyright with any queries you may have on this topic.