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How Predatory Claims and Libel Attacks Threaten the Academic Careers of More Than 100,000 International Scholars

IGI Global’s Response to Being Called a Rogue Publisher in SpringerLink Article

By IGI Global on Apr 21, 2020
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Just like many other publishers, IGI Global has recently been dealing with unprovoked attacks by anonymous individuals (oftentimes bloggers, online trolls, and/or predatory researchers) who are making false claims and accusations about our publishing practice and ethical stance. Sadly, this is primarily because they are severely misinformed and/or are acting to suit their own personal agendas above principled behavior. In the process, they are working to discredit their peers’ efforts, negatively impacting the lives and careers of more than 100,000 scholars who have collaborated with IGI Global and offered their professional services as reviewers and editors on a voluntary basis to help advance scientific discourse through quality vetted research.

Historically, we have remained silent in addressing these false claims and have relied on our integrity as an honorable publisher serving the academic community with quality publications published through the utilization of rigorous peer review, and top-notch customer service. Unfortunately, we must now address these false claims and refute these predatory statements on behalf of our 100,000+ authors and editors to ensure that the research and reputation of our collaborators are protected. We consider this action as our moral responsibility and will no longer stay silent toward these types of unprofessional and unprovoked behaviors.

In this specific instance below, a highly opinion-based open access article published by Springer claims that IGI Global is a “Rogue book publisher”. Here we strive to set the record straight and present the facts by addressing each claim in order to allow the academic community the opportunity to formulate their own conclusions

An Overview of the Open Access Springer Article

In October of 2016, a heavily opinion-based open access article was published in the Springer journal Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy entitled “The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics,” by Stefan Eriksson (Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden) and Gert Helgesson (Stockholm Centre for Healthcare Ethics, Department of LIME, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden). The article discusses predatory publishing and lists IGI Global under the section heading “Rogue book publishers”, claiming that IGI Global produces books for profit and disregards whether the research progresses scientific findings. The basis for this claim came from the content of two blog posts: Ian Bogost's “Write-only Publication: IGI Global and Other Vampire Presses” posted in November of 2008 and Debora Weber-Wulff’s “Write-only publications” posted in December of 2007.

In the article, they directly mention IGI Global:

“For instance, the publisher IGI Global specializes in publishing large edited collections (Bogost 2008; Weber-Wulff 2007). They press a few dozen copies that cost maybe 500 euros each. The idea seems to be that the editor of the book, a researcher craving more academic merits, gets a nice item to add to the publication list, while the publisher draws money from selling a few mandatory library copies. Ultimately the public pays the salaries of these questionable publishers, while those sections of the public truly in need of good edited collections (such as scholars from low and middle income countries who can’t afford access to many journals) stand to benefit nothing. Nor is the book likely to have any impact whatsoever on scientific development.” (Eriksson & Helgesson, 2016)

Fact Regarding the Sources for the Article:

  • Both blog posts referenced in the article are opinion-based editorial pieces (with no scientific data to support them) that question IGI Global’s practices and call IGI Global a possible “vanity publisher”. Both of the blog posts referenced received comments from other academicians and researchers that refuted their claims, and thus, rendered them unproven, unreliable, and potentially biased primary sources (Bogost, 2008; Weber-Wulff, 2007). It's also important to note in reference to these two blog posts authored by Ian Bogost and Debora Weber-Wulff, that there are more than 220 established academicians, researchers, and students from these bloggers’ universities (Bogost - Georgia Institute of Technology; Weber-Wulff – HTW Berlin) who have published with IGI Global or serve in an editorial capacity on an IGI Global journal, and continue to contribute with work published as recent as 2020. So these bloggers are actually discrediting their own colleagues’ work without any true credible information or scientific data to back up their claims.

Facts Regarding the Impact of IGI Global Publications on
Scientific Development:

  • IGI Global is highly selective and puts the merit of research before profitability, utilizing a rigorous proposal review process which investigates the book’s proposed concept intensely, examining everything from the topics’ influence on current research to its ability to progress current scientific findings. The acceptance rate for new books is approximately 20%-- a rate not conducive for publishing solely for profit.

  • A double-blind peer review process is upheld for every work submitted to any IGI Global publication. IGI Global has always relied on the double-blind peer review process to determine what is ultimately published. Many people don’t understand that as the publisher, we invest substantial resources into the management of all submissions even if the work is rejected. We’re ethically obligated to ensure that research experts/peers make all final decisions on the merit of the research. We are extremely transparent with our publishing procedures and provide a complete overview of the full publishing process.

  • Editors, authors, and reviewers are required to utilize our publishing house’s chosen eEditorial Discovery® online submission and review management system in order to manage all activities of the editorial process, including the full peer review process. Authors upload their submissions to a book or journal project where the editor can assign reviewers to the manuscript, receive reviews from the assigned reviewers, request revisions when necessary, make editorial decisions, and select submissions for their final publication. The system tracks and maintains copies of all reviews conducted on every manuscript. Should an ethical committee call into question the practices of our publishing house at any time they can be given full access to all processes and documented reviews related to any of our publications.

  • IGI Global books and journals are accepted in the world’s top indices, including the Web of Science™ and Scopus® (see the full list of indexed books and the full list of indexed journals) and have won numerous international awards such as the Gourmand Book Award and the Enrique Alcaraz Research Award.

  • The scientific and scholarly merit of IGI Global publications is backed by the prominent institutions worldwide who use them to advance current studies, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Tsinghua University, the Australian National University, and many more. These highly respected universities are also represented among IGI Global’s more than 100,000 prominent researchers it collaborates with on journal and book publications.

  • IGI Global invests copious resources into ensuring that each work published is of the highest caliber and made widely discoverable in order to have the greatest impact on scientific development. A list of services for disseminating content that IGI Global provides, free of charge, to all authors and editors can be found on IGI Global’s marketing and distribution page.

  • IGI Global’s commitment to ethical publishing has been accredited by the international Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE), a non-profit organization based in the U.K. who is committed to educating and supporting editors, publishers, and those involved in publication ethics. Our rigorous double-blind peer review process was one of the many ethical areas that the COPE Council conducted an in-depth review of prior to accepting IGI Global as a full member. See more information regarding our membership here. See IGI Global’s member listing on the COPE webpage. (Committee on Publication Ethics, n.d.)

Fact Regarding IGI Global's Pricing Structure

  • IGI Global’s pricing of its publications is carefully assigned based on industry averages and publishers can only provide suggested pricing (MSRP), it is sellers/distributors who then have the authority to “mark-up” as they wish. When selling directly to its customers, IGI Global offers a number of discounts and programs to make resources affordable and accessible to the research community.

The authors of the article also insinuate that IGI Global is a vanity publisher in the finishing statement under “Rogue book publishers” that mentions:


“This market idea is just one instance of a more widespread trend called “vanity publishing”. It aims to get authors to publish at their own cost in order to give an impression of having created a solid scholarly work, although it is accepted by some “publisher” (or dressed-up printing service) for financial rather than academic reasons (Beall 2014).” (Eriksson & Helgesson, 2016)

Facts Regarding IGI Global Being Labelled as a "Rogue Book Publisher"

  • The authors reference the Beall’s List developed by Mr. Jeffrey Beall from 2014; however, IGI Global nor any of its publications were ever identified by Mr. Beall on his list as being vanity or predatory. (Beall, 2017) (Note: Additionally, please see IGI Global’s response to a vanity press claim on the new fake Beallslist.net here.)

  • IGI Global does not charge any publication fees for book publications or standard subscription-based journal article submissions. The only fee that IGI Global would ever charge for publication is the standard, “Article Processing Charge (APC)”, which is customary in the industry for open access publishing. However, such a fee is not processed by IGI Global for open access publishing in our hybrid open access journals until AFTER the content has already undergone a rigorous double-blind peer review by the journal’s editorial review board and been accepted formally for publication. For further information regarding open access publishing, please visit IGI Global’s open access publishing page.

  • Publishers that operate under “pay to publish” or “vanity publishing” models typically accept all content submitted to them and do not conduct a peer review process of any kind. At IGI Global, in order for content to be considered for publication, it must undergo a rigorous double-blind peer review process with the peer reviewers ultimately determining whether the work will be published.

In many ways this open access piece is rogue research and even predatory in nature, seeking to discredit and destroy the reputations of researchers, publishers, and scholarly institutions all over the world, many of whom have done their due process to ensure ethical guidelines have been properly followed and volunteered their time and expertise to contribute to the body of knowledge within their respective fields.

References

Beall, J. (2017, January 12). Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from https://web.archive.org/web/20170112125427/https://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/

Bogost, I. (2008, November 24). Write-Only Publication: IGI Global and Other Vampire Presses. Retrieved April 20, 2020, from http://bogost.com/writing/blog/writeonly_publication/

Committee on Publication Ethics. (n.d.). IGI Global. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from https://publicationethics.org/category/publisher/igi-global

Eriksson, S., Helgesson, G. The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics. Med Health Care and Philos 20, 163–170 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-016-9740-3

Weber-Wulff, D. (2007, December 31). Write-only publications. Retrieved April 20, 2020, from https://copy-shake-paste.blogspot.com/2007/12/write-only-publications.html

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