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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 the Irresponsible Vanity Press Claim by the New Fake Beallslist.net

By IGI Global on Apr 20, 2020
Fake-Predatory-Publishing-Website

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, an anonymous blogger has labeled our publishing house as a “Vanity Press” on a new fake version of the original Beall’s List at Beallslist.net. 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 Beallslist.net:

The new fake Beallslist.net is partially a version of the original Beall’s List developed by Mr. Jeffrey Beall. The new fake beallslist.net curator provides a disclaimer covering his/her use of the original “Beall’s list of predatory publishers & journals”:

“This website is a copy of Beall’s list of predatory publishers & journals. It was retrieved from the cached copy on 15th January 2017. The list itself will not be changed, I may, however, add notes to the list. Also, there is an update section below the list (in order to preserve the original list’s integrity), where I will add new predatory publishers/journals.” (Anonymous, n.d.)

For reference, the original founder of Beall’s List, Mr. Jeffrey Beall, a now retired librarian from the University of Colorado Denver, USA, hosted the original list on his own personal “Scholarly Open Access” blog which was ultimately deleted in late 2017. He never owned an Internet domain for his list, but rather his list was part of his personal blog.

Fact

  • IGI Global nor any of its publications were ever identified by Mr. Beall on his list as being vanity or predatory. (Beall, 2017)

The New Fake Beallslist.net Anonymous Author:

The blogger who has hijacked Mr. Beall’s original list and reposted it under the new domain has decided to remain anonymous and claims to be a “postdoctoral researcher in one of the European universities”(Anonymous, n.d.). Unlike Mr. Jeffrey Beall, this person has provided no credible credentials or contact information to support their expertise in the area of predatory or vanity publishing. Instead, this person states the following

“I am not Jeffrey Beall. I prefer my identity to be anonymous, largely for the reasons that Beall mentioned in his recent article (see here). However, I can tell you that I am a postdoctoral researcher in one of the European universities and have hands-on experience with predatory journals.”
“I will keep the list updated as much as possible, although I suspect I simply won’t have time to do as thorough job as Beall. Hopefully, people will point me to the new, possibly predatory journals and publishers.” (Anonymous, n.d.)

Not only is this person’s identity and credentials hidden behind anonymity, but they also have no relationship with the list’s original author, Mr. Jeffrey Beall. They also openly call for individuals to point them to “new, possibly predatory journals and publishers”, effectively irresponsibly inviting anyone, regardless of their credentials or any sort of a proper vetting or qualifying process, to recommend additions to the list.

Fact

  • The new fake beallslist.net has no affiliation to Jeffrey Beall. Mr. Beall himself has claimed to have no knowledge of the new curator. In an e-mail from Mr. Beall to the Managing Director of IGI Global, Ms. Lindsay Wertman, on January 23rd, 2020, Mr. Beall directly stated, “I don't have any involvement with this list or contact with whoever is responsible for it. I have been retired for almost two years and have abandoned my work in this area. As you know, I cannot control what others do with old copies of my list”.

  • The original Beall’s List did not include a “Vanity Press” list. (Beall, 2017)

The New Fake Beallslist.net Adds IGI Global to Their List of Vanity Presses:

As of December 23rd, 2019, IGI Global has appeared on the new version of Beallslist.net within a newly added “Vanity Press” portion of the website where the anonymous blogger provides their own definition of “Vanity Press“:

What is vanity press?
“Vanity press is a type of publishing, where authors pay to have their work published; either in money or – more often – in the author’s publication rights. During the publication process, no peer-review is promised by the publisher and no quality control is done. Vanity press usually does no editing, and the authors are left to do all the formatting and spell-checking by themselves. Their works are then published in self-publishing outlets, such as on Amazon, and physical copies of their books have outrageously high prices. The authors, of course, get no income from the sales. Vanity press usually targets young academics with no experience, that have just finished their degree and produced a thesis. Then, such publisher offers publication of their work in a book form for free. If however, the author wants to publish their research in the form of an academic paper afterwards, they are usually not permitted to do so, because of the legal contract with the vanity publisher.”

Difference between a vanity press and predatory publishing
“Predatory publishers claim to have a working peer review, but actually it’s either not present or it’s substantially flawed. Vanity press, on the other hand, never claim to have a peer review process – therefore they are usually perfectly legal businesses.” (Anonymous, n.d.)

By their own definition, this blogger’s opinion-based interpretation of what defines a vanity press completely absolves IGI Global of the erroneous inclusion on this list.

Fact

  • IGI Global, a FULL member of the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE) is a highly ethical publisher with rigorous double-blind peer review protocol without a single cost passed to our editors and authors. IGI Global’s peer review process is transparently presented in full on our peer review process webpage. 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 IGI Global’s member listing on the COPE webpage. (Committee on Publication Ethics, n.d.)

  • We have 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.

  • Also, like many other academic publishers (sans Open Access), IGI Global must obtain “warranty and rights” regarding the originality (avoid plagiarism) and the ownership of the work by the author in order to be able to publish the work. IGI Global does not retain the author’s intellectual property and provides an industry standard and supportive Fair Use Policy (Green Open Access). The SHERPA/ROMEO database has classified IGI Global as a "Blue" open access publisher, which means, “Can archive post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing) or publisher's version/PDF”. (SHERPA/RoMEO, 2018). IGI Global also offers generous royalty, honorarium, and discount programs to its authors/editors when their work is published by IGI Global.

  • IGI Global offers no “self-publishing” services of any kind. 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.

As part of their “vanity press definition”, the blogger mentions that the books are then available on Amazon.

Fact

  • Virtually every publisher’s entire portfolio can be found on Amazon, not only via direct accounts but through third-party sellers where the publisher has no control of the price. All of IGI Global’s pricing 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.

  • To correct the author’s false claims and unfortunate misunderstanding regarding our “self-publishing” channels, IGI Global offers each publication through print-on-demand, which is now the industry standard as virtual inventory doesn’t require mass production and overstocking. Every publication’s mandatory repository copy is submitted to the Library of Congress and then an additional copy sent for library profiling and cataloging by the industry’s most trusted library suppliers, including GOBI and OASIS. All IGI Global publications are available electronically (EPUB and PDF) and offered through the industry’s top aggregated platforms, such as ProQuest’s Ebook Central, EBSCOhost, Gale Virtual Reference Library, CREDO, Percipio, Dawson Books, CNPIEC’s iReading platform, CEPIEC’s iResearch Platform, as well as IGI Global’s InfoSci® -Databases.

The new fake Beallslist.net blogger also makes troubling discriminatory statements regarding the age and experience of researchers targeted by “Vanity Press”:


“Vanity press usually targets young academics with no experience, that have just finished their degree and produced a thesis. Then, such publisher offers publication of their work in a book form for free. If however, the author wants to publish their research in the form of an academic paper afterwards, they are usually not permitted to do so, because of the legal contract with the vanity publisher.” (Anonymous, n.d.)

Since this individual has decided to include IGI Global among their list of vanity press and accuse our publishing house of discriminatory practices within their definition, IGI Global must go on record to dismiss such notion that we target any individual and/or discriminate against any age group. Implying that IGI Global practices in any discriminatory fashion is extremely libelous and felonious.

Fact

  • All research published by IGI Global is considered an “academic paper,” as every submission is peer-reviewed, and the editor of the publication independently is the ultimate person making editorial decisions without any involvement of IGI Global as the publisher.

  • IGI Global does not publish theses or dissertations when it is known to IGI Global.

  • We do not know in exactly what country this blogger is located, but IGI Global does not, nor will ever discriminate or target specific age groups since any kind of discriminations in business is against the laws of the United States of America, and as an American company, we must obey these laws. Since IGI Global’s inception in 1988, more than 100,000+ researchers from all over the world including scholars from such prominent institutions as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Tsinghua University, the Australian National University, and many more have published their scholarly work in IGI Global publications regardless of age, race, religion, or creed.

  • Every new book and journal project proposed to IGI Global undergoes a rigorous proposal review process to ensure that the proposed research has merit and advances the current scientific findings within its field. We often encourage new authors or editors, regardless of age, to publish with a co-author or co-editor who has experience in publishing as they can act as a mentor and support with the time commitment, resources, and challenges of publishing such as receiving high-quality submissions.

  • This new fake “version” of Beall’s List is merely an opinion piece, unreliable, and void of scientific merit. Their attack can be deemed irresponsible and predatory in nature, as it is negatively impacting the lives and academic careers of more than 100,000 scholars worldwide who have published with IGI Global and offered their professional services as reviewers and editors on a voluntary basis. The unfortunate reality is that this unprovoked aggression is discrediting their contributions to their respective fields of research.

References

Anonymous. (n.d.). Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from https://beallslist.net/

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

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/

SHERPA/RoMEO. (2018, August 13). Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from http://sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/search.php?id=455&fIDnum=|&mode=simple&la=en
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