I received an invitation recently to submit a manuscript which I felt I should share, despite the warning not to do so at the bottom of the email. Sending me an unsolicited email seems to invalidate any demand in a disclaimer of the sort at the bottom. Here is the email:
Dear Dr. Mcgrath,
We have learned of your published research on prayer and would like to invite you to participate in our publishing program.
To learn more about Nova and our recently published books, please visit About Us and our website at novapublishers.com.
We welcome two possible avenues of cooperation (you can select one or both):
1. Your authorship or editorship of a monograph or edited collection on a topic of your choice.
The format (monograph or edited collection), approach and the manuscript submission date is at your discretion. If you are interested, please fill in our Book Idea Form and return it to us. If your book proposal is accepted for publication, we will send our agreement for your evaluation and signature. Your book will be published in printed and electronic formats simultaneously.
2. Your submission of one or more original research or review chapter(s) for our upcoming hardcover edited collection (by selected invitation only) tentatively entitled:
The Power of Prayer
The deadline for the abstract is July 31, 2018 and for the completed chapter October 31, 2018. Please send the abstract and the chapter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Inclusion in Nova’s edited collections is without charge to authors. The only exceptions are color figures if required and an English editing fee if it is determined to be necessary. Other manuscript enhancement options are available at the author’s discretion. Please see the detailed notes for contributors.
We also welcome proposals to serve as the editor of this volume. If you are interested, please send your latest CV to us. Proposals to serve as the editor are welcome up to the abstract deadline.
You are welcome to extend this invitation letter on our behalf to your esteemed and recommended colleague(s) active in this field of research.
We look forward to the possibility of working together. We also invite you to visit our office on Long Island or meet with one of our representatives in New York, should such a possibility arise.
Nadya S. Columbus
Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
400 Oser Avenue, Suite 1600
Hauppauge, NY 11788 USA
We are pleased to announce that Nova is accredited with the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.
Remove: If you wish to not receive Call-for-Papers for upcoming scientific, technical and medical publishing projects, please send a return email to email@example.com with the word Remove in the Subject Line. Thank you.
CONFIDENTIALITY: This email and any attachments is for the sole use of the individuals or entities to which it is addressed. Individuals who have received this information in error or are not authorized to receive it must promptly return or dispose of the information and notify the sender. Further use, review, disclosure, printing, copying, distribution of, or reliance upon the contents of this email and attachments is strictly prohibited.If you cannot read the above message you can contact Stella Rosa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
There are quite a number of oddities about the email, not limited to the fact that I haven’t actually published on the “power of prayer.” But the biggest is the fact that the publisher emphasizes that they have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau!
It may well seem strange to those outside academia that having a Better Business Bureau rating at all is a worrying sign. And it may be that going forward into the future, we will need something like a Better Publisher Bureau to serve as a clearinghouse for ratings and reviews of places that offer to oublish our work. Open access publishing and print on demand technology mean that things look much better for those who must “publish or perish” than they ever did before. But the proliferation of ways to publish and increased ease and lower expense involved in the process also means that it is easier than ever to get one’s work into print. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing at all, for most purposes. It just lacks the one thing that sets academic publishing apart: peer review. And so the problem with those who will publish anything is not that this is inherently “bad,” but that it lacks the very thing that makes it valuable for the purpose of tenure and promotion. Perhaps we need to change the saying to “peer review or perish”? But some of the predatory publishers claim to offer that, even if it is unclear whether they do. What else could capture what “publish or perish” used to mean, but can convey it more clearly in our era of cheap fast and easy publishing, when mere publication is not a clear sign? Not that it ever really was – there have always been vanity presses. And it used to be that self-publishing was the norm, and peer review was how your work was received after publication. If we could just move to the modern equivalent of that, where it was fine to simply post a pdf of your work online, and then the question was whether other scholars found it engaging, the concern about predatory publishers might go away.
What do others think? And what are some of the more amusing emails you have received asking you to publshe your work with this or that outlet?