Lorraine Estelle provides an overview of how Think. Check. Submit. can help researchers learn how to choose trustworthy publishers for their books, monographs and chapters
The risks and challenges
Many reputable open access book publishers offer a range of additional services. For example, some produce and HTML format of the book, because this is more easily searchable. Some will also produce formats such as EPUB and AZW which can be read on a wide variety of e-book readers. Additionally, they may provide print versions, and sometimes authors will receive royalties on print and digital retail sales. They ensure that authors retain the copyright to their work so that they and others can share and reuse it. Their websites make clear which books are open access and that they are discoverable by search engines.
Some open access book publishers charge authors a fee, called a book processing charge (BPC). In the case of a trustworthy publisher, this covers the cost of rigorous peer review processes, editorial review, dissemination, etc. of the published book.
On the other hand, predatory publishers invite researchers to publish their work, often in open access, in return for a fee but provide none of these services. Predatory publishers can be hard to spot because quite often they impersonate a reputable book publisher by using a similar name.
With publishers offering such a range of services, choosing a reputable publisher can be challenging, especially for early-career researchers. Authors who are deceived by predatory publishers will not only be tricked out of money but most likely their work will never be published at all. If it is published, it may harm the reputation of the author, because of the lack of peer review and editorial services.
Think. Check. Submit. for books, monographs and chapters
Think.Check.Submit. provides a tool to help researchers build up their publisher evaluation skills. The checklist for books and chapters is in three sections:
- ‘Think’ invites researchers to consider how they can be sure a publisher they have in mind is right for their research.
- ‘Check’ provides a list of questions to assess if a publisher is a suitable venue for their research output. Questions include:
- Can you tell what formats the books are available in and what price levels? (e.g., ebook for purchase or open access, print in hard or softcover)
- Is the publisher clear on their website about the type of peer review used and if it involves independent/external reviewers?
- Does the publisher allow you to retain the copyright of your work?
- Is the publisher clear about contracts and royalty agreements, where applicable?
- ‘Submit,’ advises researchers to only submit their manuscript if they can answer ‘yes’ to most or all of the ‘Check’ questions.
How you can help
We encourage readers of the post to help by signposting Think. Check. Submit. for books and chapters on their websites. Currently, this tool is only available in English and Persian – if you would like to translate it into your local language then please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org