A new publishing model for academia

Today I received two emails for an invitation to publish a book chapter in a new book project by SCIYO. This is what the email said (I blanked out some information and added emphasis)

Dear Dr.XXXX,

My name is XXXX XXXX and I am contacting you regarding the SCIYO new book project under the working title “XXXX”, XXX-XXX-XXXX-X-X.

Based on your paper “XXXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX”, you are invited to submit a proposal for the book chapter. You are however neither limited to the paper topic nor are we asking you to republish the above paper.

The book will be published by SCIYO, world’s largest science & technology open access publisher. All SCIYO books are published both in hard copy and online, with completely free access to read, share and download.

To enable free access to the worldwide scientific community, Sciyo charges a publication fee of 470 euro per chapter. Publishing fee covers the review process, complementary hard copy and an online edition of the book.

SCIYO is also the first open access academic publisher to pay author royalties based on the number of chapter downloads.

For further details and list of author benefits, please visit

http://www.sciyo.com/invitation/xxxx

I hope that you will accept to participate.

On behalf of SCIYO President XXXX XXXX,

Mrs XXXX XXXX

These were sent to different email addresses, and were soliciting the book chapter based on my two different publications. Both invitations were for the same book, and by the same person.

At first, I was excited to have been invited to submit a book chapter. Then I read the email carefully and realized that I have to pay 470 Euros to get the chapter published. Authors get royalties based on number of downloads (0.2 Euro per 100 downloads). My immediate reaction was that SCIYO is fraud— the Nigerian bank transfer for academic publications. I browsed through some of the published books, and the content is genuine. The book chapters have a more applied flavor than my research, but they contain genuine overview articles. However, I did not recognize any of the authors, even in the fields that I am familiar with.

Surprisingly, Google did not bring up too much information about these publishers. Just two posts: Pay to Play in the Economist and No Thanks in a blog post. In both the posts, someone from SCIYO replied that they are a genuine publisher and their business model is independent of the quality of publication.

Giving the lack of information on the web, this appears to be a recent phenomenon. Their website does not contain any useful information (where are they located, where to buy the books in physical form, the editorial board, etc.). In view of these factors, I will pass this offer. Nonetheless this is an interesting take on open publishing. Instead of making money from the customers, make money from the authors!

Edit 1: See Joe’s comment below. He wrote a chapter for them, paid the publication fee, but the chapter was never published.

Edit 2: After Joe’s comment there was a surge of comments in support of SCYIO. How do four authors, who had published with SCIYO, decide to comment on a month old post within 24 hours after a SCIYO representative replied to Joe’s comment? Make your own judgment on that.

Edit 3: See this blog post for an interview with SCYIO’s CEO

37 thoughts on “A new publishing model for academia

    • Thanks Mattia. I did not know that major publishers also used open publishing. The good thing is that the material is still peer reviewed, so it is not like anyone with $3000 can publish a book.

  1. randomdeterminism, small correction – 0.2 euro is accredited to author’s for every 10 downloads. However, author royalties are not the core feature of our business model, they are an incentive for our authors whose work is highly used and who publish with us more than once.

    Sciyo’s books cannot be purchased anywhere for one simple reason – they are available at sciyo.com free of charge, published under the open access label and Creative Commons Attribution License. They can be downloaded, copied, shared and printed without any restriction apart from proper attribution of authorship and source. However, a limited edition of 100 copies is printed, one copy is given to the corresponding author while the others are distributed to selected university libraries.

    Our new website was launched just a couple of weeks ago, but Sciyo as a publisher has been around since 2004, cooperating with over 10 000 authors to this date. Hence the reason you haven’t found a lot about us. Detailed info about the company is here:

    http://www.sciyo.com/page/company

    Open access publishing using the author-pays system has also been around for years. Authors who choose to publish their work under the open access label increase their potential audience and the visibility of their work, which results in higher citation rates.
    In many cases, the publishing fee is not paid by the author, but his/her institution or funder, and when it comes to authors from developing countries we sometimes waive the fee. This way, the research community gets barrier-free access to research outputs and the authors build their citation profile.
    Also, take into consideration that Sciyo’s publication fee is among the lowest in the open access publishing industry.

    If you’d like to get more information on open access publishing in general, here is a list of benefits, declarations, publications, discussions and other resources you might find useful:

    http://www.sciyo.com/page/openaccess

    Anyways, I hope I’ve managed to clear some of your doubts. We’d welcome any further questions and/or suggestions from you, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Regards

    • Thanks for the clarifications. I was not aware on the open access publishing model. After looking at the prices of Springer ($3000), Sciyo is definitely much cheaper.

      Nonetheless, I feel reluctant to write a book chapter (an investment of at least 4-6 months of time) when I do not know the editors or anything about other contributing authors.

      Another point: if Sciyo does not really publish books for the general public, why does your email say “All SCIYO books are published both in hard copy and online”. Stating half-truths in the invitation letter does not improve confidence.

      • I see your point. We are very much aware of how much time and effort our authors put into their work. However, the policy of keeping the names of the editors confidential at this stage was put into place to protect the editors from unwanted influence attempts, which has happened in the past and made their work rather difficult. Authors are invited to submit their chapter proposal based on their previous publication history and relevance of their work, and the full list will be known after the call for chapter has closed and the review process has finished.

        As for the statement in the email, it was certainly not our intention to mislead anyone and we’ll make sure to provide a more detailed information in the future.

    • Judging by the number of hits my blog got from google search of Sciyo, I think that they sent out bulk emails to a lot of people.

  2. yeah… I got the invi too. I initially thought that this would be good for my resume….but after reading some comments on the net (particularly the ones you stated above)…. I am holding back a bit…

  3. Yeah I got those Emails too, having just written one paper about my diploma thesis. I am not even in science any more. The interesting question is, how the hell did they get my Emailaddress (no, it was not on the paper). Freaky.

    • At least my email address was on the papers.

      If you email id was not on the paper, then the only way that they can get it is from the journal (or the journal’s content management website). In which journal was your article printed, and do they have a privacy policy on your contact details?

  4. Sciyo is a FRAUD. I wrote a chapter for them. After the chapter was accepted, I paid the publishing fee. But the corresponding book has never been published either in their webpage or in paper. Do not answer these invitations emails. They will make you lose your time and your money. As soon as they get the publishing fee, they forget you and your chapter.

    • Hello again,
      I want to correct my previous comment about SCIYO. Finally, I received the book with my chapter published on it. I want to thank SCIYO for their work and I want to apologize for my previous comment.

      Best wishes,
      Joe.

      PS: I ask the administrator of this web to delete my previous comment because SCIYO finally did their work and they do not deserve this criticism. Thank you very much.

  5. Thank you for posting this topic!

    SCIYO sent me exactly the same invitation for a book project named ‘Gas Turbines’ (978-953-7619-X-X).
    I won’t answer them.

  6. SCIYO is a first worldwide open access publisher offering author royalties, it means all SCIYO books and journals are free to read, download and/or share, beside that authors are receiving royalties. Another important point is that average publishing fee of Open Access publishers is 1200 Euro, while SCIYO publishing fee is 470 Euro. All corresponding authors are receiving book hardcopy with priority mail dispatch (DHL, Fedex) on their postal address.

  7. I just received the hardcopy of the book in which I published my chapter. The book hardcopy and scientific quality is excellent. I would like use SCIYO database everyday. Thanks.

  8. Somewhat reluctantly, I decided to take up an invitation from IN-TECHWEB (or SCIYO as I am told it has now been relabelled) to contribute an expanded version of a paper I had written for a conference with two grad students. I say reluctantly because in general I don’t approve of having to pay to get published but I thought it would be good for my students’ CVs. Every little helps, as they say, especially at an early stage in one’s career.

    I found IN-TECH (or as it says in the book, “In-Teh”, registered in Vukovar, Croatia) to be helpful and professional in their approach and dealings with me. I got the hard copy version this morning although I have not yet been able to locate the on-line version. No doubt, soon to come at the SCIYO site? We shall see. The result is a handsome enough volume, printed in India and stitch-bound.

    There was no peer-review process; and I say to my embarassment I had not heard of the book’s editor before (I do think I ought to know at least the main protagonists in my speciality by now!) I presume that the book’s editor relied on the peer-review process of the original conference in which we had published.

    We are in a state of transition with regard to the publication of scientific work, and although it’s good to get oneself disseminated quickly, I wonder about the persistence of such publications. What (copyright) libraries will hold these books? In 100 years, will readers be able to access copies of books to which I have contributed?

    I doubt if the publication in INTEH will gain me many points on my CV – impact factor is unknown, it’s impossible to find this book by googling it (even when I searched with editor, full name in quotes AND ISBN!) But it was an interesting experience and I wish SCIYO good fortune in their endeavours.

    • Jurek, your chapter was not peer reviewed! That means that SCIYO is a pay to publish enterprise. Sure it is open access, but then so is anything posted on arxiv. I hope they at least copy edited your paper.

      You said that you assume that the book editors relied on the peer-review process of the original conference. However, SCIYO’s invitation said: “You are however neither limited to the paper topic nor are we asking you to republish the above paper.” Even if the content of your chapter was same as your conference paper, not having a peer-review implies that the editors were either lazy, overworked, or incompetent, none of which bodes well for the future of SCIYO.

  9. We have collaborated in editorial initiatives in the past with successful results for chapter contributions and editing a book on robotics. This is to confirm great satisfaction for the collaboration we received in the editorial work and for the good results of the published editorial initiatives.

    Marco Ceccarelli and Giuseppe Carbone

  10. I received the hardcopy of the book that I published my chapter from “IN-TECH”. After that, I also received invitation of a book chapter from “SCIYO”. I am confused. (I received the hardcopy of the book from INTECH). P.S. I am wondering that how to get my e-mail address.

  11. I think open pub service like InTek is a new direction in academia. I have published one chapter by SCIyo, and the publishing fee was also waived. It is gaining positive estimations in some orgnizations.

  12. We have collaborated in editorial initiatives in the past with successful results for chapter contributions and editing a book on robotics. This is to confirm great satisfaction for the collaboration we received in the editorial work and for the good results of the published editorial initiatives.

    Marco Ceccarelli and Giuseppe Carbone

  13. Got about 5 of these emails. With such little info, the high cost, and the stigma of self publishing, I think I will pass. Definetly smells fishy!!

  14. I was asked by my advisor who is a respected Prof. to do a web search to establish the credibility of ‘in-tech’ which has exactly the same publishing model as you describe. (note that in the books that they publish they call themselves ‘in teh’ – which is a mis-spelling of ‘in the’ which will result in hundreds of hits so you will never find it on a google search)

    When I clicked the link to sciyo on your blog I realised that the testimonials were exactly the same as in-tech. These guys have re-named the company and started again with another group of gullible academics.

    The book chapters that I looked at are littered with grammatical and spelling errors, particularly the editorials.

    Like other people have mentioned, if you want your paper in the public domain I would suggest scribd or google documents.

    As far as I can see this is in a brazen attempt to make money directly from academic egos.. and because the company behind it all present a professional facade, people fall for it.

    I hope this clarifies things.

    • I’m in the social sciences and just received an email invite to publish a chapter in a book on globalization. The publishing fee is now 590 Euros. And with the lack of peer review, I think having this on my CV would hurt more than help. No thanks!

      • Hi all,
        I also got the same email today. I was really excited, since I am really looking forward to writing a book chapter. But, when I read the whole thing I realized: it’s 590 euros!! Okay, is open access and blablabla, but it’s not peer review, and honestly, doesn’t smell good either. The books do show up when googling, and is cheaper than publishing a paper (although not the same, of course)… but something feels wrong. I don’t know. Maybe the fact that the email was recovered from the junk folder tells something. I will think about it, it is still a lot of money for a not so great publication. On the other hand, I would like to thank the author of this blog and all the people that contributed, because this topic was really helpfull. Cheers!

        • Don’t waste your time with non-peer reviewed publications. Focus on what counts in academia (and your CV) – peer-reviewed journal publications!

  15. OK, thanks. I was invited to write a chapter by this publisher. The invitation was based on my article published elswhere. But since the very first time i was feeling somethinkg smelly and strange in those emails. I guess I can understand it now. Thank you for sharing experience.

  16. Thanks for this blog. I was just a click before accepting to write a chapter for the book Echocardiography, but you saved my time and money.

  17. I have received an e-mail from Ivana Lorkovic,de In-Tech Books for publishing a chapter in a book about earthquakes; but my investigation is on travel writting. They have found my article about Voltaire and the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, just searching “earthquake” on scientific journals, I think.
    I’ve read in another blog about a boy who has received an e-mail from the same Ms. Ivana Lorkovic, and he sais it’s an academic scam: http://jmspeex.livejournal.com/5092.html

  18. total scam, got several inquiries to write a book chapter on Irrigation: Types, Sources and Problems.
    The invitation was based on a paper published in a urological journal!! How on earth the male reproductive system relates to agricultural issues is beyond me. Maybe InTech can help me out?

  19. I have received similar emails as you and searching “in-tech publishing scam” brought me to your blog.

    It is notable that they do offer a removal link to remove your email from their database. Let’s hope it works. I imagine that they would remove people from their lists because to avoid negative press from annoyed scientists.

    I would like to stress that’s there’s a difference between open access publishing and what (I guess) they are labeling as “Open Publishing.” There’s also a difference between a book chapter and a peer reviewed journal article. In an open access journal like Public Library of Science (PLOS), they have quite high academic and scientific standards. I published with them, and the peer review process was thorough and rigorous. Their model is interesting in that they assign the paper to an academic editor from a list (which we are all aware of) of vetted scientists, the paper undergoes peer review and the academic editor lists specific issues that must be addressed before publication. In my case, it involved more experiments to further support validity of the findings. Open access scientific journals just mean that anyone, without a subscription, can access the content of the journal. It does not mean that anything can be published. The National Institutes of Health has an Open Access Policy. Any publication whose research was supported by federal funds must be deposited in an open-access at NCBI after 1 year publication in the “closed” journals.

    Book chapters, such as the topic of this post, are not peer reviewed, and you can publish whatever you want. It is a forum for academics whose work has not passed muster in the peer reviewed forum and need to list citations on their CV’s. It’s vanity press but more insidious because it also gives a false impression of productivity.

  20. Everything said and considered, SCIYO may be fraudulent after all. But wait a second, isn’t the nature of the information super-highway such that our very notions of academic presence antiquated and much in need of rethinking? While I agree with most of what is said in opposition or suspicion of SCIYO, I think every writer needs to fathom that these are deeply rooted fears of change from the traditional academic publishing model. We should not expect perfect cause ways capable of delivering super-traffic to accommodate the old-fashioned wheelbarrows that we still insist on keeping. Perhaps a new standardization of academic publishing is indicated?

  21. Let me add that this “new academic publishing” scam goes deeper than one might think. As a senior academic with plenty of journal articles in good journals, I have now published two books happily with Springer Publishers. But my third book was a HUGE mistake. Springer now claims that all authors must submit ONLY perfect manuscripts and that NO changes can be made to the galley no matter what. I had no idea that I would not see a galley before publication. After much badgering I did manage to get the galley but they did not allow me to check the corrected galley and so now my third Springer book is so riddled with BIG MISTAKES despite its $189 price tag that sales must cease.

    How to stop sales of a MISTAKEN book? No trivial as Springer Publishers no longer cares if my book is correct. So far neither two editors in Dordrecht or one executive at HQ will agree to remove this book, to fix book or to return the copyright. Instead, I have gotten repeated statements that I have no legal recourse – too bad. They insist on the sell,sell,sell attitude towards the MISTAKEN book while sending tons out for journal reviews. A BAD situation for any academic author. Avoid it.

    What recourse does an academic author have? Plenty, more than one might think. But that’s another post. My best advice: don’t sigh up for a book or chapter with Springer Publishers, that the message.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s