Beware the Academic Book Mill!

By Georgi Bordner, Head of Technical Services

Does this really look like a scholarly monograph?

Does this really look like a scholarly monograph?

Are you looking forward to finishing your thesis or dissertation and dreaming of the day when you might actually see your work in print? Companies such as Lambert Academic Publishing are counting on it.

In his article “I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm,” Joseph Stromberg describes his experience of being contacted by LAP Lambert (part of the German company VDM) with the suggestion that they would like to publish his thesis as a book.1 According to Stromberg and others who have reported similar experiences, Lambert editors contact thousands of academics via bulk e-mail, offering to publish their works. All the authors have to do is send a PDF of the thesis and transfer all rights to publish it to the company. The publisher pays for all publishing costs, and the author gets 12% of the royalties if enough copies are sold.

The problem with this system is that the resulting books are generally cheaply made and published with no editorial review. Authors are pressured to buy multiple copies of their own book, but few books are sold to anyone else. Some people who have bought books published by Lambert have expressed their anger in discovering the amateur quality of what they expected to be edited, full-length books.

We advise students to think carefully before choosing to publish with companies like LAP Lambert or VDM. Due to the lack of peer review, including these imprints in your C.V. might actually hurt your reputation and your job prospects, and you will not even be able to publish parts of your work elsewhere, such as in an academic journal, since you will be required to give up all rights to it. When you are ready to publish, be sure to choose a publisher that will give your work the careful review and editing it deserves, while allowing you to maintain your rights to use the content in any way that you would like.

_______________________________

1Joseph Stromberg, “I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm: A Trip through the Surreal World of an Academic Book Mill” Slate, March 23, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/pzm8d4x.

Book Club reading Bless Me, Ultima

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), the Library Book Club will kick off its eighth year with Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya’s coming-of-age novel set in post-World War II New Mexico.

Anaya spent six years working on Bless Me, Ultima as he struggled to find a language to communicate the Chicano culture of the American southwest. Since the novel’s publication in 1972, it has come to be regarded as a classic of both Hispanic and contemporary American literature. It was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its first Big Read season in 2008 and remains on its book list.

The Library has four copies of the novel, and a reader’s guide and podcast are available available on the Big Read website.

The Book Club will discuss Bless Me, Ultima on Thursday, September 25 at 12:00 in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are encouraged to join us live via Google Hangouts, Google’s free, easy-to-use videoconferencing software. Simply click here, and Google will take you directly to our discussion or prompt you first to add the Hangouts plug-in to your computer.

For more information about the Library Book Club, including the 2014-2015 schedule, see our webpage or contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

Grandson of Inklings member Owen Barfield to visit Library

On Tuesday, August 26, Owen A. Barfield, the grandson of Owen Barfield (1898-1997) will visit the Library for a discussion about his grandfather’s work and thought. Owen Barfield was one of the twentieth century’s most original thinkers. A philosopher and poet, Barfield was a friend of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, both of whose works were influenced by his ideas. Owing to his friendship with Lewis from their student years and his long life, Barfield has been called “the first and last Inkling,” a reference to the informal literary circle of that name at Oxford.

Although Lewis credited Barfield with helping to turn him from atheism to belief in God, Barfield was not an orthodox believer and his writings were heavily influenced by anthroposophy, a spiritualistic school of philosophy founded by Rudolph Steiner. Barfield believed in evolution and saw reincarnation as an essential compensation for the inequalities created by the gradual development of humanity. Yet he considered himself a Christian and declared that taking communion constituted his “happiest hour.”*

“A Conversation with Owen A. Barfield” is being sponsored by the School of Divinity, School of Communication and the Arts, and the University Library. The event will take place from 3:00 to 4:30 in the Library Gallery area. Mr. Barfield will be joined by Dr. Michael Elam, Dr. Micahel DiFuccia, and Dr. Bill Brown in a discussion about the role of imagination in life, the Inklings, and more. Following the program, please join us for fellowship, tea, and scones. A RSVP, while not required, is encouraged, and can be done on Facebook, Google+ or by an e-mail to Stephanie Lowell at steplow@regent.edu.

__________________________________

*Paul R Waibel and M. Kari Daven, “Owen Barfield,” Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia (Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, 2013), Research Starters, EBSCOhost.

Post your favorite book for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.

It’s not too late to enter the Library’s start-of-the-year drawing for a $30 Amazon gift card. Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Join our Facebook group or follow our Google+ page.
  2. Enter your favorite book in the comment section of the Amazon gift card post. (It’s at the top of the newsfeed.)

That’s all! Old members are also eligible to win. Just post your favorite book in the same location. The drawing will take place on Tuesday, August 26.

Visiting scholar from UK visits Library Special Collections

Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections.

Dr. Maiden examining the Dennis Bennett papers in Special Collections.

From July 28 through August 4, the Library hosted a visiting scholar from Britain. John Maiden, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University in Milton Keynes, came to Regent to examine documents in the Rev. Dennis J. Bennett archive, housed in the Library’s Special Collections. Dr. Maiden is working on a book on the Charismatic and Renewal movements during the 1960s and 1970s within the historic/mainline denominations in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Bennett archive in the Library occupies a crucial part of this history, since the beginning of the Charismatic movement is often marked by the date April 3, 1960, when Reverend Bennett announced from his pulpit at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California that he had received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and had spoken in tongues.

At the end of his visit to the Library, Dr. Maiden thanked Special Collections assistants Donald Gantz and Yabbeju (Jabez) Rapaka for all their help in making his stay a success. The Library is pleased to have been able to assist Dr. Maiden in his research.