Last April, after discovering that I could, I decided to add my MFA thesis to Iowa Research Online, the institutional repository at the University of Iowa, where I got my degree. For good measure, I slapped a Creative Commons license on it (and was told that I was the first person ever to request one at Iowa). I did all this not so much because I think you should read my thesis as because I believe in open access and I want to support it however I can. Iowa instituted its open access policy (since amended with various opt-outs) requiring the electronic deposit of theses and dissertations after I left, and I’ve written before about why I felt most of the outrage about it was hypocritical at best. The people who don’t want to make their theses open access are often the very same people who get snitty about why can’t they just make a bunch of copies of a New Yorker essay for their class. I rest my case.
Since I added it to the IR, it’s been downloaded 38 times, which is rather more than the one time the physical thesis has been checked out, so if my goal were to increase my readership, it’s certainly the way to go.
As I learned the other day, though, it’s also clearly the way to go if you want to get academic spam. Like many people out there (just look at the comment thread on that post, or heck, just Google Lambert Academic Publishing), I, too, was targeted by an academic vanity press with pretensions of scholarly greatness. I reproduce the full email below:
Dear Laura Crossett,
While researching dissertations and theses listed on the University of Iowa’s electronic library for publication, I became aware of the paper you submitted as part of your postgraduate degree, entitled “Encounters with dead white men and other excursionsâ€.
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing is an academic publisher, which specializes since 2002 in the publication of high quality monographs, master theses, diploma theses, dissertations and postdoctoral theses from renowned institutions worldwide.
I am therefore inquiring whether you would be keen on publishing your academic work with us.
In other words, we would make your work available in printed form and market it on a global scale through well-known distributors at no cost to you.
I would appreciate if you could confirm your interest with a reply email and we will send a detailed brochure to you.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing is a trademark of:
OmniScriptum GmbH & Co. KG
66121, SaarbrÃ¼cken, Germany
d.daniels(at)lap-publishing.com / www.lap-publishing.com
Handelsregister Amtsgericht SaarbrÃ¼cken HRA 10356 Identification Number (Verkehrsnummer): 13955 Partner with unlimited liability: VDM Management GmbH Handelsregister Amtsgericht SaarbrÃ¼cken HRB 18918 Managing director: Thorsten Ohm (CEO)
I was tipped off by the mere phrase “academic work.” One can only assume they did not read my thesis very closely, since, although it was submitted as part of an academic degree, it is a creative work, not an academic one. I am also not interested in publishing it: I already have published it. You can download it for free or borrow it through interlibrary loan. If you want to support my work as a writer, you can buy my book. I would suggest, if you are the recipient of a similar email, that you delete it, ignore it — or, better yet — put it out there for all the world to see. We escape scams through constant vigilance. Together, we can do it better.