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A guide to resources of interest to researchers at the University of New England, Australia.
Last Updated: Sep 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Vanity and predatory publishing Print Page

Publishing your thesis

Publishing is important to academics and researchers. The best way to establish your academic career is to publish in reputable peer-reviewed journals or conferences as appropriate in your specific discipline and use a reputable publisher for books. Your supervisor will be able to assist you to choose appropriately. Publishing in sources that are not peer-reviewed can adversely affect your academic career. The following are emerging forms of publication models made possible only because of the ease of online and digital publishing. You need to be cautious with these and they are best avoided.


Vanity publishing


Vanity publisher: The publisher charges you to publish your book. This is sometimes referred to as self-publishing by some but that is incorrect. The fee can occur at any point in the process. In other words, vanity publishers sell primarily to their authors who then attempt to sell their "published" work to the reading public. Memberships also count as fees.

Vanity publishing

  • does not require peer review
  • can require the author to pay a fee for publication
  • involves the publisher selling work to readers


Self-publishing is controlled by the author(s) who pays for or does the actual production, marketing, and distribution of the book and receives the profits. The author owns the book and receives all its profits without sharing with other entities, and they also own the ISBN. Self-publishing does not employ the process of peer review and as such, the quality of material cannot be assured.

Self-publishing should not be confused with Open Access Scholarly Journal Publishing which, whilst it is digital, online, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, employs the same peer review and editing processes of traditional scholarly publications.


Predatory publishing

The numbers of questionable publishers is growing rapidly online, from 23 to 225 publishers in just one year, according to Jeffrey Beall (2013).

Many of these publishers are corrupt and exist only to make money off the author processing charges that are billed to authors upon acceptance of their scientific manuscripts.

Beall, J. (2013). Predatory publishing is just one of the consequences of gold open access. Learned Publishing26(2), 79-84. doi: 10.1087/20130203



Print-on-demand publishers often target authors of theses. They do not charge authors and have limited academic value.

By signing with a print-on-demand publisher you grant the publisher permission to publish your thesis, but you continue to own copyright. Be aware that some reputable publishers may be cautious about publishing substantial output that is based on your thesis, if the thesis has been published via print-on-demand.


Useful Links

Distraction Watch - examples of predatory publisher's introductory letters.

NSW Department of Fair Trading - Vanity Publishing

General Guidelines & Tips on Avoiding Scams from the Critters Writers Workshop

VDM Publishing - print-on-demand

Blogs:   Maden's Blog

              Per Ola Kristensson

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