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Author Topic: Facts About The Edwin Mellen Press  (Read 72158 times)
secretaryx
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« on: January 04, 2013, 6:56:20 PM »

Over the years there have been multiple untruths posted in various threads about The Edwin Mellen Press publishing program, its books, authors, and its employees.  While there have been posts made in an attempt to correct the falsehoods from our authors and editors these are typically met with suspicion and further insults to our company and its employees. 

Oh, come on.  The groupthink around here is so disgusting sometimes.

OldFullProf, I see that this is your 9,098th post.  Can you say how you came to be posting on this board?  Were you just surfing the internet and you happened to come across the CHE Forum...?  Or maybe Mellen said, "We'd love to have satisfied authors give testimony to their experience"?  Or -- ?  Can you tell us how you came to join the Forum and write your post(s)?

Seriously:  you've been around long enough to observe--if you've been paying attention--the habit of dodgy/marginal presses deploying their authors (often authors not in academia, with no experience in academic publishing) to defend their business plans on threads like this.  Given that this is Pavane's first post, and that s/he does not address any of the objections raised against Mellen earlier in this thread, the post is suspect.

And yes, it is our collective duty as scholars to call out operations like Mellen.  Mellen would serve its interests much, much more effectively by forthrightly addressing the objections raised here.

It is OUR collective duty to defend the integrity of our publishing program, our books, and most importantly our authors.  This thread will be a collection of facts regarding our program, testimonials from our authors, examples of Mellen books including reviews, and the libraries they are located in.

Additionally we feel that the attacks directed at Mellen are no different than the acts of school yard bullies.  We have noticed that the same few users have engaged in and encouraged these attacks over the years on our press.  It has become something the "in" crowd does.

You do know it would have to be me, don't you?  I can actually fake being respectable, and I promise to be critical of ORT.  I'm great at deep cover stuff, and my hair is short, and I have an "academic" beard, and the time.  Please...please...!

I'll actually help with the snotty attacks on Mellen if you let me do this.
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secretaryx
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 7:03:23 PM »

Let's start off by addressing some of the falsehoods stated about our program.

Falsehood #1: It has been stated time and again that The Edwin Mellen Press is a vanity press.


I've never heard of any press charging an author for typesetting.


I have. It's called Mellen Press. I knew someone who had his book published with Mellen. It was pitiful. It really was. Swim, if you have to pay for typesetting, most likely this is a vanity press. It may be dressed up otherwise, but bottom line: vanity press.

Why don't you tell us what press it is?

In my field Mellen is considered a vanity press.  To have your book printed there would, at least for the time being, severely impact whatever chances you had of academic work at a decent school.

Let's cut to the quick, here-- and for full disclosure, recall that I worked briefly for this outfit 20 years ago, and fully agree that it is indeed a vanity press--does anyone here who is/ has been in a position of evaluating academics for tenure and/or promotion feel that a Mellen book on said academics' cvs would a) aid b) be a matter of indifference or c) hurt said academics chances for tenure or promotion?

It has been methinks well established here that Mellen is more or less an academic vanity press, explicitly recruiting submissions from scholars needing to publish to bolster their cvs, and that some of the titles published by this house over the decades, such as the one I saw in press when I briefly worked there, re: "Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment", are of dubious quality.  Sadly, this fact will lower the expectations for and opinions of any more legit works published there, just as attending a lame grad school, however competent or even excellent one is oneself, will lower one's career prospects.


That is completely false.  We accept no subsidies of any kind and in fact do pay royalties.
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secretaryx
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 7:07:34 PM »

Falsehood #2: It has been stated that Mellen books are not peer reviewed.

I didn't reply since you'd been told to search, but now I'll add what I had said before, which is

(1) A book from Mellen is worse than no book at all, since if you have no book (but a decent dissertation) you are probably going to be able to revise it for a university press: you are a young scholar with promise. If you publish it with Mellen, you are sending a signal that no other press will touch it and therefore you have little future in the field.

(2) which, as someone else has said, is OK if you don't "need" the publication for professional reasons -- Mellen publishes from your own typescript (or, nowadays, from a formatted file) and has very rarely produced something really obscure, as in the translated novel from an unfamiliar novelist, or, in my field, an annotated bibliography of works in a subfield that maybe 18 people in the world are interested in that has proved quite useful to those 18 people.

There is no peer review. And an offer to publish an unseen dissertation should be -- as, clearly, it was -- a sign that you don't want anything to do with the press.

Not true.  All of our books undergo multiple peer reviews, including blind reviews and are also recommended and endorsed by a senior scholar.
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usukprof
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2013, 7:09:25 PM »

Falsehood #2: It has been stated that Mellen books are not peer reviewed.

I didn't reply since you'd been told to search, but now I'll add what I had said before, which is

(1) A book from Mellen is worse than no book at all, since if you have no book (but a decent dissertation) you are probably going to be able to revise it for a university press: you are a young scholar with promise. If you publish it with Mellen, you are sending a signal that no other press will touch it and therefore you have little future in the field.

(2) which, as someone else has said, is OK if you don't "need" the publication for professional reasons -- Mellen publishes from your own typescript (or, nowadays, from a formatted file) and has very rarely produced something really obscure, as in the translated novel from an unfamiliar novelist, or, in my field, an annotated bibliography of works in a subfield that maybe 18 people in the world are interested in that has proved quite useful to those 18 people.

There is no peer review. And an offer to publish an unseen dissertation should be -- as, clearly, it was -- a sign that you don't want anything to do with the press.

Not true.  All of our books undergo multiple peer reviews, including blind reviews and are also recommended and endorsed by a senior scholar.

If you are as rigourous as you claim, I'd expect independent verification from secretaryy and secretaryz.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 7:11:16 PM »

You would better bolster your case by producing evidence for your claims rather than collecting a series of "falsehoods."

Or do you only have evidence in the form of blurbs posted without the authors' permission?
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 7:12:01 PM »

It is OUR collective duty to defend the integrity of our publishing program, our books, and most importantly our authors.  This thread will be a collection of facts regarding our program, testimonials from our authors, examples of Mellen books including reviews, and the libraries they are located in.

A thread dedicated to the promotion of Mellen, written by someone implying they are associated with Mellen, on this free discussion form hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, is likely to be regarded as spam. Use of the forums to promote business ventures with which posters are affiliated is explicitly against the rules of our User Agreement, as follows:

Quote
Personal Use Only. The Chronicle grants You a revocable, non-exclusive, and nontransferable license to access and use those portions of the Site for which You have subscribed or registered solely for your personal use, and not in connection with any commercial enterprise, service bureau, or business, and conditioned on your continued compliance with these Terms.

... from http://chronicle.com/article/User-Agreement/47435/

The stated purpose of your thread seems to my eye to fairly clearly to violate the above excerpt from the User Agreement. I am not a CHE staff member, however, and so I do not have the power to ban you for noncompliance with the User Agreement. The staff moderators, however, do.

VP
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secretaryx
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 7:13:47 PM »

Falsehood #3: It has been stated that libraries do not purchase our books.

 I have just completed my PhD thesis and I am looking for a publisher that
could publish it.

Are you actually looking for a publisher that will print/publish the thesis as it now exists? What is your goal in doing that? Are you in a field of from a country in which a published doctoral thesis is customary or necessary? If so, you should find the advice you seek from your doctoral adviser, or from someone in your field/country who understands the system.

For academic purposes (seeking a faculty position or a similar post in an institute or other public body) in an English-speaking country, publishing an unrevised thesis is almost completely useless and may do a career more harm than good. The completed thesis (or dissertation -- in the US, a dissertation is a doctoral work and a thesis a master's level product, though the reverse is true in the UK) becomes available in microfilm or digital form for those few people interested in its results, but a published book (which may be based on the work done for the thesis) has been significantly revised, recast, and polished. As the editor-in-chief of my university's press is fond of saying, "a dissertation is written for people who know more than you do (i.e., your supervisor and committee); a book is directed to readers who know less (that is, scholars working on related topics, or interested in allied areas, as well as postgraduate students, undergraduates, and other such readers.)"

The few "academic" presses that will actually print an unrevised dissertation (such as VDM, Mellon, and a few others) usually simply reproduce what you have typed and formatted. They do not have outside reviewers to suggest revisions before publication. They do almost no copy-editing or design, nor do they market adequately to university libraries. Thus the book is often filled with errors and looks no better than your own computer-generated pages reduced in size. But even with stingy production methods, the books sell at an extremely high price because there is almost no demand for them. The usual purchasers of academic books are college and university libraries, but few libraries are interested in a very expensive book on an extremely narrow topic of interest only to a few specialists. The books from these publishers are seldom reviewed in scholarly journals, and although there are a few cases in which they are of some professional value, most university faculties recognize these publishers and dismiss any book from them as "by someone who couldn't publish a real book." In other words, for  a research university faculty position, such a book would be harmful rather than helpful to your chances of being hired.

There are, on the other hand, good books about how to turn your dissertation into a book manuscript, and lots of advice on that topic in this forum over the years. There is also good advice about finding the right university press, writing the proposal, and the process of editing the manuscript. Certainly many people who have recently posted are doing working on their first book now, and some of them are waiting for the page proofs or the published book from a good university press to appear in their mail box.

If I have misread your interests and your purpose, this post may seem insulting. But, to repeat, for academic purposes, in English-speaking countries, the thesis/dissertation is considered the capstone of your student work, an apprentice piece as it were, and the first book is the evidence for your life as a scholar.

False.  Our books are well reviewed by scholarly journals and purchased by research librarians in the United States and around the world.
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larryc
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 7:16:53 PM »

It is OUR collective duty to defend the integrity of our publishing program, our books, and most importantly our authors. 

Maybe you should publish better books.

Look, Secretary, do you have any idea how much you are damaging your own reputation with your tactics in these threads? The greatest damage to Edwin Mellen Press is by your own hand.
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kiana
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 7:19:39 PM »

Look, Secretary, do you have any idea how much you are damaging your own reputation with your tactics in these threads? The greatest damage to Edwin Mellen Press is by your own hand.

Yes.

I had never heard of this press before, but now everything it prints will be automatically suspect in my mind due to the repeated posts by its employees here.
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secretaryx
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 7:22:12 PM »

Falsehood #4: It has been stated that Mellen books do not contribute to tenure and promotion.

No advice on your specific question, as I'm not very good at the kind of networking, and relied instead on a carefully prepared proposal that I mailed out.  BUt I do have a word of warning . . .   Some presses, esp. Edwin Mellen, will express interest in publishing your dissertation pretty much as is.  They are very visible, friendly and encouraging at the big conferences.  However, a book from such a press will not help you in your job search, as the assumption will be that that the ms wasn't good enough to get accepted at a press that does real peer reviews--basically the university presses.

I recommend Germano's wonderful little book, From Dissertation to Book, which walks you through the whole process that you are about to embark on.

Note that if you want to use the book as a credential for some purpose, self-publishing or publishing with Mellen et al. will actually count against you (to the point where you may want to try to hide the evidence).  If you're absolutely sure you'll never want to use your book to establish your credentials or further your career, then maybe those routes are okay.  I'd still try every possible legitimate publisher beforehand, though.

I'm sorry to tell you that Mellen Press is widely recognized as a disreputable press with no quality control, and your work will not only not be respected if published by Mellen, but it is an actual strike against you.  There have been extensive threads on Mellen on the Forum.  (The press is defended, of course, by people who have published with it, and by shills for the press.  But believe me, no one else will take you seriously if you publish with Mellen.)  If you are aiming at a scholarly career, go to a reputable press.  If you want to publish a vanity project, you can use Mellen -- but their books are badly produced and, as you can see, it will cost you money.  Very seriously, it would be better for your scholarly career not to publish your book at all, rather than to publish it with Mellen.

Have you looked for previous threads on Mellen?  There are a lot of posts.

Publishing with them will hurt your CV if you're on a research career track.  If you just want your book out there and were turned down everywhere else, I guess Mellen might be an option, assuming you have tenure or the equivalent, and/or that your university counts books by Mellen.  I assume you've checked?

From the books of theirs I've seen, I didn't realize they had any formatting standards at all.  Do report further on your process if you decide to stay with them. 

It is our policy with each author to require a letter from their department chair or dean giving approval to publish with us and confirming their books contribution to tenure and promotion requirements.
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tinyzombie
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elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 7:24:48 PM »

OP, your singleminded refusal to listen to criticism is both annoying and creepy.

I'm betting you'll be banned on Monday.
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usukprof
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 7:29:56 PM »

But if not, there will be more negative things that turn up on a Google search of Mellen Copy Shop Press.

Oops.  Are my redactions still visible?
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larryc
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 7:35:19 PM »

don't piss people here off--some CHE member are also Wikipedia editors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Mellen_Press
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aside
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 7:58:10 PM »

Falsehood #4: It has been stated that Mellen books do not contribute to tenure and promotion.

It is our policy with each author to require a letter from their department chair or dean giving approval to publish with us and confirming their books contribution to tenure and promotion requirements.

Are you seriously saying that you will not publish a book unless you get such a letter from an adminstrator?

And your firm resorts to this why?

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cranefly
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 8:01:08 PM »

Falsehood #4: It has been stated that Mellen books do not contribute to tenure and promotion.

It is our policy with each author to require a letter from their department chair or dean giving approval to publish with us and confirming their books contribution to tenure and promotion requirements.

Are you seriously saying that you will not publish a book unless you get such a letter from an adminstrator?

And your firm resorts to this why?


Indeed. This is bizarre. Do you think reputable university presses also require such letters?
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Oh yeah--Professor Sparkle Pony. "Follow your dreams, young genius, and you will meet with success!" Students eat that up.
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