Vanity Press & Predatory Publishing

For a contest, I rewrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka The Night Before Christmas) by Clement Clark Moore. The new theme became fishing for June hogs. I took literary license having the fisher wish for one in December, but that’s not so bad. The wish for a June hog was a wish, after all. The fisher did not really expect to catch a June hog in December.

Now, as I searched the Internet for illustrations for my adaptation, I came upon a book that I found to be quite exciting from the title: June Hog Salmon by Joe Lamy. Wow, I thought, a lovely illustrated poem about June hog salmon. We definitely need the title for our collection in the library. After all, we add everything (more on this in a later post) about Pacific salmon to our collection. Excitement quickly turned to dismay as I perused the contents of June Hog Salmon.  I have no problem with original poetry, no matter the quality, though some of the lines are questionable, and the illustrations are not exactly politically correct either.

The largest problems, by far, are in the introduction which purports to be fact.  Ok, they are factual in the author’s mind, but not in any reliable source would you be able to find these facts.  The lack of actual research is why there is no bibliography at the end of the book.

  • Henry Kaiser built the dams.  Well, mostly true as his company was one of the contractors for the construction of the dams.
  • Bears were silver until they lost their source of phosphorous (yes, that’s the author’s spelling), at which point, they all turned brown.
  • The northwest Indians were decimated by blankets infused with smallpox and survivors were massacred by the U.S. Army.
  • The First Salmon Ceremony involves kissing the fish before throwing them back into the river.

These are just a few of the egregious statements made by Joe Lamy.  Further investigation finds no information about the author.  And the book publisher is actually a vanity press.  Yes, just as the name describes, these presses will print anything that you send to them, for a price, of course.  There is no editorial review.  There is no need to provide any type of expertise or research.  Just send them your manuscript and write a check.

Vanity presses have now extended into the journal business.  These publishers are called predatory.  You write a manuscript and send with a check to any of these publishers, and, voila, you have an entry for your CV.  (  Look no further if you need to show publications for tenure, just pay the page charge and you are good to go.  Unfortunately, if you look at the list, you will note that many of them try to mimic the names of legitimate publishers.  These practices of printing anything for a price are only degrading the legitimacy of scientific research.

When checking resources and doing research for your papers, make sure you check the publishers of books AND journals as your excellent research may be cheapened, even if the page charges are expensive.