I received an email from someone who said they are from the publishing company called LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, inquiring if I’m interested to publish my Master’s dissertation at no cost at all. I was OMG! My first thought was “Is this spam?”. Of course, this is rather unexpected. I have never thought to publish my dissertation because my dissertation was purely part of my Master’s degree requirement and I honestly don’t feel it’s up to standard or it is any interest to most readers (sorry for my lack of confidence here!). The best I can do is to write a journal article out from my dissertation and hope it gets accepted and published one day.
However, I was quite curious on a few things from that email so I replied to ask for more information. First, I was rather astonished on how they can get my dissertation’s title and my email address. The title they quoted on the email was not my final title and I couldn’t remember where had I shared about my initial title before. Never mind that. Second, I really wonder why they want to publish Master’s dissertation or even undergraduate’s (that’s what it says on the website). What are they really getting? Information depositories? I have checked the link of their website and they look legitimate enough as a publisher.
Anyway, I went to ask around from my Twitter friends (I trust them more than the publisher!) and some of them gave me useful links and advice. It’s not really a surprise that many scholars out there have received similar emails from this publisher before. Many chose to ignore because it didn’t sound too legit. Jennie Swann (@jswann) was so kind to share with me this link and I found some did go ahead to publish their dissertations and as promised, they got their one printed copy of their own dissertation at no cost. That’s all. Dr Anna Tarrant (@dratarrant) also gave me note of caution through this article.
I got another reply from the publisher after I asked for more information. One of the fine print, nearly to the end of the email, that caught my attention was this:
Please note that a LAP author retains the right to submit major parts (up to 80 percent) of the work for publication in academic journals without the permission of the Publisher.
Is that to say once I submit my dissertation to be published (and if they choose to publish my work), I won’t even know where my work will be published as journal papers under whatever names later if they choose to. Serious note of caution!