They still want to publish your thesis

March 5, 2013

Writing a doctoral or a masters thesis is a huge amount of work and there‘s a lot of satisfaction when you come to  the end of the process and the thesis is finally printed and bound.  According to the University regulations a printed and bound copy of the thesis goes to the Library’s permanent archive and an electronic copy goes into Massey Research Online.   Until the thesis is printed it has already existed in electronic form for some time – usually as a Word document that you have slaved over, changed, polished, sent to your supervisor and so on – but  the printed and bound copy is solid, new and exciting.  It looks like a book.  In fact, it is a book.

A few years ago we issued a warning about unscrupulous “publishers” sending emails to former students who had recently completed theses, offering to put them out in book form – We Want to Publish Your Thesis – A Warning.   Well, they haven’t gone away and the latest to pop up is Lambert Academic Publishing, who have been emailing students with offers to “publish” their work in return for handing over the copyright.

Now, this might seem like a tempting offer, but there is no benefit in it for you.  This is a “print on demand” operation, and it is highly unlikely that even a single copy will be sold.  If it is sold, it will be at an inflated price and none of the money will come to you.  In future years you could be even be embarrassed  to see your work appearing on their website.  In the meantime, the electronic copy in Massey Research Online will be doing a much better job of getting your work out there at no cost to your readers.  Within a couple of years your thesis will have been downloaded hundreds of times and you can easily provide links to it to prospective employers or research collaborators.  You retain the copyright, and the use of social networking – yes, Twitter and Facebook, not to mention Mendeley, and similar utilities – can do a much better job of promoting your work than Lambert Academic Publishing or similar outfits.

If you want to capitalise on the hard work that has gone into your thesis then publishing journal articles is a much better way of going about it – you may even have been doing this already.  In most disciplines it is not usual to publish theses in book form, but in some cases a modified version could be appropriate for general print release.  (History and sociology are disciplines where this happens from time to time.)  If you want to do this, then you need to find a publisher that already has a good reputation for putting out work in your subject area.  You can expect that they will want to make some changes in format and even style, and they will also ensure that there is a market for your work.  Anything less than this is just academic spam.

You can read more about Lambert Academic Publishing here  and here.

Bruce White

Science Librarian

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