I received an email from an associate from LAP Lambert Academic Publishing some time back, stating that they found my thesis entitled “Application of GIS in the study of land cover distribution, geomorphometry, terrain and water quality in Asi Khola Subwatershed” in the library at Kathmandu University and wanted to publish it in the form of a book. Furthermore, they would do all this for free!
I do have a few friends and colleagues who were quite elated to have been approached by an genuine European publisher. One of my friend’s book is now available on Amazon for a whopping $70. Back then, I said good for you and shelved the idea. However, this time around when I was approached with a similar proposition, I did find it rather odd. I immediately Googled the publisher in question, and came up with quite a number of chilling references in different forums and blogs that indicated that this was a very sophisticated scam. After I updated my close knit circle of friends of the same, one even made a joke that this was probably done by a Nigerian stationed in Germany.
This is the email as it appeared exactly in my inbox.
Dear Mr. Maden Utsav,
I am writing on behalf of an international publishing house, LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
In the course of a research on the Kathmandu University, I came across a reference to your thesis on “Application of GIS in the study of land cover distribution, geomorphometry, terrain and water quality in Asi Khola Subwatershed”.
We are an international publisher whose aim is to make academic research available to a wider audience.
LAP would be especially interested in publishing your dissertation in the form of a printed book.
Your reply including an e-mail address to which I can send an e-mail with further information in an attachment
will be greatly appreciated.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing GmbH & Co. KG
Dudweiler Landstraße 99
Fon +49 681 3720-310
Fax +49 681 3720-3109
t.costandachi(at)lappublishing.com / www.lappublishing.com
Handelsregister Amtsgericht Saarbrücken HRA 10752
General unlimited partner:
VDM Management GmbH
Geschäftsführung: Dr. Wolfgang Müller, Christoph Schulligen, Esther von Krosigk
Some sleuthing on my end and loads of help from google, I ended up with the following information.
LAP Lambert Academic Publishing is a subsidiary of VDM_Publishing who seem to have been catering to the needs of desperate academics when published articles is a requirement for graduation graduate schools across Europe. Some even indicate that this is a case of vanity publishing (although, there are no incidental costs for the author) and academic spamming. This publisher supposedly prints the manuscript as is, on-demand after it posts it on Amazon and a number of other websites. Some have even posted about their experiences with VDM publishing.
Some bloggers mention that the company asks for bank details once you reply to it. Others however, mention that this is clearly a case of academic theft, where the publisher preys on unsuspecting grad students and doctorates.
In conclusion, I don’t want to publish my dissertation as a print on demand book (available for $70 or less) of which I skim 3% of each sale (if any) through Lambert publishing. I’d rather have it available for free for people to refer to . The thing is I have lost the only digital copy of my thesis (all 70 pages of it) and have to scan the copy to make it available online . I should find my abstract and will post it online occasionally.
Other references to VDM Publishing and LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.
Many thanks to Amahager for providing additional references on Lambert.
Many American and Australian universities warn students and staff against publishing with them (in Australia, Lambert publications are explicitly exluded from submission to the HERDC):
I wouldn’t go near them..
Listed below are quotes off university websites that have written about Lambert Academic Publishing.
PUBLISHING OTHER THAN WITH PROQUEST
I just got a letter from a publisher who wants to publish my thesis or dissertation as a book. What should I do?We recommend you use caution when dealing with potential publishers, particularly ones that have sent you solicitations. Before accepting any publishing offer, students should carefully read the copyright transfer agreement or publishing contract. An agreement like this is required before your work is published in any form, because a publisher cannot reprint your words without your permission. The Graduate School cannot provide legal advice about contracts, but a good “rule of thumb” is that you should focus instead on peer reviewed, high quality journal publications at this stage in your career rather than contracting with a “vanity press.” Many Purdue candidates in the past have received thesis publishing solicitations, for example, from VDM Verlag. All indications are that VDM Verlag is a legitimate publisher. For more information about this firm, see http://www.vdm-publishing-house.com/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDM_Publishing The Graduate School neither endorses nor discourages publishing with VDM Verlag and its counterparts. However, we do strongly encourage you to carefully investigate such publishing firms before making a decision to publish with them.
e) Commercial publishers – books and chapters:
Note that in order to be considered a commercial publisher for these purposes, companies must generally demonstrate a degree of editorial responsibility and financial risk in choosing to publish, as well as be responsible for the entire publishing process (including printing and distribution). For this reason, ‘vanity presses’, as well as companies specialising primarily in the publication of theses (such as VDM Verlag, and Lambert Academic Publishing – LAP) are NOT considered to meet the ‘commercial publisher’ criteria.