Why Researchers Should Avoid the Clute “Institute”

Clute Institute door

The entrance to the “Institute”

Among the questionable publishers on my list, the one physically closest to me is the so-called Clute Institute. It’s located in a lonely professional building southwest of Denver, in a small office (shown above). It is not an institute in any honest sense of the term. Clute is merely a scholarly vanity press.

In 2013 Clute formally appealed its inclusion on my list of publishers. The four-person Appeals Board for Scholarly OA unanimously advised me to leave it on the list. Subsequently, The Clute “Institute’s” FAQ page consists largely of personal attacks on me and my work. This is very unprofessional behavior for any firm that claims to be a scholarly publisher. It’s a form of thuggery by Ron Clute. Imagine what the reaction would be if a publisher such as Elsevier or Wiley were to attack its critics in such a childish and vindictive manner. Clute’s journals are largely in the fields of business and education.

Many faculty need to publish to earn tenure and promotion. While there are many legitimate outlets (both traditional and open-access) for scholars to publish in, bottom-tier open-access publishers have also appeared to meet the need to “publish or perish.” Moreover, higher education institutions and scholarly associations have not done a good job of vetting publishers whose journals they consider acceptable for academic credit. Some, for example, merely require that journal be listed in Cabell’s, a journal directory (Cabell’s now indicates it’s tightening its inclusion criteria—an improvement that I welcome).

Here are some of the reasons that I believe that honest scholars should avoid submitting their work to the Clute Institute journals:

Clute’s pricing structure: Clute imposes submission charges on authors and charges more for a quick review:

Clute Institute submission fees

Submission fees: 8-week response time = $60. 4-weeks = $150

Clute also charges more depending on the length of the accepted paper:

Clute Institute article processing charges

Longer articles are charged higher fees.

Professional affiliations:

  • Although Clute brags about having been a publisher since 1985, it’s not a member of any legitimate industry or ethical publishing association that I know of; nor is the publisher a member of Cross-Ref, the association that supplies DOIs (digital object identifiers).

Plagiarism:

  • The Clute Institute has long had problems with plagiarism. The owner, Ron Clute has been soft on plagiarism, even defending his authors when presented with clear-cut evidence of plagiarism in Clute journals.
  • The way in which Clute handles plagiarism is inconsistent with their own Code of Publication Ethics, which states “Authors submitting their manuscripts must attest that it is their original work and has not been plagiarized. Submitting the same manuscript to more than one journal concurrently is unethical and unacceptable. Our authors, editors, and members of all editorial teams must comply with the Clute Institute Code of Ethics in all respects.” (http://www.cluteinstitute.com/about/).

Poor Screening for Plagiarism Clute doesn’t sufficiently screen for plagiarism and has published articles that contain text that appears to originate in earlier published sources and without any quotation marks and without attribution. Consider the following examples:

The case of Benjamin Neil: In a well-publicized case, a Towson University professor was alleged to have copied previously-published scholarly content verbatim without proper attribution in several articles in Clute Institute journals. Clute dealt with the problem by editing some articles to add quotation marks to passages. This often results in multiple consecutive passages simply being a cut and paste of quotes from others. For example:

Are Private Military Firms The Answer To The Expanding Global Crisis?

Is A Reverse Mortgage A Viable Option For Baby Boomers?

Juvenile Offenders And The Death Penalty In The United States

Social Networking And Civil Discovery: A Case Study

Should Armed Guards Be Allowed In Schools In Light Of The Recent Right-To-Carry Laws?

Clute has also been inconsistent in its handling of alleged plagiarism by Benjamin Neil. For example, the following article remains in print despite having unattributed wording that is in common with the earlier work of others: Benjamin A. Neil and Benjamin A. Neil II (2013) United States V. Jones 132 S. Ct 945 (2012), Journal of Business Case Studies, Jan/Feb: p. 75-78.

Stealth retractions

Clute engages in “stealth retractions” by withdrawing articles, while providing no explanation for those retractions, nor any record of them. The practice of stealth retractions is inconsistent with publisher best practices, as articulated by the Committee on Publication Ethics (http://publicationethics.org/files/retraction%20guidelines.pdf). Two examples of stealth retractions by Clute involve publications published by (a now former) Indiana University South Bend economics professor, Douglas Agbetsiafa.

EXAMPLE ONE:

Agbetsiafa, Douglas K. (2010) Regional Integration, Trade Openness, and Economic Growth: Causality Evidence from UEMOA countries. International Business and Economics Research, 9(10):  55-68.

Now you see it: (from the Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20130413063335/http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/IBER/issue/view/73

Now you don’t (Clute’s site today): http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/issue/view/73


EXAMPLE TWO:

Agbetsiafa, Douglas (2011) The Recent Global Financial Crisis: Impacts on Selected Developing Regions. International Business & Economics Research Journal 10(10): 93-102.

Now you see it: (from the Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20130127013401/http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/IBER/issue/view/676

Now you don’t (Clute’s site today): http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/issue/view/676


Strangely, another article by Agbetsiafa that contains extensive wording in common with earlier published authors still appears in Clute (in particular, try cutting and pasting paragraphs from the literature review into, say, Google Scholar). This example also points to inconsistency in how Clute handles plagiarism concerns:

Agbetsiafa, Douglas (2010) “Evaluating Effective Teaching in college Level Economics Using Student Rating of Instruction: A Factor Analytic Approach.” Journal of College Teaching and Learning 7(5): 57-66, at http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/TLC/article/view/7841

Here are some more examples of stealth retraction by Clute:

Arrabtah, Adel & Nusour, Tayseer (2012) “Using Technology For Teaching Arabic Language Grammar,” Journal of International Education Research, 8(4): 335-341.

The original table of contents was not archived in the Internet Archive. However, evidence of this article is documented through still-active records in two indexing databases, EBSCO and ERIC.

Now you see it (EBSCO record): http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/89802463/using-technology-teaching-arabic-language-grammar

Now you see it (ERIC Record): http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1001224

Anyone who cites this article based only on these two records (as sometimes happens), which contain only the original abstract, will be citing a retracted article.

Now you don’t (Clute’s site today): http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/JIER/issue/view/792


Vaitayavanich, Kuntalee; Doungchan, Piboon; Thepsongkraw, Praman; Tongchiou, Chantas; and Jorajit, Sujitra (2011) “The Favorite Cultural Places
 and Traditional Activities of Travelers: A Case Study of Songkhla Province, Thailand”, International Business & Economics Research Journal, 10(4): 67-72.

Now you see it: (from the Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20130127013540/http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/IBER/issue/view/450

Now you don’t (Clute’s site today): http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/issue/view/450


Kozub, Robert M. (2010) “Relationship of Course, Instructor, and Student Characteristics to Dimensions of Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness,” American Journal of Business Education, 3(1): 33-40.

Now you see it: (from the Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20111025010513/http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/AJBE/issue/view/49

Now you don’t (Clute’s site today): http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/AJBE/issue/view/49


Al Shunnaq, Walid (2012) “Political Relations Between Arab World and USA in the Twenty-First Century,” International Business & Economics Research Journal, 11(7): 833-838.

Now you see it: (from the Internet Archive): https://web.archive.org/web/20121104082514/http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/IBER/issue/view/773

Now you don’t (Clute’s site today): http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/issue/view/773


In conclusion, I recommend that honest scholars seek out a better publisher for disseminating their research than the Clute Institute. This publisher, with its dubious claim to be an institute, is little more than a scholarly vanity press — it’s essentially a money press — and publishing papers in this publisher’s journals may hurt authors in the long run. By this I mean that for any researcher who publishes a paper in a Clute Institute journal, that paper will be in the company of other papers with highly questionable citation and authorship practices and may be damaged by association.

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to Dr. Mark Fox of Indiana University South Bend for his help in completing the research needed to write this blog post. Please see our article “Advice for Plagiarism Whistleblowers” published in Ethics & Behavior, Vol. 24, Iss. 5, 2014.

Appendix: List of Clute Institute journals as of December 2, 2014:

American Journal of Business Education (AJBE)
American Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE)
American Journal of Health Sciences (AJHS)
Contemporary Issues in Education Research (CIER)
International Business & Economics Research Journal (IBER)
International Journal of Management & Information Systems
Journal of Applied Business Research (JABR)
Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education (JAESE)
Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER)
Journal of Business Case Studies (JBCS)
Journal of College Teaching & Learning (TLC)
Journal of Diversity Management (JDM)
Journal of International Education Research (JIER)
Journal of International Energy Policy (JIEP)
Journal of Service Science (JSS)
Journal of Sustainability Management (JSM)
Review of Business Information Systems (RBIS)

31 Responses to Why Researchers Should Avoid the Clute “Institute”

  1. liza2408 says:

    Thanks, Jeffrey. I was worried about Clute when I saw it started charging for expedited reviews. I had published 2 papers with them in 2008-9, and we had to pay per-page costs which I thought odd. But my co-author said that several of her business colleagues pay to publish, and pay much higher fees, and deans approved of the payments. It made sense to me that per-page payments was the way some open access journals stayed alive since they did not get their fees from subscriptions. But then when we submitted a manuscript in 2011, the costs were higher, there were fees to review and for expedited reviews, and reviews consisted purely of grammatical comments. I also learned that business colleagues take Clute cruises and go to other holiday-esque conferences and then papers are automatically published.

    I stay away from Clute now, but can’t do anything about the papers I’ve already published with them. I think they used to be more responsible but have caught on to what other vanity presses do to make more money more recently. At least that is what I am telling myself.

  2. A devastating post. If Clute is even slightly serious about being a scholarly publisher rather than a vanity press, they must respond – and not just by bashing the author.

    We’re waiting…

  3. So, the Clute Institute is not so cute.

  4. Corey Allen says:

    I found two publishers which are identical and they seem pretty dodgy. the first one is Academic Knowledge and Research Publishing (http://www.akrpub.com) which gives an address of “Toronto, Canada

    New York, USA” in its contact us page whereas the other one North American Research Publishing (http://www.narpub.com/Contact%20Us.php) just says “Canada and USA”

    • Corey, I have seen several others like this and I don’t understand exactly what’s going on. They launch with extremely skeletal websites and with many journals. I have added these to my list. I have found that these are generally started up by Bangladeshi immigrants in the New York City area. They may be cybersquatting the journal titles, I just don’t know. The earlier launches I know about are:

      American Research Publications = http://www.arepub.com/
      Research and Knowledge Publication = http://www.rekpub.com/
      Science and Technology Publishing = http://www.acascipub.com/

      Thanks for letting me know about these new ones.

  5. David Sullivan says:

    96 different domain names registered to one dude.

    https://whoisology.com/email/archive_7/mamun_sarker2002@yahoo.com

  6. David Sullivan says:

    Naturally, the previous comment was in reply to the post of 30 November but I failed to hit the reply button. Once again, user error.

    Back to the subject at hand. The problem all these “publishers” represent is entirely analogous to that of illegal drugs. There are two choices for those interested in disrupting the flow: eliminate the criminal producers or reduce the demand, on the consumption side of things. Beall has conducted a one-man war admirably but we will need a ‘miracle weapon’ I am afraid, to be effective from this side.

    Bad behavior will continue to thrive until universities take note and stop accepting this output as either science or scholarship (it is neither). When the money stops, the ‘sham’ (or is it, ‘scam’) will auto-destruct.

  7. Neal says:

    What about Wali Mondal’s AMERICAN SOCIETY OF BUSINESS AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES. This was the original Wali World that started publication outlets similar to Ron Clute’s and others?

    • Good question. I will analyze it.
      I think I have looked at it before but didn’t see any OA content there. I do now. Thank you.

      • Neal says:

        Thanks, I will be interested to learn what is different about Clute’s operation and Mondal’s operation such that Clute’s publications are not currently listed on Cabell’s but Mondal’s are still listed. $50 per page (minimum of $400) to publish in a journal that has only limited distribution? Thanks again.

      • I will not be comparing and contrasting the two publishers; I will only be analyzing ASBBS in light of the established criteria.
        Also, if the journal is open-access, then its distribution is not limited … not sure what you mean.

      • Neal says:

        Sorry about that – I meant that the physical distribution of the hard copy “journals” is very limited. Obviously, in today’s world, it is quite easy to have open-access with “online” versions – which then begs the question about why one would need to pay $50 per page? I appreciate what you are trying to do. Best wishes!

      • Sam says:

        Jeffrey–you do great work and thank you for all that you do. Have you ever analyzed the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences publisher, and its related journals? There is an annual conference run in the basement of a seedy hotel in Las Vegas, and it definitely seems like a pay-to-publish scheme. Do you think the journals are predatory?

      • Yes. In my analyses, I found it to be borderline and could not make a strong case for adding it to the list.
        If you think it deserves to be included on the list, I would be very happy to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks.

      • Sam says:

        Jeffrey,

        Thank you. Here are some points for consideration for inclusion on your list:

        1) Pay-per-page published
        2) Same editor-in-chief for all journals from the ASBBS publisher
        3) Lack of independence for editorial board, significant overlap of editors amongst the journals
        4) Discussion of review process does not indicate that may not be a rigorous process
        5) Attendance at conference seems to ensure publication
        6) Location of conference limits active participation at sessions

        Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks again.

      • Thank you! This is helpful!

      • This publisher is borderline. To err on the side of caution, I endeavor not to add the borderline ones to my list. The reasons you give are interesting, but not all of them are included in my criteria.

        Look, I agree this is a low-quality, idiosyncratic operation, and it will probably disappear when Wali I. Mondal does. It’s sort of like a cult. However, I cannot make a strong and convincing case for adding it to my list at this time. Thanks for your help.

  8. Dee Parker says:

    I have a paper that will be published in one of the journals of the Clute Institute. It was reviewed by a well-reputed scholar and researcher. there were no costs associated with the review. My research is absolutely scholarly, as it is related to my dissertation topic. There will be a cost for the conference, but all conferences have an associated cost, unless you are a keynote speaker or the like. I am happy that I will have an opportunity to present and publish even before I receive my PhD. It will give me needed practice for publishing and presentations to come. As to the “Institute” castigation, in our modern times many schools (especially ones online or traditional schools that have satellite campuses) have minimalist office sites. Some organizations are paring down their overhead in order to offer a wider range of services. I do not know into which category Clute falls; however, their office site should not preclude them from being seen as a legitimate entity. My paper, including citations, is definitely legitimate. Presenting and publishing in a Clute Journal does not make it less so.

    • Your indication that your paper was reviewed by a “well-reputed [sic] scholar and researcher” tells me that the peer review was not blinded and involved only a single reviewer. Given all the weaknesses and non-standard practices that I’ve documented for the Clute “Institute,” this does not surprise me.

      Good luck getting a job with a quick and easy publication from the “Institute” on your CV. Which mail-order university did you order your degree from?

  9. ferret says:

    Thank you for this. I actually had a paper accepted for their 2015 conference, but realised it wasn’t legit when I saw what they even charge speakers for participating. With the $400 conference fee (and that’s early bird rates!), plus the cost of travel and accommodation (of which none is reimbursed by Clute), I would be out of pocket by at least $1000. It is not normal practice for academic institutions to charge for speakers to participate; speaker costs are normally covered by delegate fees. I bet they accept everyone regardless of paper quality. Staying away!

  10. Prof Cyril A. Ogbokor says:

    Are CLUTE INSTITUTE’S JOURNALS not indexed in ISI and IBSS? Are they not accredited by ISI and IBSS? In urgent need of a feedback, please.

    • The best sources of information to answer your questions are the ISI and IBSS databases themselves, so I would refer you to them directly.

      • Why can’t you save me the trouble of finding out myself? Please, could you assist in finding out the answers to my questions? Searching the internet from the location where I am is in most cases very frustrating and time consuming. Kindly assist.

  11. Cristanna Cook says:

    The Clute Institute has very interesting papers every time I have attended and I have attended since 2004. I feel you are unjust in your criticisms.

    • neal vanzante says:

      The fact is, there are a vast number of “vanity press” organizations. I fail to understand why Clute Institute has been singled out. Please explain. Thank you.

      • Singled out? The list has around 700 publishers on it. I’d hardly call that being ‘singled out.’
        Also, did you not read the blog post above?

      • Neal VanZante says:

        Sorry, but I am not familiar with the list? The only posts I have seen all involve Clute, and I am familiar with some universities that no longer give credit for Clute publications. I have no real problem with that except the same universities still give full credit for the many other “vanity” presses and meetings and fully reimburse their professors for their activities. I believe this is a terrible waste of resources – and that Clute has been “singled out” (at least by these universities). Please let me know where to find the “list.” Thanks, Neal.

      • Uh, here on this blog, the one called “publishers.”

      • Neal VanZante says:

        Thanks. :)

  12. Cristanna Cook says:

    Please be courteous when someone questions what you place on this blog. It undermines your credibility. You remind me of disgruntled student. I just read a comment on a very helpful book by such a student on Amazon.com. His comments were not objective and he was overly negative without any evidence except his own view. He slammed the writer of the book who happened to be his teacher who he disliked.

    I understand your viewpoint as I used to believe that some journals are better than others and some presentation opportunities are more prestigious. But from my experience, I have only found a couple of papers not worth listening to as a result of going to the Clute Institute.

    • I imagine you have much experience with disgruntled students.

      The Clute “Institute” does not assign DOIs to the many low-quality articles it publishes, and it charges both submission and publishing fees. If you paper is longer, you pay more. This “Institute” is really all about making as much money as possible from researchers, taking advantage of the higher education bubble.

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