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 also charges more depending on the length of the accepted paper:
- 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).
- 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:
- Al Shunnaq, Walid (2013) “The Impact of The Arab Spring on America’s Energy Future”, International Business & Economics Research Journal, 12(2): 253-255, at http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/article/view/7638
- Gulid, Nak & Lertwannawit, Aurathai (2013) “Participatory, Tourist Consumer Behavior-Based, Integrated Tourism Marketing Plan for Chainat Province”, Journal of Service Science, 6(1): 117-126, at http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/JSS/article/view/8242
- Muhanna, Wafa, (2012) “Using Online Games for Teaching English Vocabulary for Jordanian Students Learning English as a Foreign Language”, Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 9(3): 235-243, at http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/TLC/article/view/7178
- Owusu-Antwi, George (2012) “Determinant of Foreign Direct Investment: Is it a Better Prescription for Economic Growth in Africa?”, International Business & Economics Research Journal, 11(7): 757-70, at http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/article/view/7063
- Lertwannawit, Aurathai, Serirat, Sirivan and Pholpantin, Siroj (2009) “Career Competencies and Career Success of Thai Employees in Tourism and Hospitality Sector”, International Business & Economics Research Journal, 8(11): 65-72, at http://www.cluteinstitute.com/ojs/index.php/IBER/article/view/3186
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:
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.
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.
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
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)