Img Source: thestar.com

A publisher called Applied Research Press has set up shop using Amazon.co.uk and is selling openly-licensed scholarly articles as monographs. The Creative Commons licenses apparently allow this commercial reproduction, but there are complications.

A scheme to sell what’s freely available through Amazon.

I am also able to access the “books” sold by Applied Research Press using Amazon’s US website address, Amazon.com. Here’s what one book re-titled as Ebola in a Nutshell looks like using Amazon’s “Look inside!” feature:

Look inside and realize this is a scam.

This closer look at the “book” reveals that it is really just an article from a scholarly journal called BMC Medicine and that its original title was “Transmission dynamics and control of Ebola virus disease (EVD): a review.”

I also see that Applied Research Press has changed the title, added itself as an author, and only listed one of the article’s original two authors as an author of this version, perhaps in violation of the article’s original license:

The fine print.

Indeed, changing the title may violate the authors’ moral rights to the original work.

At the time of this writing, the book has two positive reviews on Amazon.

Deceptive marketing?

This republication of open-access scholarly articles for profit is an affront. One advantage of signing over one’s copyright to a high-quality scholarly publisher is that the publisher will protect the copyright and prevent abusive republication such as this.

Other than producing a print reproduction, this publisher is not adding any value to the work. At least 14 additional “used” and “new” copies are also for sale through Amazon. Open-access publishing has led to the creation of many scams, and this may be another one.

Hat tip: Enid Karr

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