I really don’t care if InTechWeb has published 340+ books, 25,000+ authors, +2.5 million downloaded papers, all of them open access.
I also don’t care that there are 25,029 persons in Facebook that claim to like them.
There are places in the world, during these hard economic times, that specialize in creating a virtual population or marketing campaign for compensation. Where you can pay people to click and download, even create email and facebook accounts, in order to present a facade of acceptability. When you give your product away, there is no recourse to object and ask for a refund if what you find turns out to be sloppy, scientifically inferior, or perhaps dangerous. But I am disturbed that more members of the open access advocacy community are not shining a brighter flashlight on InTechWeb.
The only thing that is real, I believe, are the authors. Maybe some of them really believe that this is a genuine open access publisher. Let’s accept for the moment the claim that InTechWeb has 7,500 authors. This operation is, after all, subsidized by author processing charges (APC): “With regards to your payments, InTech will provide a secure payment gateway to help you complete your payment safely and securely keeping your personal, professional and fnancial informaton safe.”
I can only find a visible page with an APC of 840 EUROS ($1165) for InTech journal articles, but we can probably assume a similar fee is presented to all authors, as these InTech books are little more than article anthologies. Let’s say that each author paid $1165 for their first article or book chapter. We are talking about more that $8,000,000.
Imagine how you would amass a fortune in an online publishing pyramid…In a classic multilevel marketing scheme, someone with the intent to enrich themselves would induce APC authors invested in their scholarship with a reward to find new authors that could pay the initation fee, or first APC. Perhaps the reward to an author forming a down-line would be compensation or discount for every new author that is recruited. And in classic multilevel marketing, when the scheme collapses, the new authors that just paid the full APC for a misrepresented product fear the embarrassment from their mistaken judgement and simply walk away with a loss and keep quiet. This is just my imagination, of course.
When InTechWeb announced their most recent set of book releases, I just had to take a closer look at the one biomedical title: Modern Pacemakers – Present and Future. Looking at the first chapter, Information Technology Aspects of Integrated Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management, I noticed a computer-generated list of related articles to the left:
Do you see anything related to cardiac rhythm disease management? Let’s see, we have Fungicide Effectiveness, Urban Flood Control, Sustainable Fisheries Management, etc.
InTechWeb seems to be about style more than substance. Not much depth. Less than careful editing. It kind of makes sense that they would give away what they would be hard-pressed to sell.