I have well over 5,000 page views for my posts about the open access publisher InTech. More than 80% of them come from internet users that do a google search for InTech and find my postings that I have effectively tagged. That would lend credibility to the idea that InTech is continuing to use direct email marketing to find authors, and some authors want to know more about InTech and start searching.
Reading Richard Poynder’s interview with Intech’s Nicola Rylett back in October, I had some hope that the issue of insufficient editing, a form of non-service for authors and a poor publishing practice that could reflect badly on all open access publishing, would be addressed in the future books to be released. As I have said in my previous posts on InTech, I stick to looking at biomedicine and health topics in my blog. In the first week of the new year, I decided to see what was new at InTech.
I found a number of biomedical titles released in December 2011, including one that I decided to take a closer look at: Medical Imaging, edited by “Okechukwu Felix Erondu”. Dr. Erondu has certainly published a few articles on medical imaging, and his editorial role is featured on the cover image:
My concern starts when I see no editorial introduction or preface to this field, other than the 75-word blurb on the title page, and no chapter authored by Dr. Erondu. Here are my other observations:
- There are 18 chapters, a few suitably general to what seems like a general textbook, but several on specific topics such as “Fast MRI Methods for the Clinical Evaluation of Skeletal Disorders” or “Assessment of Human Skin Microcirculation and Its Endothelial Function Using Laser Doppler Flowmetry.“ Comparing this to a general textbook on medical imaging, Handbook of medical imaging: processing and analysis (not an open access book, but previewed in Google Books and subscribed in my library), we find in the typical medical imaging text 53 chapters and 900 pages. My conclusion: there is no apparent intent by the InTech editor or publisher to define the true content with a realistic title for this volume. Instead, there is a general title which misleads or obscures the nature of the content from potential readers.
- I looked carefully at one chapter, Safety of Interactive Image-Guided Surgery, by Alain Beaulieu. The author relied on research sources from the 1990′s, nearly exclusively, with only two references out of more than 50 being 2006 or after. Other evidence of outdated research was the term “image-guided”. The MeSH term established in 2002 for image-guided surgery is Surgery, Computer-Assisted. There are hundreds of articles on this topic in the year 2010 alone.
- I actually found, with a little digging around. that the author Alain Beualieu had created a very similar presentation in 2008 for a IEEE symposium, A Process Control System Model for Interactive Image Guided Surgery, with identical figures and some very closely resembling descriptions. In 2011, the InTech chapter does not cite this article at all, so what we have [and what an editor with curiosity could have discovered] is a kind of self-plagiarism. As long as the IEEE doesn’t mind…
So I think I can confirm that as far as I can tell from looking at this recent open access book from InTech , we have not seen a changeover to more effective and honest editorial practices. These still seem to be packaging disparate submissions into a convenient hodge-podge, calling it an electronic book, and encouraging readers to take advantage of something free, something that would be hard to sell. The only person paying and subsidizing InTech are authors. This is not credible open access, when the content is just so questionable.