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Content of Journals Published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

The article below, by David Bade, was submitted for possible publication in the journal Slavic & East European Information Resources, of which I am editor. I thought it important to get the article out there as soon as possible, so I am posting it here instead, with his permission. David Bade (AM, MLS) is Senior Librarian, Joseph Regenstein Library Room 170, University of Chicago, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, e-mail: dbade at uchicago.edu.

Readers are invited to post comments about the article on this site.

Karen Rondestvedt
Curator for Slavic & East European Collections
Stanford University Libraries
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The Content of Journals Published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.: Political History and Culture of Russia and Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe

By David Bade

Abstract
A look at the contents of some journals published by Nova revealed many issues which contained no original materials at all. The journals show a pattern of entire books about Russia from the early 20th century being reprinted chapter by chapter as though they were separately titled articles. Material from US government documents, Congressional Research Service reports, and material excerpted from other recent public-domain sources have been combined, sometimes with one or more original articles to produce journals costing between 700 and 900 US dollars annually.

The Discovery of a Problem
Due to my interest in Mongolian history, I recently picked up an issue of Nova Science Publishers' Political History and Culture of Russia. Volume 22, number 2 (2006) begins with J. Maratin Miller's article "Invasion of the Mongol Tartars". The title has an asterisk referring to the following note: "Excerpted from The Thrilling Stories of the Russian-Japanese War by J. Maratin Miller, 1904." Consequently the article was of no interest to me. I returned to the table of contents and noticed that the next four articles were by the same author; checking these, I found that they were all also excerpted from the same book. The only other article in this issue was "Alexander II and Russia on the Eve of Great Reforms", but that had a note "Excerpted from A Thousand Years of Russian History by Sonia Howe, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, London: Williams & Norgate, 1915." I proceeded to look at Volume 22, number 1 (2006). In that issue the first five articles are by J. Maratin Miller and as in the other issue, all were excerpted from the same 1904 publication. These were followed by another article from Sonia Howe's aforementioned history, and the issue concluded with a 12 page essay on Slovenia that appears to be an original submission.

Political History and Culture of Russia claims to publish "scholarly articles dealing with Russian cultural and political developments, personalities and trends" (page 2 of cover). The articles in these issues were all copyright 2006 by the publisher. The subscription price for six issues a year was listed as $795, the first two issues combined containing 155 pages, of which 12 were original scholarship having nothing to do with Russia. How far back does this practice go?

An Investigation of the Problem
The journal was formerly entitled Political History of Russia, and the first issue of the journal under the new title was volume 9, number 1, published in 1997. In that first volume there are nine articles by Nicholas V. Feodoroff "excerpted from Soviet Communists and Russian History ISBN 1-56072-407-2 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc." followed by "Bitter memories" by Beloinok and a few poems, all "excerpted from Forced Repatriation ISBN 1-56072-447-1 by Nova Science publishers, Inc." The issue concludes with a bibliography "Baltic Occupation by Soviets" (no author/editor) which consists of 40 printouts of records formatted as catalog cards from what looks like the Library of Congress catalog. From that first issue of 1997 through the current issue, most of the issues are of the same nature: excerpts from the publisher's monographs (which are themselves compiled partly or largely from materials in the public domain), excerpts from early 20th century monographs of little scholarly value then or now, and bibliographies which are simply downloaded from the Library of Congress (or elsewhere). And the price, which was 175 US dollars in 1997, is now 875 US dollars (information from the publisher's website, 21 August 2007).

Some of the issues include articles by various authors—all have Russian or Georgian names—and there is no indication that these items have been translated, reprinted or excerpted from elsewhere. For instance, volume 15 number 4 has "The Centralized Russian State: Russia in the Second Half of the Fifteenth and the Sixteenth Century" by N.Y. Nosov, "Feudal Russia in the Seventeenth Century" by A.G. Mankov and I.P. Shaskolsky, and Early Eighteenth Century: The Formation of the Monarchy" by D.S. Likhochov. Yet suspiciously, such articles in this and other issues are all alike: no bibliographies, no references, and no information of any sort about the authors.

The next question was: Is this practice related to the editor or the publisher? The journal offers no information about editors or editorial boards, no affiliation with any academic or governmental body. I checked the publisher's website and found that of the 63 journals published by Nova, 38 have no editors or editorial board listed, while of those with editors, Frank Columbus is the editor for such disparate journals as Journal of Drug Addiction, Education and Eradication, the International Journal of Mathematics, Game Theory and Algebra and International Journal of Ethics. In the case of the journals related to Russia/former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, there are only 4: Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe; Caucasus Context; Current Politics and Economics of the Caucasus Region; and Political History and Culture of Russia, none of which have any editors mentioned. How do the first three compare to the last one?

Current Politics and Economics of Russia was renamed Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe beginning with volume 11 number 1 (1998). In 1998 the price was 200 US dollars per volume with 2 volumes appearing each year in 4 issues per volume. The current price is 975 US dollars per volume with one volume per year and each volume appearing in six issues. The first issue of the journal under the new name contains articles first published in Russian and translated into English, presumably for publication by Nova, as well as one article with no prior publication history mentioned. The second issue of volume 11 includes four original papers and the annexes and bibliography from "Emergency Management in Russia in Practice: case studies on the 1990's" by Boris Porfiriev, "Excerpted from Disaster Policy and Emergency Management in Russia ISBN 1-56072-421-8 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc." More recent issues are mixed as well: Volume 18 numbers 5 and 6 consist almost entirely of material reprinted or excerpted from Congressional Research Service reports and other Nova journals. Volume 20 number 1 (2005) has all original articles, while volume 20 number 3 consists entirely of articles reprinted from various other Nova monographs. Volume 20 number 4 is again a mix of original articles (or at least articles that do not indicate any publication history) and articles reprinted from Nova Science Publisher's Southeast European Security: Threats, Responses, Challenges, originally published in 2001. It appears in fact that the entirety of that 2001 monograph is reprinted in various issues of volume 20 (2005).

Current Politics and Economics of the Caucasus Region began in 2007 and only volume 1 issue 1 has appeared. According to the information on the publisher's website, it will be a quarterly for 195 US dollars per volume ($55 dollars per issue). The contents of the first issue includes four papers by Jim Nichol, two of which are identified as Congressional Research Service reports, and a paper by Robert C. Rickards and Hochschule Harz "2005: A Year of Corruption, Fraud, Intrigue, Protest, and Some Progress in the Caucasus," which is suspiciously like an article of the same title that appeared in Nova Science Publisher's journal Caucasus Context, Vol. 2, No. 2, Nova Science, Spring 2006, pp. 153-168. This latter journal is described on the publisher's website thus: "This new journal brings together important analyses, interviews with key players and cultural background". With the limited information given on the publisher's website and my own lack of familiarity with researchers in this area, it is difficult to ascertain the nature of the contents without access to the full text. Yet the apprearance of the Rickards article in both Caucasus Context and Current Politics and Economics of the Caucasus Region suggests an editorial practice much like the journals examined above.

Responding to the Problem
What is there to say about these Nova journals? First, it is legal to reprint public domain materials and sell them on the market, as it is to repackage and sell under different labels materials for which one owns the copyright. Second, the journals as advertised make no claim to publishing original materials. It was noted above that Political History and Culture of Russia makes only the claim that it publishes "scholarly articles dealing with Russian cultural and political developments, personalities and trends." It makes no claim to be publishing either original or current research. Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe makes a similar claim: "This scholarly periodical focuses on the rapid changes occurring in Russia, Eastern and Central Europe. The scope of the publication is the entire spectrum of contemporary politics and economics." No mention is made of any other editorial policies regarding source of materials. It is clear that there is no fraud involved. It is also clear that the lack of information about the nature of the contents and the source of those contents come close to being deceptive even if legal. Furthermore, taking entire books which are in the public domain, publishing them piecemeal under chapter titles in a journal without noting the source in the table of contents and then claiming copyright for the individual chapters appears to be a deliberately deceptive practice aimed at libraries. The question for librarians is then not simply a matter of the value of these journals for collection development, but what the publisher's name means for approval plans, standing orders and subscriptions of any kind.

It has been claimed that in the era of online information and mass digitization, collection development is not just a waste of time but an impossibility.* The explosion of information online means that we should reorient ourselves to bibliographic searching rather than collection development and bibliographic description. Publications like those investigated here point to the fallacy of such arguments: these journals are not online and they are expensive. They do contain original materials, but these are of varying kinds: translations, articles first published in these journals, and materials available under different titles in the same publisher's monographic publications. These journals bring together previously published materials that may be scattered about elsewhere and in other languages. But the large amount of duplication makes cost an important consideration. Are these journals worth their price? For which libraries? The fact that a decision has to be made means that collection development is still not only possible but necessary.

Fifty-three libraries are listed in the OCLC database as having the journal Political History and Culture of Russia; fifty-seven libraries have Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe. Many of those also have the Nova monographs in which the same content is available, as well as having print and online access to Congressional Research Service Reports and the Russian journals in which many of the original articles were published in Russian. While it is true that the multiplication of copies increases the long-term viability of information, these journals and the publisher that issues them present us with some real questions about the importance of collection development and evaluation, as well as the economics and ethics of information provision in libraries today. So long as information costs, we are going to have to make decisions, and those who stand to profit from our decisions cannot always be trusted to present us upfront with all the information we would like to have for making those decisions.

*Sheila S. Intner, "Copy Cataloging and the Perfect Record Mentality." Technicalities, 10: 7 (July 1990): 12-15.

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Nova and Wikipedia

As an administrator at Wikipedia (User name DGG) have been attempting to deal with the material on this publisher at Wikipedia, and my opinions there can be seen on the appropriate talk page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Nova_Publishers&action=edit

The purpose of Wikipedia is to present sourced encyclopedic information fairly, and excessive praise of a product unsupported by objective evidence is considered unencyclopedic. So is implied praise of a product based on selective and unrepresentative statistics. Similarly, using an article discussing the inadequacies of a particular few titles to impugn a publishers reputation is consider unencyclopedic also.

What is representative statistics, is that apparently not a single one of their titles in any subject is included in Journal Citation Reports, either the science or the social sciences edition.

I have my own opinion based on many years of collecting materials in chemistry and biology for Princeton, and I can say here what I can not appropriately say at Wikipedia, that neither I nor my successors have ever purchased a journal of theirs in these or related subjects. I, at least, have never even been asked by any member of the faculty to do so.

I am told that their reputation in the social sciences is somewhat higher.

David Goodman
previously, Biological Science Bibliographer, Princeton University Library

Nova Science

In the light of all the evidence that you find in the international journals, in the international press, and in the light of all these articles and books written by authors from the world's top universities for Nova, the above article is nothing more than a very very biased picture, to say the least. Below I present a different picture.

Signed: Arno Tausch, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Innsbruck University, Austria, and regular contributor to over 40 journals and/or publishing institutions, among them Dutch University Press/Rozenberg Publishers, Palgrave Macmillan, and Saint Martin's Press, N.Y., in 24 countries around the globe.

Although Nova started in the field of science, the company expanded into other disciplines as well and has become one of the major scientific book publishing companies in the US. When the company started its publishing activities by 1987, such titles as „Issues in intense-field quantum electrodynamics“; „The theory of target compression by longwave laser emission“; „Laser applications in precision measurement“; „The Physical effects in the gravitational field of black holes“; „The nonlinear optics of semiconductor lasers“; „The Quantum electrodynamics of a high-intensity field“; „Industrial measurement of electrical and electronic components and equipment“ predominated. Today, the catalogue still lists 502 titles, containing the word "physics", and 585 titles containing the word "medicine", but already 255 titles with the term "economics", 281 titles with the word "psychology", 77 titles with the word "political science", 50 titles with the word "sociology", 52 titles with the term "religion", etc.

Nova in international science - data from international press archives and scientometric evidence
International news and reference archives yield the following evidence:

"Lexis Nexis University "International Press"", run by a Consortium of Swiss Universities, which combines in its archives such sources as La Stampa , The New York Times, The Age (Melbourne, Australia), The Japan Times, Milano Finanza, South China Morning Post, and Times Educational Supplement already mentions 308 articles to date, explicitly dealing with materials, published by "Nova Science Publishers"

"Dialog Select Open Access", which combines complete texts of hundreds of magazines and journals from leading publishers, documented in sources such as Business Dateline, Business & Industry®, CMP Computer Fulltext, Computer News Fulltext, General Science Abstracts/Fulltext, Harvard Business Review, Gale Group Computer Database, Gale Group Health & Wellness, Gale Group Magazine Database, Gale Group Trade & Industry Database, The McGraw-Hill Companies Publications Online, and Periodical Abstracts PlusText™, carries to date already 146 articles referring explicitly to "Nova Science Publishers"

International bibliographical content and reference services refer to scientific works published by Nova Science Publishers in the following fashion:

"EBSCO Scientific abstracts", combining the most important scholarly journals in the social sciences, documented in Academic Search Premier, Academic Search Elite, Business Source Elite, EconLit, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Regional Business News, SocINDEX, already makes 1024 explicit references to titles published by "Nova Science Publishers"

"Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA)" makes 181 references to Nova Science Publishers titles in the field of social sciences; in addition it lists 295 world class scholars in the system, who already published with that publisher

"Bibliography of Asian Studies" makes reference to 247 Nova titles

In addition, other free internet bibliographies mention Nova titles as well. Only some are listed here:

"LEXIS/NEXIS literature search", freely available via the German University internet site "Lalisio", mentions the following specific references in the international, peer-reviewed journals to Nova publications:

28 search results from Marketing & Advertising Reference (LNE)

129 search results from ABI/Inform Select (LNE)

367 search results from Law Reviews, Combined (LNE)

"Questia", a free international internet bibliography, with relevance to the social sciences, covering bibliographical references from books and journals in the English speaking world, reports the following results for the search for: "Nova science publishers": Found 155 results: Books: 90, Journal Articles: 62, Magazine Articles: 3

* "Infoconnex Political Science", a freely available political science data search engine, organized by the German Science Ministry and other scientific organizations in Germany, yielded 113 references for Nova Science Publishers titles (Infoconnex Political Science is partly based on Cambridge Scientific Abstracts PAIS)

"Blackwell Synergy", combining full-text access to the scholarly journals of that publishing company, carries 81 references to articles, mentioning "Nova Science Publishers";

"Inforetrieve article finder", a free on-line scientific bibliography, mentions 47 articles, which directly refer to "Nova" titles

"Elsevier Science Direct", a website, which claims to present access to 1/4 of the world's medical, technical and science information, refers to 27 titles, which are explicitly referring to "Nova Science Publishers;

"JSTOR Arts and Sciences II", a collection of the leading 125 journals in the fields of arts and humanities, mentions 22 articles with references or reviews of Nova titles;

"Central and Eastern European Library Online", a new full-text bibliographical service, covering over 190 journals published in the new Eastern Europe, mentions 14 Nova titles etc. etc.

"Project Muse", a free international internet bibliography, refers to 31 Nova Science publications

* "Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Politikwissenschaft", a freely available German on-line reference service for world-wide political science, initiated at Hamburg University, mentions the following references to Nova Science Publishing titles:

"WWW-Suchraum Politikwissenschaft" • 134

"WWW-Suche [Seekport]" • 94

"SSG-OPAC Politikwissenschaft. Friedensforschung" • 25

"World Affairs Online [FIV IBLK]" • 30

"Internationale Bibliographie der Sozialwissenschaften [IBSS]" • 197

"GBV - Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund" • 634

"KOBV Digitale Bibliothek Berlin-Brandenburg" • 9

"hbz-Verbundkatalog [NRW]" • 1

"HeBIS - Hessisches BibliotheksInformationsSystem" • 8

"SWB - Südwestdeutscher Bibliotheksverbund" • 168

The current catalogue contains the following references to authors from the following major Universities around the world:

Nova Science Publisher titles and contributions from the world’s top 20 Universities

Sources:

http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/rank/2007/ARWU2007.xls

https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/advanced_search.php

1 Harvard Univ 62

2 Stanford Univ 28

3 Univ California - Berkeley 27

4 Univ Cambridge 47

5 Massachusetts Inst Tech (MIT) 20

6 California Inst Tech 38

7 Columbia Univ 94

8 Princeton Univ 13

9 Univ Chicago 33

10 Univ Oxford 28

11 Yale Univ 33

12 Cornell Univ 35

13 Univ California - Los Angeles 21

14 Univ California - San Diego 19

15 Univ Pennsylvania 50

16 Univ Washington - Seattle 7

17 Univ Wisconsin - Madison 10

18 Univ California - San Francisco 13

19 Johns Hopkins Univ 24

20 Tokyo Univ 90

Also, researchers from some of America's leading government research institutions published with Nova:

US Military Academy 11

US Air Force Academy 7

Defense Intelligence College 6 titles

Rand Corporation 5 titles

Hudson Institute 3 titles

US Naval War College 1

US Army War College 1

Over recent years, Nova increasingly also published authors from Asian Universities

Nova Science Publishers titles and contributions from the 10 leading Asian Universities

1 Tokyo Univ 20

2 Kyoto Univ 22

3 Australian National University 57

4 Hebrew Univ Jerusalem 64

5 Osaka Univ 67

6 Tohoku Univ 18

7 Univ Melbourne 35

8 Nagoya Univ 25

9 Tokyo Inst Tech 53

10 Hokkaido Univ 18

In addition, Nova also publishes a great number works by European researchers:

Nova Science Publishers titles and contributions from the 10 leading European Universities

1 Univ Cambridge 47

2 Univ Oxford 28

3 Imperial Coll London 19

4 Univ Coll London 64

5 Swiss Fed Inst Tech - Zurich 9

6 Univ Paris 06 12

7 Univ Utrecht 27

8 Univ Copenhagen 16

9 Univ Manchester 23

10 Univ Paris 11 56

Estimated geographical distribution of titles and contributions outside the US

(Method: catalogue catchwords [product description] "University" + "country name". The following table contains just a sample of countries)

307 Australia

302 Germany

280 China

261 Russia

223 India

205 Canada

140 Poland

129 Turkey

109 Israel

107 Brazil

102 Sweden

79 Finland

76 South Africa

65 New Zealand

63 Argentina

54 Iran

47 Norway

34 Ireland

17 Pakistan

14 Saudi Arabia

Some characteristics of the global publishing program (Library of Congress: 2536 titles)

The Library of Congress currently lists 2536 Nova Science Publishers titles (search August 11, 2007).

Top 10 titles

Their 10 most widely read titles - in terms of academic library presence around the globe) - are:

1. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge / Author: Cogwell, Mathew T. Publication: New York : Nova Science Publishers, 2002

2. Smoking : the story behind the haze / Author: Koven, Edward L. Publication: New York : Nova Science Publishers, 1996

3. Affirmative action : catalyst or albatross? / Author: Colamery, S. N. Publication: Commack, N.Y. : Nova Science Publishers, 1998

4. The history of weather / Author: Williams, James Thaxter. Publication: Commack, N.Y. : Nova Science Publishers, 1999

5. The Black male in white America / Author: Gordon, Jacob U. Publication: Hauppauge, N.Y. : Nova Science Publishers, 2002

6. Lethal mists : an introduction to the natural and military sciences of chemical, biological warfare, and terrorism / Author: Taylor, Eric R. Publication: Commack, N.Y. : Nova Science Publishers, 1998

7. Can't live without it : the story of hemoglobin in sickness and in health / Author: Hazelwood, Loren F. Publication: Huntington, NY : Nova Science Publishers, 2001

8. Adult guide to children's team sports / Author: Humphrey, James Harry, 1911-; Yow, Deborah A. Publication: New York : Nova Science Publishers, 2002

9. Agriculture and the environment / Author: Uri, Noel D. Publication: Commack, N.Y. : Nova Science Publishers, 1999

10. Global climate change / Author: Karling, Horace M. Publication: Huntington, N.Y. : Nova Science Publishers, 2001

Social Sciences

In the social sciences, Nova published articles and books by authors in the field of world system research.

World systems research authors and international political economists, publishing with Nova

Scholars with a high ISI Web of Science impact factor, such as Samir Amin, Patrick Bond, Christopher Chase Dunn, Andre Gunder Frank, Johan Galtung, Almas Heshmati, Kimmo Kiljunen, Syed Mansoob Murshed, Gordon Laxer, Kunibert Raffer, Robert J. S. Ross, Bruce Russett, David Skidmore, Frank Stilwell, Immanuel Wallerstein, Ted Wheelwright, and many others published with Nova.

Referenced Scholarly Journals

Nova's top 5 scholarly journals in terms of library presence around the globe are:

1. Advances in psychology research.

2. Progress in education.

3. Studies of high temperature superconductors : advances in research and applications.

4. European economic and political issues.

5. Current politics and economics of Russia

Nova Science Publishers: Arno Tausch's comment + Wikipedia

The Wikipedia entry for Nova Science Publishers has been changed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nova_Publishers. In addition, the entry now references a dispute on the subject here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Nova_Publishers. Arno Tausch has posted essentially the same comment there that he did here, and I refer readers to the discussion that his posting engendered.

Content of Journals Published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

The practice of republishing content in journal articles is not new. In a series of articles published in 2005, I documented how Emerald Publishing in the United Kingdom (formally known as MCB University Press) conducted a massive, systematic, and deceptive republishing practice for nearly thirty years before being detected (see citations below). What made the Emerald/MCB case different than Nova Publishing was that Emerald journals claim they practice peer review, and employ real editors and editorial boards (many of which are composed of librarians). Whether or not these boards actually functioned is another question.
.
The subscription model is based on a relationship of trust. Most librarians have no time to verify that they purchased legitimate material. The example of Nova Publishers is an example of a company exploiting the trust between the publisher and library. While it is easy to chalk up this experience to another lesson in Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware), it might be a warning to the growing practice of blanket approval plans over individual selection. Drop the last remaining guard of accountability and the library opens itself up to potential abuse. Examples like this one (and Emerald/MCB) need to be kept in our collective memories. It will likely, and unfortunately, happen again.
.

Davis, P. M. (2005). The Ethics of Republishing: A Case Study of Emerald/MCB University Press Journals. Library Resources & Technical Services, 49(2), 72-78.

Davis, P. M. (2005). Article duplication in Emerald/MCB journals is more extensive than first reported: Possible conflicts of financial and functional interests are uncovered. Library Resources & Technical Services, 49(3), 138-150.

Nova Publishers on Wikipedia

There's a curious Wikipedia article about Nova Publishers that smacks of self-promotion and displays the very same chaotic (to say the least) approach to information quality as the journals that Bade studies here.

That version of the Nova

That version of the Nova Article was promotional in a way that violates Wikipedia's policies on Neutral Point of View; I reverted it to an older version. More factual, referenced information on the publisher would be helpful; they seem pretty mysterious all in all.

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