publisher reputation
January 30, 2011 9:25 AM   Subscribe

if I'm looking through a library... does being published with Springer Verglag mean that the research is legit, and does being published with Nova Publishers mean that it isn't?
posted by moorooka to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
It depends on a number of factors though publisher can be one of them. The reputation of the author in a field, citations of a journal or book, peer review, quality of the research. I suggest asking your librarian if you have a specific title in mind, or more guidance in general.

Libraries spend a lot of money on Springer... but that doesn't mean you don't need to consider a number of other criteria to determine the credibility of a given work.
posted by wingless_angel at 9:34 AM on January 30, 2011

Googling "Nova Publishers peer review" suggests that Nova doesn't actually use a peer review process. So you might get a quality book or article from Nova, there will likely be far more noise than signal using this publisher. I wouldn't trust Nova over more reputable journal publishers who use a review process.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 9:40 AM on January 30, 2011

Springer(-Verlag) has a pretty excellent reputation, in Mathematics, at least.
posted by yeolcoatl at 9:50 AM on January 30, 2011

I know at my library we stopped really looking at stuff from Nova because it wasn't typically research oriented enough for our collection, and was often repackaged or not worth our time to process. Springer, for all their warts and price, is a no-brainer.

I wouldn't say that Nova doesn't publish legit stuff at times, but it's got more signal to noise. (What type of research are we talking?)
posted by kendrak at 11:40 AM on January 30, 2011

Springer-Verlag's scientific monographs are (at least for the lines I am familiar with) peer-reviewed. The Largely Mythological Husband has been a peer reviewer for some MSes in his field, as has at least one of my exes. Now, sometimes peer reviewers pass research that later turns out to be flawed, but a Springer-Verlag book has passed that level of scrutiny before it makes it to market.

Nova Publishers does not have that level of scrutiny built into their process. Which does not mean that some people with excellent data but with a degree of naivete about the relative status of different publishers don't choose to publish with them; it's just that the peer review happens largely on the consumer end, and therefore the noise-to-signal ratio is much much higher, as bessel functions says.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2011

There seems to be a particular line of Springer-Verlag texts that are more like vanity press self-publishing than real peer-reviewed science. I read Theoretical Introduction To Programming, published by Springer for $65, and it clearly had not been reviewed by even the most basic editor. Full of typos and botched syntax, it seemed like a collection of poorly-thought-out first-drafts of blog posts on various programming subjects. (One reason was the author's insistence on making every chapter exactly one full page; he'd meander three-fourths of the way and then frantically speed up.) You really can't be sure of the quality based only on the publisher. I concluded that the price is a good indication: inexpensive Springers are likely to be better since they're intended for a mass audience of textbook-buying students.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:22 PM on January 30, 2011

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