Getting published was always considered an intellectual pursuit in India. The only people who ever got published were intellectual highbrows writing literary works of art, or researchers. Neither was looking for fame or money. They were simply writing for the sake of increasing the world’s knowledge. The serious publishers in India knew this and published their books without expecting huge profits. The ones out to make money printed pulp fiction.
Getting your book published with an academic publication meant nothing unless the publishers had respect in the market. This was because most academic publications were nothing more than overrated trade printers. The research papers they published did not go through peer reviews. If they did, it was a perfunctory gesture which meant nothing.
In the past few decades, university faculty looking to be promoted need to prove their worth by getting published in an international journal. If they publish a book, it has to be through a reputed international publisher. Getting published in India is a major challenge for several reasons.
There Is A Dearth Of Reputable Indian Academic Publishers Worth Getting Published With
There are plenty of publishers available in India. There is no dearth of publishing houses to choose from. The challenge lies in finding a publishing company that is considered too be good enough to get published with. Most publishers in India do not venture into academic publishing because that was a market that was dominated by the older players. The ones who do may not have done so with the right intentions and infrastructure.
As we have discussed several times in earlier posts, academic publishing requires more work than fiction or non-fiction. Any facts or claims made in the manuscript have to be verified by experts. The entire manuscript has to go through a peer review to determine if it is worthy of being printed as academic reading material. In order to do this, the publishers need to have a panel of experts on board. Getting published as an academic is not simply a matter of producing a manuscript and printing it.
Non-reputable academic publishers do not want to invest in such intensive work. They like to present themselves as easy to publish with. While this may sound tempting to a young academic looking to publish his first research paper, it does not mean much in the literary world. This has led to a general suspicion of all Indian publications in the research world. If getting published is going to mean anything, you should do it with an international publisher.
There Is No Clear Definition Of What An International Publisher Is
While all university officials agree that getting published with international publishers is better, there are no clear guidelines that define an international publisher. Going by the literal meaning of the word, an international publisher is any publisher based or operating outside India. However, publishers from developing or undeveloped countries do not count. There are several international publishers who have set up an office in India. Is getting published with their Indian publishing house considered the same as getting published with them in the country of their head office? There is no clear answer one way or the other.
Some may consider an Indian publication to be international if they have a certain foreign faculty on their editorial board. However, there is no clear guideline as to how many of these international representatives would be required to qualify as an international publishing house. Another criterion that seems to be accepted is if the journal gets contributions from foreign writers. Yet again, there is no clear limit as to how many contributions a year would be needed to make it ‘international’. In fact, there are some who say that just having the word ‘international’ in the name of the publishing house might qualify it.
With such obscure requirements, there is no wonder why most serious researchers and authors would find getting published in India not worth the effort.
Getting Published With The Wrong Publication In India Might Mean Charges Of Plagiarism
A proper academic editorial board will not only ensure a proper peer review and analysis of the manuscript but also check for plagiarism. Plagiarism might not be intentional on the part of the author. It may be something as innocuous as an un-credited theory or formula that they have put in their manuscript. It could be an extract from another academician’s work without proper citation.
An academic publication that knows what it is doing will ensure such an error does not slip by their scrutiny unnoticed. A disreputable one would simply not care. If an author gets published with someone like that, they could inadvertently find themselves charged with plagiarism. Such a charge can ruin the reputation of a scholar.
Getting Innovative Content Published Might Be Difficult With Conservative Presses
As mentioned earlier, established publishing houses knew that academic publishing and research journals do not sell very well. However, they did try to hedge their bets by publishing material that would be popular in some circles. By playing it safe, they could ensure some sales. The result was that anything that they considered risky or not marketable would be rejected. This seems to be the general philosophy with these presses till date. The obvious problem here is that if nothing new is accepted, then researchers with new ideas have no option but to approach newer publishers. In such a situation getting published with the wrong kind of publishers might be worse than not getting published at all.
The obvious solution in such a case would be to identify the right publisher to get your book or research paper published with. It might not be enough to follow the crowd. A lot of times, an inexperienced author will get published with a publication that he sees others getting published with. Without conducting your own research about the company, though, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
Always look for publications that can give you the best service and a good introduction into the world of academic publishing. For example, Manakin Press not only follows the best international practices but also ensures that new authors get all the guidance they need. Our review process is extremely stringent. This is why we look for some of the best people in their fields to sit on our expert panel. Our goal is to accumulate as much new content as we can. This gives our catalogue a diversity that you will not find with many publishers. It also means we will be willing to consider niche and obscure subjects to print.
In addition, we have a greater reach than local publishers. With offices in the UK and UAE, we have a presence almost all over the world. This gives authors the best of both worlds. They get published with an Indian company who understands the needs of the Indian market as well as international. We have associations with some of the top educational institutions in the country. Our authors benefit from this. Getting published in India may be a challenge but if you know the pitfalls to avoid, you will find success as an academic writer.