While working on developing MindBodyMed Press, it became clear that MindBodyMed Press was going to become an indie publisher using mini monographs as a medium to fill a void in the way scientific information is shared with the public. The Internet has given everyone a voice as blogging platforms opened the door for anyone to spew words in digital format, making ready to avail for public consumption any information, whether it was based on sound principles or mere ill-conceived opinions of self-appointed experts.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) draws attention to the problem in its Third Strategic Plan (2011-2015) in which the agency states that
Although a vast amount of information about CAM [Complementary and Alternative Medicine] is available in the public domain, much of it is incomplete, misleading, inaccurate, or based on scientifically unproven claims. Much of the public’s use of CAM occurs in the absence of advice or guidance from health care providers (conventional or CAM, p. 14).
On the other extreme of the spectrum are peer-reviewed journals that serve the scientific community only. Many of these traditional journals hide the information behind well-gated databases, accessible only with costly annual subscriptions or per-paper charges that lie outside the pocketbooks of the average reader. One such example is a publisher who lists articles of a journal at a pay-per-view charge (access for 24 hours) at US $51 and unlimited access to said journal at an annual subscription of $1,038. The average per-article purchase price of another well-respected full-text scientific database is $35.95. MindBodyMed Press’ titles are available for $7.99 and upwards in trade paperback and $6.99 and upwards in eBook format.
Falling in the middle are open-access peer review journals, which are free to consumers yet have a whole set of problems on their own, accepting bogus scientific research and seemingly more concerned with collecting hefty up-front charges from authors and not helping the scientific community through peer review. For a thorough report on the state of affairs in the open-access scientific enterprise read “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?” by John Bohannon (2013). According to Bohannon, scientists agree that the open-access model itself is not to blame, with one scientist describing the situation as not too much different than traditional subscription-based journals.
Despite this, the direction MindBodyMed Press is taking is no replacement for a thorough peer review in a reputable scientific journal. Scientific peer review, along with the cumbersome collection, interpretation, and reporting of data is necessary to inform health care providers, payers, employers, and patients of scientific data, allowing better evidence-based decision making of the use of mind-body interventions, practices, and disciplines. However, peer review is usually a lengthy process and sometimes can take years.
Up until now there has been no happy medium to afford the public access to the scientific literature. It is simply is too expensive! Though things seem to be changing. The other day, while skimming The Chronicle of Higher Education, I came across an interesting article titled “The Rise of the Mini-Monograph” written by Leonardo Cassuto (2013).
A monograph, according to Merriam-Webster is “…a learned treatise on a small area of learning … a written account of a single thing” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, n.d.). Up until recently, a monograph was considered a one-volume work giving in depth treatment to a specialized subject, written by a scholar in the field, for mainly an academic audience (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, n.d.).
According to Cassuto’s (2013) article, however, several academic departments and scholarly presses are experimenting with shorter formats. Enter the mini monograph. An entirely new book format, so to speak. The definitions from the previous paragraph still apply, though the length of the work is slightly smaller. Presses have begun using this new class to acquire and market original work. MindBodyMed Press is one of those presses.
Publisher Palgrave Pivot aims to attract original works between 30,000 and 50,000 words in length. Stanford Briefs publishes mini monographs in the 20,000 to 40,000 word range. We at MindBodyMed Press believe that original works between 7,500 and 50,000 words, with 20,000-40,000 words being ideal, have much potential to reach a broad audience.
Like our counterpart Stanford Briefs, MindBodyMed Press believes that the purpose of making mini monographs available to a wider audience is to foster “…an open argument rather than adding to a long conversation” (Cassuto, 2013). However, unlike Palgrave Pivot and Stanford Briefs, MindBodyMed Press’ future lies in the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) niche market. According to NCCAM, these practitioners are the key holders of knowledge related to the possible use of CAM interventions, as well as to give and share information that is of value to the public and health care providers (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011).
What type of author should consider publishing with MindBodyMed Press and why?
MindBodyMed Press is a platform that allows mind-body scientists, clinicians, and practitioners to connect with the public in a new format – the mini monograph.
MindBodyMed Press closes the gap in the current publication process by changing the way mind-body scientists, clinicians, and practitioners communicate with the public, exposing their titles on mainstream platforms such as trade paperback and eBook (enhanced ePub v.3) publication through popular platforms such as Amazon.com, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc. and not specialized databases.
MindBodyMed Press aims for a quick turnaround: Less than three months from acceptance to publication in most cases.
Especially appealing to authors is that unlike traditional peer review publishing, the author retains copyright to their work and the author receives royalties from the sale of their work. Yes! Unlike traditional peer review publishing, anytime an author’s work is sold, he/she will receive royalties.
Publication with MindBodyMed Press is ideal for CAM and mind-body scientists, clinicians, and practitioners who do not want or do not need to subject themselves to a lengthy peer review process.
On the other hand, MindBodyMed Press also aims to be an indie publishing company for graduate students and junior faculty. According to Cassuto’s article, Stephen Greenblatt, an American literary critic, theorist, and scholar at Harvard University, warned a decade ago not to force “…the most vulnerable members of the academic community – that is graduate students and junior faculty members – to fulfill outmoded requirements” (Cassuto, 2013). Cassuto continues to write that the best way to marshal in new practices is to support them.
At MindBodyMed Press we work closely with authors to create and share high quality information as the public domain is deluged with promotional and questionable material. In order for a manuscript to be considered for publication authors must follow accepted scientific processes for original research (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods research, reporting of case studies, and literature reviews).
So, MindBodyMed Press will be adding extra quality information to the field of CAM and mind-body medicine that otherwise would have withered away on a researcher’s or clinician’s computer hard drive, never to see the light of day again.
Who do we serve?
MindBodyMed Press serves consumers who are curious about what the science says, as well as individuals with strong, often polar-opposite beliefs or biases about the state of evidence about CAM and mind-body interventions—or even the need for mind-body research.
MindBodyMed Press will present innovative new books, called mini monographs, published to discuss the quintessence of a CAM or mind-body medicine modality. Mini monographs are selected based on basic scientific criteria without sacrificing the quality of carefully edited and produced content. Mini monographs will be published quickly promoting mindful, intelligent debate, and bringing novel perspectives and theoretical approaches within the reach of experts as well as the public.
MindBodyMed Press believes that you have a right to know what CAM and mind-body practitioners are doing now to help people with their chronic ailments. If you are a cancer patient, you might not have years to wait for this process to play out. You need information immediately to discern with your health care team if a CAM or mind-body modality might be beneficial in your particular case. The only way this can happen is if you have access to timely information from the providers on the health care front, even if this information does not lead to conclusive evidence.
Adhering to this publication model will allow MindBodyMed Press to put high quality CAM and mind-body medicine knowledge within economical reach of the public, without the need for subscriptions to expensive, highly specialized databases and peer-reviewed journals.
I am happy to share MindBodyMed Press’ mission and vision with you here.
MindBodyMed Press’ Vision:
Utilizing 21st century science and information technology, we will allow CAM practitioners, mind-body practitioners, clinicians, and scientists, who are the key holders of knowledge related to the potential use of mind-body interventions, to provide and share information that is of value to the public and to health care providers.
MindBodyMed Press’ Mission:
Given the reality of widespread and frequent self-care use of CAM and mind-body medicine, MindBodyMed Press will strive to share CAM and mind-body medical information primarily to health care consumers and health care providers who are curious about what the science says about CAM and mind-body medicine, even when the evidence is inconclusive or does not lead to clear guidance.
If you are a CAM or mind-body-oriented health care provider such as M.D., nurse, social worker, psychologist, research scientist, grad student, nutritionist, etc., please consider submitting your finished manuscript to MindBodyMed Press. We especially want to hear from you if you have a manuscript on CAM, a mind-body modality, or a nutritional intervention on cancer. The only caveat; we will check your manuscript and make sure it adheres to accepted guidelines within the area of research in which your manuscript falls (quantitative research, qualitative research, mixed methods research, literature reviews, case studies, and so forth).
If you are a consumer in a bookstore skimming through this book, thank you for browsing, and I hope that the information contained meets your standards and you will consider purchasing this title. Purchasing a title not only provides you with solid research but it also shows your support for up-and-coming scholars (in many cases) in CAM, as well as for practitioners and or researchers who have taken the time to share their experiences derived from many patient encounters or original research.
In return, we hope that if you are a consumer looking to discuss a health problem that the information contained herein will start a healthy dialogue between you, your primary health care provider(s), and your loved ones that takes into account your personal preferences.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions about your manuscript or the publishing process with MindBodyMed Press. If you are a health care consumer who has feedback on how to make MindBodyMed Press more appealing to you, I welcome your opinion as well.
I am looking forward to be reviewing your manuscript. Welcome to MindBodyMed Press. Your Mind. Your Body. Unite Them.
Werner Absenger – Managing Editor/Publisher
Please complete MindBodyMed Press’s mini-book proposal if you think that you are ready to publish your mini monograph with MindBodyMed Press.
Bohannon, J. (2013). Who’s Afraid of Peer Review? Science, 342(6154), 60–65. doi:10.1126/science.342.6154.60
Cassuto, L. (2013, August 12). The Rise of the Mini-Monograph. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from https://chronicle.com/article/The-Rise-of-the-Mini-Monograph/141007/
Monograph. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monograph
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2011). NCCAM’s Third Strategic Plan: Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (No. Third Strategic Plan) (p. 62). Retrieved from http://nccam.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/NCCAM_SP_508.pdf
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (n.d.). Identifying a Scholarly Monograph. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.library.illinois.edu/learn/research/monograph.html