Today, I will report on about something bad that happened a few years ago about a book edited by Kerry Taylor et al. about ontologies that was cancelled without notifying the authors, and never published.
At that time, we had published a paper in the 8th Australasian Ontology Workshop (AOW2012), organized by Kerry Taylor, Tommie Meyer, Aurona Gerber and Mehmet Orgun. After the workshop, we received an e-mail to invite us to submit an extended version of our paper to a book “Ontologies: Theory and Applications in Information Systems and the Semantic Web” to be published by Springer in 2014.
Thus, we worked for two weeks to prepare an extended version of our paper describing an improved approach and additional experiments. We submitted the chapter and it was accepted. Then, we expected the book to be published in 2014. However, after that we never received any news from the editors, and no book was published. After about four years, we now have to conclude that the book was cancelled, and the editors never notified authors.
I have tried to contact Kerry Taylor who is the main editor of that book (firstname.lastname@example.org) several times in recent years and never received a reply. She simply ignore all e-mails from me and co-authors. For example, recently, in April 2017, I sent an e-mail to her current e-mail address : email@example.com And received this:
I will be on leave and may not see your email before 2 May.
which shows that it did not go to the spam folder. But then there was no answers. I tried several times and some of the co-authors of the chapter also tried to contact her and we never received an answer (including 23rd October 2016, 3rd January 2017, 20th April 2017, and 10th January 2018 at firstname.lastname@example.org, and several e-mails during the previous years). It seems that Kerry Taylor et al. simply decided to cancel the book, without notifying authors and to ignore our e-mails rather than notifying authors that the book is cancelled as it should have been done. This means that all authors wasted time to write a chapter that will never be published. I can understand that the editor may have been busy and for some reasons may have decided to cancel the book, but at least the minimum would have been to notify the author that the book was cancelled so that chapters can be published somewhere else.
This is bad. But are we the only one in this situation?
If we were the only one in that situation, one could argue that there was perhaps a misunderstanding. But by searching online with the title of the book “Ontologies: Theory and Applications in Information Systems and the Semantic Web“, we can quickly see that our team are not the only one who have spend a considerable amount of time writing a chapter that will never be published. A quick search on Google reveals that there is at least three such chapters:
- Zhe Wang, Kewen Wang, Yifan Jin and Guilin Qi: OntoMerge: A System for Merging DL-Lite Ontologies. In: Ontologies: Theory and Applications in Information Systems and the Semantic Web, Springer-Verlag, 2014 (accepted for publication).
- F. Maier, W. Mayer, and M. Stumptner, “Ontological Support for Consistency Checking of Engineering Design Workflows,” in Ontologies: Theory and Applications in Information Systems and the Semantic Web, K. Taylor, A. Gerber, T. Meyer, and M. Orgun, Eds., Springer Verlag, 2014.
- Snow, E., Moghrabi, C., Fournier-Viger, P. (2015). Automatic Grading of Open-ended Questions Using Semantic Web Ontologies and Functional Concepts. In. Taylor, K., Gerber, A., Meyer, T., Orgun, M. (Eds.) Ontologies: Theory and Applications in Information Systems and the Semantic Web, 12 pages. (this is my chapter)
Who are Kerry Taylor et al.?
Kerry Taylor is a researcher working who does research related to ontologies and participated in the organization of the AOW workshops. Most recently, she has been hired as an associate professor at the Australian National University in 2016. Her webpage is here: https://cecs.anu.edu.au/people/kerry-taylor
The other co-editors of that cancelled book are Tommie Meyer, Aurona Gerber and Mehmet Orgun. But they are not the main editor. I thus assume that they are playing a minor role in that problem. One of my colleague tried to contact one of the co-editor at some point but could not get any information.
What will happen?
At this point, I expect nothing to happen. And I have given up on the idea that this book will be published or that our chapter will be published anywhere else since several years have passed and it is a project that I am not working on anymore, and that is now outdated. But I think that it is important to report this situation as this is very bad academic behavior and several people have wasted time and resource to prepare a chapter for this book. I have waited a few years to write on the blog post about that story, because initially I though that the book was delayed or that there might be other reasons, and I first sent several e-mails to Kerry Taylor to give her a chance of explaining herself. But since none of our e-mails were answered after almost four years, this story had to be made public.
What is the reason for ignoring our e-mails and cancelling the book?
I am not sure why the book was cancelled but I think that Kerry Taylor perhaps thought that by ignoring e-mails, she could just get away with cancelling the book without having to explain why. However, this is obviously not what one should do in that situation. I think that this is a very bad academic behavior.
If there is some news about this, I will update the blog but I don’t expect anything.