In this blog post, I will talk about a recent case of serious academic misconduct by Sandeep Kautish from LBEF / APU that I experienced when submitting a book proposal to CRC Press. In that book proposal, I am a collaborator (co-editor). The full story is below.
On June 4th 2020 morning, we submitted a book proposal to Prof. Sandeep Kautish, editor of a new book series called “Advances in Informatics and Information Systems Engineering” for CRC Press to propose a book related to artificial intelligence. We submitted to him because he previously made a call for book proposals.
Then, in the afternoon, we received the following e-mail from Sandeep Kautish:
FROM: CRC Editor-AIISE <firstname.lastname@example.org>(…)
TO: +++++, +++++, +++++, +++++
4th June, 14 h 46
Congratulations on the nicely drafted proposal.
Also, I wish to get the consent of you all to add myself (Prof. Dr. Sandeep Kautish, Series Editor CRC Press) as 5th Editor in the proposal. I am Series Editor of 3 (three) book series of CRC Press with over 30 books in production and have been the editor of more than five Elsevier, Springer, and IGI Global books (one Elsevier and one Springer already going on).
My brief biography is given below –
Dr. Sandeep Kautish is working as Professor & Dean-Academics with LBEF Campus, Kathmandu Nepal running in academic collaboration with Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation Malaysia.
Advances in Informatics and Information Systems Engineering
CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group)
Thus, the book series editor Sandeep Kautish acknowledged receiving our proposal, said that it is a good proposal. But he told us that he wants to add himself as a co-editor of our book (!) This is totally unacceptable and inappropriate, as he did not write a single word of our proposal. And it is a clear conflic of interest.
We don’t have any reason to add him as co-editor. We don’t know him and he directly asks to put his name on our proposal that he did not write. And obviously, the purpose of this message is to make us feel that if we do not accept, he will reject the proposal and not transfer it to CRC Press. And if there is doubts about that, it has been confirmed in the next e-mail and phone call.
Now, since we cannot accept such behavior, one of the member of our proposal told him that we will not add him to the book proposal on the phone. Then, because of this he wrote another e-mail a few hours later to reject the proposal that he once thought was a good proposal:
FROM: CRC Editor-AIISE <email@example.com>
TO: +++++, +++++, +++++, +++++
4th June, 19 h 27
Based on my discussion with _________ over a phone call, I have decided not to process and accept the said Proposal under my series.
It was latter confirmed to me that he was very angry over the phone that we did not accept to put his name on our proposal. This is really unprofessional and unethical.
A book series editor should never ask to be put as co-editor of books that are proposed in his series, that he did not wrote, and as a condition to process the proposal. It is a very serious case of academic misconduct. And I am sure that this is not the policy of CRC Press, either. Thus, I will also fill a complaint to CRC Press about this so that he does not try to bully other researchers that are in weak positions into putting his name on their books.
I have previously published a few books with Springer and never had to face such bad behavior from a book series editor. In fact, I would never have imagine that this could have happened when submitting to an editor like CRC Press, which is a decent publisher.
Who is Sandeep Kautish?
So you may now wonder who is Sandeep Kautish? He is an Indian researcher who is professor and dean with of some small department called LBEF Campus in Kathmandu Nepal for the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU).
This is his webpage: http://apiitmalaysia.academia.edu/DrSandeepKautish
and his other webpage: https://www.lbef.org/profile/dr-sandeep-kautish/
and this is his official e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As I see from the webpage of Sandeep Kautish, he does not seems to be a strong researcher. He has about 100 citations in Google Scholar. Thus, I think that CRC Press maybe made a mistake when appointing him to such position as book series editor, and as we discovered he decided to take advantage of this to try to bully people into putting his name on their books. Why? I guess the reason must be to obtain a promotion or such things.
Update 1: More cases of academic extortion by Sandeep Kautish
2020-6-4 1:00 PM. About two hours after publishing this post, someone else has privately contacted me to inform me that Sandeep Kautish has done the same thing to them for another book proposal with CRC Press. They also did not give up to the bullying tactics and refused to add him as co-editor of their book.
2020-6-5 2.50 PM. Then, two more researchers have come up to talk with me privately to tell me about some bad experiences that they also had with Sandeep Kautish related to bullying for book proposals. The first one told me that such things happened about 10 more times to people that he knows. Here is some excerpt from that discussion:
He told me much more than this but I just show some key points and I hide some information to preserve anonymity of that person. The second one told me that he had more or less the same experience as me with Sandeep Kautish for a book proposal a while ago. Below I just show some small part of what he told me.
Update 2: Complaint to CRC press
2020-6-5: After complaining to CRC Press, they have answered me very quickly and offered to reconsider our book proposal for another book series. They also told me that they think that this is unacceptable, it is not their policy and that they were also very surprised. CRC Press have been very nice and professional and I am happy that they are now investigating this to take quick action to solve this problem. I have known CRC press for a long time (used some of their textbook for teaching and published with them before). The problem that I faced here is with a book series editor working for them. But it will not change my overall opinion that CRC is a good publisher.
Update 3: Action from CRC press
2020-6-11: Today I saw the message that after research, evaluation and deliberation, CRC Press has decided to cancel the three following series by Sandeep Kautish, Dr. Pradeep N, Dr. Sountharrajan, and Dr. J. Amudhavel:
– Innovations in Computational Approaches with Machine Intelligence
– Advances in Informatics and Information Systems Engineering Series. For the record, here is a picture of that book series:
– Engineering Reflections on Pandemics and Sustainable Solutions for COVID-19
I am very happy about this quick action from CRC. It will ensure that the same situation will not happen again to other researchers in the future from these people!
In this blog post, I have shared a case of highly unethical behavior in academia by an Indian researcher named Sandeep Kautish who works at APU / LBEF. As always, in such case, the best solution is to file a complaint and make the story public otherwise such things will continue to happen.
If you know other information that may be interesting, you can share in the comment section below or send me a private message.