I was intrigued to see a big ad for the Edwin Mellen Press in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week (March 2, p. B3). While the Press seems to be clearly legal, and indeed has many authors with good credentials, it does have an unusual history.
Here's what I wrote once: "Mellen University is an outgrowth of the Edwin Mellen Press. In a long cover story, the respected academic magazine Lingua Franca called it "a quasi-vanity press cunningly disguised as an academic publishing house . . . the brainchild of Herbert Richardson, a former University of Toronto professor of religion and one-time Moonie apologist with a Ph.D. in the sociology of religion from Harvard . . ." Richardson sued the magazine (and lost) over this article. In their ads, Mellen University has offered "a fully accredited British M.Phil or Ph.D. by writing a thesis for external examination." Mellen claims to be accredited because they are chartered on the commonwealth island of Turks and Caicos, and follow the British system of "quality control (accreditation)." The catalog says "Mellen University has earned a license from the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands and, virtually, the British government." The "virtually" is presumably because Turks is a commonwealth country."
When I did a search for the university just now, I learned that the man who used to run it, John Tulip (whose three degrees all come from Mellen) was arrested in May 2005 on child sex abuse charges. (http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/news ... ryid=37805). The phone number I had for the university, ostensibly in Mt. Vernon, Iowa (but apparently in Lewiston, NY) is still in service, and is answered "Edwin Mellen Press."
The university is not mentioned on the press' website, and the university's website (mellenuniversity.edu) has been removed from the archives at www.archive.org.