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Recently, I got an invitation from a professor to contribute a chapter in one of his/her upcoming books. I am a novice in this field. I am still a student but simultaneously I do not want to lose this opportunity. I have a few published articles. I am quite confused about the content of the chapter. Can I use my results from the accepted manuscript and add them as chapter content of the book? Is it totally ethical? Kindly help me. Suggestions are most welcome by heart. Thanks a lot.

P.S. Checked their profile. They are some professors in an university but I never met them. And they did not talk about whether its a normal chapter or some proceeding type chapter in the book. And no mention of money also.

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    This is a question for the professor. The question about your manuscript should go to the editor. They might well object.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 11:47
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    Do you personally know the professor or was this an email solicitation? Please be careful that this isn't a predatory offer that will actively harm your career.
    – iayork
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 12:27
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    @monalisa this is a giant red flag. Please before you do anything else about this triple-check that this is a real professor, at a real institution, who really did send out the email, and that this is a real book. I would say the odds of it being a fake (predatory) book are five to one.
    – iayork
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 12:39
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    @iayork I recommend elaborating and turning your comment into an answer.
    – user2768
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 13:24
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    Absolutely agree with @iayork. Likely fishing here. WARNING, as for you risk to work on a chapter that nobody care of in a book that nobody care of as well and ending to work again to skip payment on your own.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 14:01

2 Answers 2

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Rather than answering the specific question ("What to write in a chapter of a book?") I'm going to suggest that this is an XY Problem. The real first question is whether this is a real book, or if it's a predatory publisher sending out an email blast to random victims. The limited evidence in the question and comments suggests that it may well be a predatory publisher:

  • The recipient is not a well known researcher
  • There isn't a clear and well-described topic for the chapter
  • The recipient doesn't know the putative professors personally

An edit to the question suggests that the authors may be real people, but with the other red flags that are raised I would still be very suspicious. The professors may not be the actual senders of the letter, or they may in turn be victims of a scam.

It's not impossible that this is a real book, but the odds are very much against it. Please be cautious before doing something that may damage your reputation and career.

Edit since in the comments someone is skeptical that there is such a thing as predatory book-chapter scams:

The claim in the comments is that book chapters can't be predatory because "You can't have a predatory book". These examples show charges for chapters, but also through selling worthless, low-quality books to libraries.

In general these predatory publishers depend on naive people; that includes people who think "You can't have a predatory book".

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  • -1 I think you are being overly suspicious. You can't have a predatory book - if you publish junk in a book, people simply don't buy, and you earn nothing. The predatory publishing model only works if there is open access (i.e. author pays), and nothing in the question implies that to be the case.
    – Allure
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 20:24
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    That seems naive. I get 3-4 obvious book chapter spams a week (with dozens of journal scams). I presume that the scam is after you submit your chapter you're asked for publication fees or handling fees or something. This particular one may not be a scam, but making 100% sure that it's legit is obviously the first thing to do.
    – iayork
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 20:31
  • If that's what they're doing, it's not a good scam because you can decline to pay. There's nothing they can do next - they can't publish anyway because they still have no revenue, while if they don't publish then they've just wasted their time. For these to be actual scams (as opposed to legitimate books/journals trying to get more content), they have to get you to pay. As I said, I think you're being overly suspicious.
    – Allure
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 20:41
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    Either I'm overly suspicious or you're overly naive. I see obvious book-chapter scams in my in-box every week, so there's obviously some money being made off it.
    – iayork
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 21:08
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    I admire your wholesomeness of spirit and generosity of thought, but would not recommend that everyone accept your attitude.
    – iayork
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 22:54
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You were approached because your work is suitable for the particular chapter of a book on a larger topic.

Usually, in such cases, the book is either a monograph or a textbook (again, not exclusively). A monograph can be regarded as an extended research paper. That means that you largely put your own research into a larger perspective of related work, seen through the scope of the book. While a textbook demands a more pedagogical approach. Where you are expected to write the material with regard to the more commonly known basics of your field, which you would skip in a paper. Also, some exercises for the reader might be expected, depending on your field and scope.

Writing a part of a book is a iterative process. The professor will probably provide you with the introduction to the book and the expected scope of your chapter. Once you finish a draft, he will review it and probably provide feedback.

Do not let the fact that you are a student discourage you. You have written accepted papers and you were approached by a more experienced researcher, who probably knows why you are a good pick. Like you said, you shouldn't miss the opportunity. Every author starts somewhere.

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    From the description, this could also be a review volume.
    – Allure
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 11:53

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