To be eligible for HERDC books must be published by a commercial publisher. A commercial publisher is one for which the core business is producing books and distributing them for sale.
Print-on-demand, vanity press and companies that specialise primarily in the publication of theses are not considered commercial publishers. These publishers:
- Exert little or no editorial control or peer-review process.
- May refer to themselves as Joint Venture Publishers or Partnership Publishers.
- Sometimes charge authors a fee for publishing their work.
- Examples include VDM Publishing House and LAP Lambert Academic Press.