A genuine scholarly academic publisher: Universal Wiser Publisher as a model
Chee Kong Yap*
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
It is known that the lists of predatory publishers and predatory journals are created by a librarian Jeffrey Beall who is not a researcher. Most universities are now cautious of their academicians and warned them not to publish their research papers under the Beall' s list.
When I searched on the predatory publishers under Beall' s list on the 13 June 2022, to my surprise, Universal Wiser Publisher (UWP) has been listed as:
'Here we include publishers that were not originally on the Beall' s list, but may be predatory' (December 8, 2021) (https://beallslist.net/; 13 June 2022).
I have been invited as an Editorial Board Member for Food Science and Engineering (FSE) under the UWP since 2020. On a voluntary basis, I have been given the task to review new submissions or finalize any papers that have been stringently reviewed by at least two reviewers, to judge the final acceptance of the paper to be published in FSE. Not all papers are good and therefore might need another round of review, or to be rejected.
According to Grudniewicz et al. (2019), ''Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.''. Under the PUBMED database, this paper has received 288 citations as of 13 June 2022.
However, I would like to rephrase to say that:
“Universal Wiser Publisher is an entity that prioritizes public or scientific community interest in a scholarly manner and is characterized by genuine scientific information, closest to the best editorial and publication practices, high transparency, and/or the use of reader-friendly practices.”
According to Grudniewicz et al. (2019), 'Predatory journals and publishers accept articles for publication — along with authors' fees — without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval.' On the other side of a coin, 'Universal Wiser Publisher peer-reviews and later accepts articles for publication — without any authors' fees (or without Article Processing Cost (APC)) — performing promised quality checks for issues including plagiarism or ethical approval.'
UWP has been proven to be a non-predatory publisher judging from the fact that UWP does not receive any APC from authors to be published in their journals. Most importantly, all journals in UWP have very high-quality checks, especially plagiarism before they send for the further review process or to be sent to at least two reviewers for comments. The keyword is a strict peer-review process.
Kindly be noted that the known popular publishers such Frontiers and MDPI charge the authors' APC about 1900-2950 USD for A Type Articles, and 1000-2500 CHF, respectively. If it is based on the definition 'Predatory publishers accept articles for publication — along with authors' fees, then both of them can be easily listed under Beall' s list. However, the strict peer-review process along with the academic trust in these two publishers, they are not Beall' s listed, especially MDPI has been delisted since 2015 after the appeal.
This accusation against UWP is clearly baseless and it is a serious issue that needs to be cleared as soon as possible. If 'Everyone agrees that predatory publishers sow confusion, promote shoddy scholarship and waste resources.' (Grudniewicz et al., 2019). Then, we can say 'The baseless accusation of Beall' s list on UWP sow confusion, underestimating the genuine scholarship and waste resources because UWP has been victimized and stigmatized as predatory without any solid evidence.' Good journal publishers should be given room and opportunity for improvement as part of our educational purpose.
I hope this editorial could serve as a platform to remind other publishers of journals to check their status whether they have unknowingly been Beall' s listed but they have done the peer-review strictly in scholarly respectable knowledge-based principles. We must stand out bravely to voice out the truth!
Grudniewicz A, Moher D, Cobey KD, Bryson GL, Cukier S, Allen K, Ardern C, Balcom L, Barros T, Berger M, Ciro JB, Cugusi L, Donaldson MR, Egger M, Graham ID, Hodgkinson M, Khan KM, Mabizela M, Manca A, Milzow K, Mouton J, Muchenje M, Olijhoek T, Ommaya A, Patwardhan B, Poff D, Proulx L, Rodger M, Severin A, Strinzel M, Sylos-Labini M, Tamblyn R, van Niekerk M, Wicherts JM, Lalu MM. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature. 2019, 576(7786):210-212. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y.