In Response to Accusations Related to a Controversial Article and the “Publishing Empire”

This is SCIRP’s response to a blog post published on 2014-12-16 by Jeffrey Beall who is campaigning against Open Access and as such also against SCIRP as one of the largest Open Access journal publishers. Beall’s campaign is criticized for its “sweeping generalizations with no supporting evidence” and refuted by SCIRP. The blog post is:

http://scholarlyoa.com/2014/12/16/the-chinese-publisher-scirp-scientific-research-publishing-a-publishing-empire-built-on-junk-science/

Response:

The title of Beall’s blog post is rejected as pejorative, racist, and meant to libel our business including thousands of authors, editors, and staff. It is unworthy of a person claiming to do “research”.

Accusations Related to a Controversial Article

PAVEL, Dumitru, 2014. Basic Principles Underlying Human Physiology. Health, vol.6, no.14, pp. 1816-1821. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/health.2014.614213

The manuscript was first submitted to SCIRP’s journal World Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases (WJCD) the review at this journal in summary indicated that the manuscript is generally good, but it would be better to submitted it to Open Journal of Molecular and Integrative Physiology (OJMP). At OJMP the paper was not accepted and was forwarded to Health. At Health the manuscript finally passed in a second review process and was published.

SCIRP provides a forum for discussion under each paper. The paper by Pavel received a comment from “Deyan” whom Beall later identifies on his blog as “Deyan Yosifov”. Google provides his profile on LinkedIn. His comment consists of the words ”Is this ‘scientific’ article just a bad joke or what? How has it gone through peer review?! Does this journal have competent editors at all?!” followed by some quotes from the paper. No further scientific critique is given.

The comment was not released directly because of its malicious nature, but was sent to the author to comment. The author answered on 2014-12-11 (before Beall’s blog post) and indicated already his e-mails to an international e-mail list, but failed to provide scientific details in his answer. The Editorial Assistant of Health therefore asked again. The author answered already on the same day:

“These problems are scientifically complex they cannot be submitted for discussions in few words. Of course, there may be some malicious scientists because they are new and revolutionary concepts. My scientific concepts are already well known by all the societies of physiology and cardiology in the world before their publication. Further, they are already well known by the best 100 medical universities in the world. They have been submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), moreover, the existence of specialized specific nervous areas of the cardiovascular system of the CNS has been experimentally confirmed by the UCLA. The experiments are based on my physiological concepts published in 2007. This statement may be verified by contacting the University of California, Los Angeles … However, if you want to withdraw my article from your journal you may do that it will be republished in another journal …”

The Editorial Board had to decide what best to do. The author failed to give clear evidence in favor of his paper. Also, since the author opted himself for a withdrawal/removal this step could easily be taken. Normally, a retraction (paper marked as retraction, but still visible) would be the way to go in this case. However, a withdrawal is also possible in case of medical reasoning that could endanger people. The Editorial Board decided for a withdrawal. Beall’s blog post was published in parallel. The article was replaced by a withdrawal notice and messages where place on SCIRP’s News and Blog.

SCIRP explains on the page of its Advisory Board: “SCIRP is a privately owned publishing house. Editors … are granted editorial freedom … by the owners of SCIRP as it is accepted and good practice in scientific publishing …”. Hence the publisher does not and will not interfere in academic publishing matters.

To conclude:

  • It is impossible for a publisher to grant editorial freedom and at the same time to carry the responsibility for editorial decisions.
  • It has to be stressed again: The Editor-in-Chief carries the ultimate responsibility for the review process.
  • Editors at SCIRP check if manuscripts follow the accepted scientific method. “The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.”
  • It follows: Papers are published or rejected not on the basis if they are “mainstream” or not.
  • A post publication discussion (at SCIRP under each article) can give new insight into the paper, but should normally not change the decision reached in a proper review process. Comments in online discussions can be unreliable. It is unclear what the competing interests are of the authors of online comments.
  • Instead of forwarding the paper from one journal to the other a clear decision for a rejection should have been made earlier.

Response:

The “Publishing Empire”

In this connotation „the term ‘empire‘ can also be used to describe a large-scale business enterprise (e.g., a transnational corporation)“.

Great: Beall admits the success of our business. This is much in contrast to his belief that Open Access will fail sooner or later.

Beall is wrong about which companies are related. He did not even study the AboutUs pages of the companies in question. He is in doubt of his own findings, but does not see the need to write an e-mail to get an answer from the publishers. He writes about things he knows already they will most probably be wrong. We informed Beall about his failure but this has not caused his entry to change. It is a hopeless case.

Readers with an interest to learn more about the publisher should please study the extended FAQ

 and the AboutUs page instead of trying to learn from Beall’s blog.

We know best who we are!

About scirp

(SCIRP: http://www.scirp.org) is an academic publisher of open access journals. It also publishes academic books and conference proceedings. SCIRP currently has more than 200 open access journals in the areas of science, technology and medicine. Readers can download papers for free and enjoy reuse rights based on a Creative Commons license. Authors hold copyright with no restrictions. SCIRP calculates different metrics on article and journal level. Citations of published papers are shown based on Google Scholar and CrossRef. Most of our journals have been indexed by several world class databases. All papers are archived by PORTICO to guarantee their availability for centuries to come.
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