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Call for the creation of a coalition to vet individuals and companies who offer publication services

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Donald Samulack, PhD (President, U.S. Operations, Cactus Communications and Editage), presented and launched an industry-wide call-to-action during a panel session titled “Predatory Author Services: What Can be Done About it?” held on 20th August 2015 at the 8th Annual North American Conference of the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE) in Baltimore, MD (USA). During the session that included Hazel Newton (Head of Author Services, Nature Publishing Group), Josh Dahl (Head of Publishing & Associations, Thomson Reuters), and Jeffrey Beall (Scholarly Communications Librarian and Associate Professor, University of Colorado, Denver), Dr. Samulack presented the case for the creation of a Coalition for Responsible Publication Resources (CRPR) to rally support among publishers and author services providers to mount an industry-wide response to the growing concern of erosion of the integrity of the scholarly literature by unethical or predatory practices.

Despite the existence of industry guidelines, codes of conduct, and white papers advocating responsible publishing, unscrupulous practices such as author scamming, plagiarism, duplicate publication, selling of authorship attribution, and false peer review practices are propagated by businesses providing author support, translation, language editing, or peer review services. While the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, Retraction Watch, Jeffrey Beall (Scholarly Open Access blog), and others identify and mitigate suspected breaches of scholarly conduct, none of the efforts are specifically tailored to hold author services vendors accountable to industry-expected norms of conduct, while at the same time making their status transparent to the scholarly community at the ‘point-of-service.’

Up until now, ongoing efforts to develop awareness of good publication practices, research ethics, and responsible business conduct by entities involved in publication processes were deemed to be sufficient. However, in recent months the adoption, prevalence, and growth in the sophistication of companies providing questionable or misleading publication or author services practices seems to be outpacing the impact of education activities” says Dr. Samulack. He expresses fears that “the growth of irresponsible practices in publication support will continue to flourish and become so sophisticated and prevalent that the average publishing scholar, within a couple of years, will have a hard time differentiating what is ‘good publication practice’ and what is not; who is providing ethical author services and who is not.”

For these reasons, Dr. Samulack proposes an industry-wide call-to-action whereby a Coalition of peers including publishers, scholarly organizations, and the author services community is formed as a U.S. non-profit 501(c)(6) organization supported by membership fees and donations. The Coalition, through mechanisms of committees of peers, industry feedback, and governance oversight, would accept responsibility to develop and maintain a verifiable badge for placement at point-of-service that identifies an entity (freelancers, commercial vendors, publisher, journal, etc.) as having been vetted by the Coalition for meeting the minimum standard of responsible conduct in the offering of publication services. Visit to seek more information and to contribute to the development of the Coalition.

About Donald Samulack:

Dr. Samulack (President, U.S. Operations, Cactus Communications and Editage) is actively involved in supporting the needs of the publishing, pharmaceutical, and academic communities, managing workflow, and raising the level of awareness and professionalism of the editing and medical writing communities with respect to good publication practices and ethics. He has given numerous lectures and workshops around the world at conferences, universities, publishers, and for government agencies. He understands the logistics of scholarly publication and author services, and is a major player in shaping perceptions, defining workflows, and delivering publication quality.

About Cactus Communications and Editage (|

Cactus Communications (CACTUS) is a leading global scientific communications company with offices in the U.S., Japan, India, South Korea, and China. Editage is the flagship brand of CACTUS, recognized worldwide in publishing and academic communities. Editage aims to help scholars break through the confines of geography and language, to bridge the gap between authors and peer-reviewed journals, and to accelerate the process of publishing high-quality research. Apart from working with individual researchers, Editage partners with publishers, journals, academic societies, and pharmaceutical companies worldwide to create compelling, high-quality scientific communications.

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