New dawn for Russia?

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Julia Peregudova

The Russian Federation has declared 2021 as a year of Science and Technology – which predicts an increase in the sphere of scientific publications, writes Julia Peregudova

According to the SCImago Journal & Country Rank, Russia is 10th in the list of countries in terms of published documents in 2019. However, there are many obstacles that non-English speaking authors face before the successful publication in international journals.

While some researchers need to concentrate only on the content of their manuscripts, the majority of CIS countries struggle with the language-related problems. Firstly, not so many people have at least an intermediate level of English. Secondly, basic knowledge of the foreign language is not enough for writing a high-quality academic paper with a complicated terminology. Thirdly, what are the chances that, for example, a PhD in Oncology from Kazakhstan possesses excellent English language skills?

Usually, the article is written in a native language and then the author needs to find a certified specialist, who will translate it into academic English. It’s not as easy as it seems and, moreover, the next step would be proofreading by a native English speaker. 

Even such a simple thing like formatting an article according to the journal’s guidelines can cause frustration.  As a matter of fact, writing a cover letter, submitting a paper, communicating with the editor and many other steps in publishing include compulsory knowledge of a foreign language. All the additional work, done by different professionals, costs an unknown amount of money and takes quite some time. Besides, where to find all these people? Are they trustworthy? 

Help or fraud?

Due to high demand, many fraudsters provide fast publishing services in predatory journals. In addition to violating publication ethics, such organisations deceive scientists with the promise of publication in an incredibly short time. They approve any papers, including poor quality, because there is no peer-review process. 

In fact, the authors often put their career at risk, wishing to save some money and time. In the worst case, such agencies do not provide a contract – they just take the money and disappear, leaving no guarantees behind. 

Why do people fall for these false promises? Bureaucracy might be the answer. 

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation obliges universities to publish a certain number of works in international scientific databases such as Scopus and Web of Science. A few CIS countries have the same system. Thus, the researchers are pushed to publish more than they can, so overall quality of the manuscripts might suffer.  

The saddest part of the rush is that the authors must provide the university with a report in a short period of time, especially if they have a grant. However, the scientists often cannot correctly estimate time of publication and start working on it too late, not taking into account several peer-review circles their paper may need. 

Why are we different? 

World Sci Publ is a progressive scientific publishing house with its own package of services for the promotion of scientific articles for thousands of authors from Russia and CIS countries. Today we help scientists from 13 countries of the world. 

Our goal is to raise the level of scientists from Post-Soviet countries and make the publication process comfortable, transparent and understandable, thereby contributing to the development of science and cooperation of researchers from all over the world. We focus on IT solutions, customer service and quality of provided services in general. 

Unlike fraudsters, we have legal obligations to authors, so they can be sure of our reliability. The prices of our services are fixed and do not come as a surprise for clients. We respect publication ethics and strictly follow the rules. An exclusive partnership with a Dutch editing service provides European quality and necessary specialists, while Russian-speaking client support during all the publication stages helps to understand the process – this gives us an advantage on the market. 

So far we are not as popular as Enago or Editage, but I am sure that in a couple of years we will grow and come closer to big success.

The year 2020 showed us how difficult it is for authors not to get into the predatory journals. Scopus has made its checks more thorough and extended deadlines, because a huge number of journals came under investigation or even got cancelled of the database.

People who have never published their manuscripts in international databases before, do not always have an idea of what an article should look like to be sent to a good journal. So, often the customer's expectation and reality do not coincide: an unfinished or inappropriate article with a request, for example. After charge-free preliminary examination we advise the authors what can be done, warn them about the timing, so later they will not have problems with the university administration. 

We also provide them with general requirements for articles of Scopus and Web of Science. World Sci Publ focuses specifically on the quality of published articles, so we carry out a number of mandatory works aimed at compliance with the norms of international publication.

Each manuscript goes through the following stages: preliminary examination; translation by a certified specialist in academic English; pre-submission review; proofreading; targeted journal selection; formatting according to the journal’s guidelines ; consulting in submission; and help with contacting editors.

Based on the results of each stage, we notify the author about the work done, all documentation and improvements can be tracked in the author's personal account, online. There are no other examples of such a service at the moment in the post-Soviet countries.

We strongly believe that the publication process for people who cannot speak English eventually will become easier. For our part, we will do everything possible to raise the impact of Russian and CIS scientists on the world’s scientific arena. 

Julia Peregudova is editor and head of the business development department at WorldSciPubl.