The Unified Concept

A hypothetical solution to the problems in scholarly publishing is to 'publish-on-air'. But what is publish-on-air? Publish-on-air conceptualizes a web app for scholars, where they can submit manuscripts and do their peer reviews independently of publishers; but which allows access by publishers to accepted manuscripts. The concept is quite analogous to AirBnB which allows guests to book accommodation directly from residents, bypassing the hotels. And in another way, it is analogous to freelancing platform Upwork, where people post jobs for freelancers to do and get paid. But, in this case, a publish-on-air app wouldn't just connect scholars with publishers; it must do more to be of any value to scholars. The app must be able to control peer review, manage manuscripts, integrate workflows and automate the stages in scholarly publishing - a more complex and novel platform.

However while working on the concept, an important question arose. Would publish-on-air solve the many problems in scholarly publishing? Well, it brings many advantages but for it to be an effective all-round solution, it has to be a Unified platform. The term unified means, it is the 'only' such web platform for all scholars. Though we are not in a position to force unification. We thought it wise to keep the 'Unified' name for our platform.

So, in the real academic sense, Unified represents the "unification of peer review" for each field of specialization, (and subject to regions as well). This 'unification' means that rather than have different publishers conduct their own peer reviews, we can unify the peer review based on a central peer review platform for scholars; and allow publishers download accepted manuscripts for publication. Though we cannot force unification, as the pioneers of publish-on-air, we think Unification makes publish-on-air a solution to ALL problems in scholarly publishing. With this central/unified platform independent of publishers, we can balance power between scholars and publishers; solve a whole lot of problems and streamline a lot of systems that would benefit scholars, publishers and institutions.

hus, the Unified Concept encapsulates publishing-on-air but in one central platform. Only in Unification can we solve the following problems

(i)   duplication of research topics
(ii)   plagiarism and data fraud
(iii)   predatory journals
(iv)   proliferation of journals in one academic field
(v)   obsolete journal impact factor and related metrics

Unification of peer review also provides a solid basis to solve more complex problems like

(vi)   library cataloguing problems
(vii)   loss of research knowledge
(viii)   continental delineation
(ix)   language barrier in scholarly publishing
(x)   access and barriers to access

User and manuscript workflow diagram for the Unified Concept

Calling publishers

Unified Scholars Platform is a two way web platform that allows "scholars to submit and peer review their manuscripts" on the one hand, and allows "publishers to download accepted manuscripts" on the other hand. We describe it as a central field platform where scholars, manuscripts and publishers meet online; with each party doing their jobs digitally yet independently of the other. As an open web service, it is neither controlled by scholars nor publishers, which appropriately ensures some balance of power.

Just as we welcome scholars to submit papers and enrol as editors/peer reviewers; we also welcome big and small, established or new publishers to partner with us in the publication of our journals. Just like scholars, publishers would also have to register on the platform to take advantage of its capabilities, to publish journals under the soon to be launched "Unified Journals" brand. Detailed information and guidance for publishers are available on the Publishers dashboard which is accessible after registration and acceptance of our Publishing Terms.

We have put together a robust package for the publishers who are willing to partner with us, including payment for each paper published and percentage cuts in several other areas. Kindly get in touch with us for a discussion on this.