US court issues injunction against OMICS to stop “deceptive practices”

A US government agency has won an initial court ruling against OMICS, which the government says will help stop the academic publisher’s deceptive business practices.

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it won a preliminary injunction in September in its lawsuit against Srinubabu Gedela, CEO of OMICS Group and other companies.

The lawsuit, filed in August 2016, accused the defendants — which include Gedela and OMICS Group, iMedPub, and Conference Series — of deceptive business practices related to journal publishing and scientific conferences. The FTC alleged the defendants used the names of prominent researchers to draw conference attendees, even though the researchers had not agreed to participate; misled readers about whether articles had been peer reviewed; failed to provide authors with transparent information about publishing fees prior to submission; and presented misleading “impact factors” for journals.

On Sept. 29, Judge Gloria Navarro of the US District Court for the District of Nevada, wrote that evidence submitted by the FTC “is sufficient to support a preliminary conclusion that Defendants made misrepresentations regarding their journal publishing” and conferences, and: Continue reading US court issues injunction against OMICS to stop “deceptive practices”

Multiple OMICS journals delisted from major index over concerns

SCOPUS, the publication database maintained by Elsevier, has discontinued nearly 300 journals since 2013, including multiple journals published by OMICS Publishing Group.

Although the reasons the widely used database gives for discontinuing journals often vary, in all cases OMICS journals were removed over “Publication Concerns.”

Here’s what SCOPUS said recently about how it vets journals:

Continue reading Multiple OMICS journals delisted from major index over concerns

Should software companies choose not to work with predatory publishers?

Jake Beal

With so many journals out there, it can be hard to know which ones are legitimate, and which ones have adopted so-called “predatory” practices – publishing anything as long as authors can pay. In this guest post, computer scientist Jacob Beal at BBN Technologies highlights one way he believes software companies may indirectly endorse questionable publishers by working with them– and why they should stop.

If you are a researcher, there’s a pretty good chance that you know Editorial Manager, the manuscript-handling system used by a vast number of journals, including Nature and the PLoS family of journals. In a publishing environment made increasingly murky by so-called “predatory” and other low-quality publishers, it used to be the case that seeing Editorial Manager was a clear signal that a journal was at least legitimate, whatever other pluses or minuses it might have.

Unfortunately, that appears to no longer be the case. Continue reading Should software companies choose not to work with predatory publishers?

Journals pull two papers after blogger shares plagiarism suspicions

Journals have retracted two papers after they were flagged by a pseudonymous blogger, who suspected all had copied text from other sources.

What’s more, a third paper seems to have simply disappeared from the journal’s website, after the blogger, Neuroskeptic, alerted the journal to the text overlap.

Neuroskeptic became suspicious about the three unrelated papers – about food chemistry, heart disease, and the immune system and cancer – after scanning them with plagiarism software. After alerting the journals, two issued formal retractions for the papers – but neither specifies plagiarism as the reason.

The retractions were the result of a larger project, Neuroskeptic told us:

Continue reading Journals pull two papers after blogger shares plagiarism suspicions

What turned a cancer researcher into a literature watchdog?

Jennifer Byrne

Sometime in the middle of 2015, Jennifer Byrne, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Sydney, began her journey from cancer researcher to a scientific literature sleuth, seeking out potentially problematic papers.

The first step was when she noticed several papers that contained a mistake in a DNA construct which, she believed, meant the papers were not testing the gene in question, associated with multiple cancer types.  She started a writing campaign to the journal editors and researchers, with mixed success. But less than two years later, two of the five papers she flagged have already been retracted.

When asked why she spent time away from bench research to examine this issue, Byrne told us:  Continue reading What turned a cancer researcher into a literature watchdog?

For this fake editorial, “merit of artistic writing” was enough for publication

Logo for Intellectual Consortium of Drug Discovery and Technology Development, Inc.

While we are often among the first to chuckle at a good sting of a predatory publisher, there have probably been enough of them by now to have made the point.

And even Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears — whose stings have been among the most hilarious — seems to agree. He didn’t want to spoof another predatory journal by submitting a fake article (his last one was retracted in 2016 after he told the publisher it was a “pile of dung”). But when an invitation came towards the end of November, he just couldn’t help himself.

The invitation was from Intellectual Consortium of Drug Discovery and Technology Development, Inc. — often just called “Consortium” — to be on its editorial board. Too curious to resist, Spears accepted. Then, he was told, he had to write an editorial.

So one night in December, he sat down and wrote something connecting predatory-prey relationships in nature to predatory publishing — calling out the publisher along the way. Spears told us:

Continue reading For this fake editorial, “merit of artistic writing” was enough for publication

Surprise! Paper retracted after author tells journal it’s a “pile of dung”

journal-of-clinical-research-bioethics-logoThis summer, Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears was sitting by a lake on vacation when he opened a spam email from a publisher. Amused to see the sender was a journal focused on bioethics, he got an idea.

I thought, what if I just throw something outrageous at them?

The situation should sound familiar to readers who follow such “sting” operations: Spears submitted a fake paper to the so-called “predatory” journal, it was accepted one month later with no changes, and published.

But after Spears submitted a comment on the paper saying it was “a steaming pile of dung from start to meaningless finish” (which the journal never posted), wrote an article about it (picked up by other outlets, including The Huffington Post Canada) — surprise, surprise! — the paper was retracted.

Most authors don’t celebrate retractions. But Spears told us he felt “sheer triumph:”  Continue reading Surprise! Paper retracted after author tells journal it’s a “pile of dung”

U.S. government agency sues publisher, charging it with deceiving researchers

2000px-US-FederalTradeCommission-Seal.svgThe U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged a publisher of hundreds of academic journals with deceiving readers about reviewing practices, publication fees, and the nature of its editorial boards.

Here’s more from a news release about the suit: Continue reading U.S. government agency sues publisher, charging it with deceiving researchers

Unwitting co-author requests retraction of melatonin paper

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 10.54.58 PMNine years ago, a well-known pharmacologist hosted a researcher from another university in his lab. On a Saturday night last September, he learned while surfing Google Scholar that they had published a paper together.

Marco Cosentino, who works at the University of Insubria in Italy, know that Seema Rai, a zoologist at Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya in India, had collected data during during her six months in his lab, but had warned her they were too preliminary to publish. She published the data — on melatonin’s role in immunity — anyway, last summer in the Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology, listing Cosentino as the second author.

The day after he discovered the paper, Cosentino sent an email to the editor in chief of the journal, Charles Malemud, explaining why he did not approve of the publication:

Continue reading Unwitting co-author requests retraction of melatonin paper

Authors of three retracted PLOS ONE papers to retract four more, with one researcher resigning

ChemosphereThe hits keep coming for a research group at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Chandigarh, India.

Last week, we reported that PLoS ONE was retracting three papers by the research group because “there are no data available underlying this study and thus…the published results are fabricated.” Now, according to The Hindu, four more papers are being retracted:
Continue reading Authors of three retracted PLOS ONE papers to retract four more, with one researcher resigning