Saturday, March 16, 2013

OMICS Publishing - pseudo-academia? predatory?

Is the Hyderabad based OMICS publishing group a pseudo-academic and predatory organisation?  I have done a little bit of digging around and have made up my own mind. I am interested to know what you think.

The Spam into my inbox from the OMICS publishing group seems to becoming a tidal wave.  So far I have had 5 emails this month about some conference or journal associated with OMICS and we are barely half way through the month - I have heard of some academics who are getting them on a daily basis so I count myself lucky.  I had not placed emails from the automatic send to junk email because they actually did have one, yes just one, journal that might be of interest but now I do not care, it is all going to go the junk folder.  That journal is called Medical and Surgical Urology and having looked at what they have published, I would never have given them a recommendation for publication if I was the manuscript reviewer - if you are a urologist, have a look for yourself and you can see why publication there would not be positive for your cv - well that's my opinion on it!

The company creates a front of respectability and sends you a ‘personalised’ email with your name cut and pasted in the appropriate sections and starts with a sweetener as to how you are an eminent person in your field.  You are then invited to submit a paper to one of their many junk journals or to submit an abstract for consideration at one of their conferences.  Of course you have to pay to have this privilege.  Apart from repeatedly sending you emails, the problem is that almost all of these conferences have absolutely nothing to do with your field of interest.

The only problem is that they are getting smart and now sending many of these requests using gmail accounts to avoid them going straight to spam folders - some of the emails have no reference to OMICS until you check out the links.

Problem is that as a urologist, I have no expertise in immunology as per request above and below, I have nothing to do with analytical pharmacy.  These are a few examples of numerous such requests all received just recently.

The company OMICS is a professionally run predatory publishing company from India.  Often addresses and telephone number contacts are in the USA to hide this fact.  Often, but not always, the names of academics they use to be the face of their conference or journals are those who have little if at all any academic presence in their fields.  The more you dig, the more that you find that you do not like about OMICS. The most comprehensive discussion on OMICS is on Richard Poynder's blog site  – it describes many of the frustrations contributors have had with the company.

Another interesting article on predatory publishing by OMICS is at the following link and is worth a read.

OMICS will continue to 'prosper' because unwitting researchers continue to respond to their email spam and they must be making money.  If you email enough people, somebody is going to contribute to their income stream whether it be by manuscript publication fees or conference attendance (your paper or abstract will be accepted - if anybody has ever had one rejected, now that would be too embarrassing to admit)

My personal thoughts on this company are

1. do not fall for the opening 'pick up lines' of how are eminent you are in your field
2. do not submit a manuscript to any of their journals
3. do not accept an editorial board position - you are giving them credibility and put your reputation on the line
4. do not submit an abstract to attend their conferences
5. do not perform peer review of articles for them
6. direct their emails to your junk folder

I am not against open access publishing and in fact support it.  I have in fact published in two manuscripts in open access pubmed indexed journals by choice.

On a moderated forum specifically discussing OMICS, it is interesting to see that the reputation of this publishing machine is under question with comments such as :-

"I'd trash the cv of anyone who had an OMICS publication”
“The only thing to do with OMICS is avoid, avoid, avoid.”

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