OMICS Publishing Group
|Parent company||OMICS Group Inc.|
|Publication types||Open access journals|
|Nonfiction topics||Science, technology, and medicine|
OMICS Publishing Group is a publisher of open access journals in a number of academic fields. It is part of the OMICS Group, based in Hyderabad, India, and issued its first publication in 2008. OMICS provides titles for approximately 250 journals, but many have no content.
Critics of OMICS Publishing Group, including academics and the United States government, have questioned the validity of peer review by OMICS journals, the appropriateness of author fees and marketing, and the apparent advertising of the names of scientists as journal editors or conference speakers without their knowledge or permission. As a result, the U.S. National Institutes of Health no longer accepts OMICS publications for listing in PubMed Central and sent a cease-and-desist letter to OMICS in 2013, demanding that OMICS discontinue false claims of affiliation with U.S. government entities or employees. OMICS has responded to criticisms by avowing a commitment to open access publishing and threatening a prominent critic with a US$1 billion lawsuit.
Organization and history
OMICS is based in Hyderabad, India. The company's director is Srinubabu Gedela. The group started its first open-access journal, the Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics, in 2008. More than 250 journal titles have been added, although The Chronicle of Higher Education noted that many of these have no content.
Criticism of publishing practices
Numerous complaints have been made about the publishing and other practices of the OMICS Publishing Group and its affiliates. The company director has asserted that its activities are legitimate and ethical.
An investigative report by The Chronicle of Higher Education stated that journal articles published by OMICS may undergo little or no peer review. It was also suggested that OMICS provides lists of scientists as journal editors to create the impression of familiarity or scientific legitimacy, even though these are editors in name only and are not involved in the review or editing process. An editor-in-chief who was contacted by Science stated that he had never handled any papers; in an interview with The Hindu, another said he had not been informed of his purported editorship. The company has been slow to remove the names of editorial board members who requested to terminate their relationship with OMICS activities.
Some observers have described the publisher as "predatory", insofar as authors who have submitted papers have been sent invoices after their manuscripts were accepted for publication despite the lack of a robust peer-review process. Charges may be as high as US$3600. One author received an invoice for US$2700 after her paper was accepted; this fee was not mentioned in the email message OMICS sent her to solicit a submission. These observations have led critics to assert that the main purpose of the publisher is commercial rather than academic.
Other criticisms of OMICS include the publication of pseudoscientific articles, deceptive marketing practices, targeting of young investigators or those in lower income regions, and the advertising of academic or government scientists as speakers or organizers for OMICS conferences without their agreement.
The director and founder of OMICS, Srinubabu Gedela, responded to these criticisms by stating that his organization wishes to expand access to scientific knowledge and has 20,000 editorial board members and 500 employees.
Action by U.S. government
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) sent a cease-and-desist letter to OMICS in April, 2013, alleging trademark violations by OMICS. In the letter, a senior attorney stated that OMICS had used "the name of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), its Institutes, PubMed Central, or the names of NIH employees in an erroneous and/or misleading manner" and demanding an end to these activities. The letter included additional allegations, including the example of a statement that was attributed to an employee of NIH. DHHS also referred the matter of OMICS trade practices to the Federal Trade Commission. Interviewed by Science, OMICS responded by providing a scan of a handwritten note that was purportedly written by the NIH employee. The employee suggested that his name was being misused.
The NIH letter also referred to a 2012 decision by the National Library of Medicine not to list OMICS Publishing Group journals in PubMed Central. This decision was attributed to "serious concerns about the publishing practices" of the company.
In 2013, acting through IP Markets, an Indian firm that enforces intellectual property rights, OMICS Publishing Group threatened legal action against Jeffrey Beall, an American librarian. Beall is a prominent critic of what he and others have termed "predatory publishing", which Beall sees as a corruption of open access publishing, and he maintains the blog Scholarly Open Access and an online list of predatory academic publishers, "Beall's List". IP Markets stated that OMICS was seeking US$1 billion in damages under the provisions of India's Information Technology Act 2000. The threat was contained in a letter received by Beall on May 14, 2013. According to a lawyer for IP Markets, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act makes it illegal to use a computer to publish "any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character" or to publish false information. Three years in prison was mentioned as a possible penalty, although a U.S. lawyer described the threats as a "publicity stunt" that was meant to "intimidate". An editorial in the New Delhi-based India Today cited the incident as evidence that Section 66A should be discarded to eliminate its use in "stifling political dissent, crushing speech and ... enabling bullying".
- "OMICS Publishing Group :: Contact". Omicsonline.org. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
- Simpson, Richard J. (April 2008). "Editorial". Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics 1 (1): i–ii. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Jake New (May 15, 2013). "Publisher Threatens to Sue Blogger for $1-Billion". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Gina Kolata, "Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)", New York Times, 8 April 2013
- Stratford, Michael (2012-03-04). "'Predatory' Online Journals Lure Scholars Who Are Eager to Publish". Chronicle.com. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- "The Charleston Advisor Update: Predatory Open-Access Scholarly Publishers". Charleston.publisher.ingentaconnect.com. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- Declan Butler, "Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing", Nature, 27 March 2013
- Jocelyn Kaiser, "ScienceInsider: U.S. Government Accuses Open Access Publisher of Trademark Infringement", Science, 09 May 2013
- "On the Net, a scam of a most scholarly kind" The Hindu, 26 September 2012.
- "Pharma Body meeting". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 22 Oct 2013.
- "Science Magazine Conducts Sting Operation on OA Publishers".
- Bohannon, J. (2013). "Who's Afraid of Peer Review?". Science 342 (6154): 60–65. doi:10.1126/science.342.6154.60. PMID 24092725.
- "DHHS Cease-and-Desist Letter to OMICS"
- "Email sent from an NIH staffer"
- "Predatory publishers are corrupting open access" Nature, 12 September 2012.
- Scholarly Open Access blog
- Beall's List
- Rohan Venkataramakrishnan (2013-05-19). "Send Section 66A bullies home". India Today. Retrieved 2013-05-19.