Monday, December 19, 2011

The Open Access Interviews: OMICS Publishing Group’s Srinu Babu Gedela

In an article published in The Charleston Advisor in July 2010, Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, described OMICS Publishing Group as a predatory Open Access publisher. “Having a large number of titles, as does the OMICS Publishing Group, is typical of predatory Open-Access publishers,” he wrote. “Also typical is each journal's broad coverage. By offering 68 titles each with a broad coverage, this publisher is tacitly saying it will publish anything.” 
Srinu Babu Gedela

Is Beall’s characterisation of OMICS fair? Founder and managing director of OMICS Dr Srinu Babu Gedela insists it is not. “We believe the peer review process is very important … I am confident about the quality of the review process used in OMICS’ journals.”

Nevertheless, OMICS has published at least one article that even OMICS itself accepts should never have appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.

There have also been complaints that OMICS clones the names of other publishers’ journals, and on one occasion copied text verbatim from a competitor’s web site. This too Gedela denies. These incidents, he insists, were simply mistakes, and OMICS corrected the situation as soon as the problem was drawn to its attention.

A further complaint is that the publisher has been bombarding researchers with email invitations to join editorial boards, submit papers to its journals (of which there are now 200), and attend conferences. OMICS does not deny that it uses bulk email services. Nor does it plan to stop doing so. Indeed, Gedela implies, these activities are likely to increase in line with the growth of its business. “As we plan to organise 50 conferences in 2012, we will be mailing invitations to researchers frequently.”

OMICS is just one of a growing number of controversial OA publishers: Beall’s list of “predatory” publishers has now reached 28, and continues to grow. But while many researchers are quick to complain about the activities of these publishers, should not the research community accept some responsibility for the current excesses of the OA Gold Rush

After all, OMICS says that it has now recruited 20,000 researchers to its editorial boards, and we can assume the other OA publishers are proving equally successful. This suggests that for every researcher decrying the activities of these publishers others are facilitating them. Are the latter not concerned that they are conspiring in the email bombardment of their colleagues? Do they not care that some of the journals on whose editorial boards they sit appear to be publishing papers that have had inadequate or no peer review? Are they not worried that some of these publishers may be engaging in dubious business practices?

So what is the background to the complaints levelled against OMICS Publishing Group, what are the details of those complaints, and how exactly does the company respond to them? Read the attached PDF file to find out ...

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If you wish to read the rest of this introduction, and the interview with Srinu Babu Gedela, please click on the relevant link below. 

I am publishing the interview under a Creative Commons licence, so you are free to copy and distribute it as you wish, so long as you credit me as the author, do not alter or transform the text, and do not use it for any commercial purpose. 

To read the interview (as a PDF file) click HERE.

PLEASE NOTE: Normally when I publish an interview I place the introduction before the interview. On the grounds that my introduction for this interview is longer than the interview itself, Srinu Babu Gedela requested that I publish the introduction after the interview, rather than before it. As a compromise solution, I have produced two versions of the text, one with the introduction at the end, and one with the introduction at the beginning. Readers can therefore choose which version they want to read. The link above goes to the version with the introduction before the interview. Those preferring the version with the introduction after the interview can access it here.