Predatory journal publishing in India is gaining more ground, legitimacy, and credibility. The CEO of OMICS Group, a “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journal publisher, has signed an MoU with the Uttar Pradesh government to establish a centre to translate papers published in their journals to Indian languages.
Brace, brace, brace. Predatory journal publishing in India is gaining more ground, legitimacy and credibility and is no way going to disappear anytime in the foreseeable future. Very soon, papers published in predatory journals will pollute the scientific literature in several Indian languages too.
Srinubabu Gedela, Chief Executive Officer of the Hyderabad-based OMICS Group, which publishes over 700 journals, is expanding his empire and now has the blessings of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The OMICS Group was included in Jeffrey Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers. Beall is a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver who maintained a list of predatory journal publishers and predatory journals. The list is no longer available.
A couple of days ago, Gedela signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Uttar Pradesh to establish a 1,000-seat facility at Noida, near New Delhi to translate papers published in his journals to Indian languages.
It has got nothing to do with who would gain or what benefit would accrue by this exercise of translating papers published in predatory journals to Indian languages. This is a simple but calculated step to gain legitimacy for a fraudulent practice. Now, University Grants Commission (UGC) will never ever think of pulling the plug on OMICS, if at all. At least, till this government is in power for whatever time. Period.
The Pulsus Group, the 30-year-old Canadian Health Informatics Company that Gedela acquired in 2016, already has centres in Hyderabad and Chennai, and will be opening its Gurgaon centre in a few weeks. The Pulsus group publishes about 50 journals. And much like the journals published by OMICS group, the ones published by Pulsus Group too look suspect. More on this later.
To begin with, the Pulsus centre at Noida will focus on translating journal papers to Hindi. He claims that his company has been translating the scientific literature to foreign languages including Russian, Chinese, Japanese.
“Currently we are focussing on translation of scientific and healthcare information to Indian languages mainly Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Gujarati and Bengali with other languages to follow,” says Gedela. “As per recent analysis, 75% of Indians will use regional languages for information and search, and the translated healthcare information will be useful to all Indians.”
Pulsus Group journals
Nowhere on the Pulsus group homepage is it mentioned if the 50-odd journals are Open Access or behind a paywall. It is only on clicking individual journals does one get to know if the journal is Open Access or not. While some journals are clearly marked as Open Access, there is nothing mentioned for the rest. So I assume they are subscription journals.
“Very few journals are subscription-based. Almost all journals in Pulsus are Open Access. As [done by] previous publisher and societies, we are maintaining very few as subscription journals,” says Gedela in an email to me. That probably explains why the services dropdown menu details about reprints, confirming that at least some journals are behind a paywall.
“Single reprints may be obtained from the author. Reprints in quantity must be purchased from Pulsus Group. Reprints may not be purchased without the author’s permission,” it notes. It is not clear who holds the copyrights for paper published in their Open Access journals.
Besides Index Copernicus and Google Scholar, which are default indexing platforms mentioned by most predatory journals, the homepage of Pulsus lists Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as one of the indexing platforms. However, of the 50-odd journals listed on the homepage, only the International Journal of Anatomical Variations is listed in the DOAJ directory.
Most of the journals listed on the homepage have been started very recently with just a few issues published, and have four-five papers at the most per issue. “Some of the journals were started recently,” he says.
Like any predatory journal homepage, the Pulsus Group too has conferences listed on the main menu.
Conducting workshops, symposia and exhibitions on novel drugs and therapeutic applications, and oral, poster and e-video presentations are some of the activities listed under conferences. And there is long list of countries where conferences are held and the subjects for which conferences are held. “Pulsus conducts 500+ global meetings per year across the world. These meetings enables physicians and industry professionals [to]come together and make conclusive steps towards advanced therapeutics and treatment aspects (sic),” the website claims.
Article processing charge
While there is no mention of article processing charges levied by any of the journals listed on the website, there is detailed information about advertising rates and description, which has been produced by the original publisher. There is also an email address and advertisement policies for each journal for pharmaceutical companies planning to advertise in the journals.
Likewise, a few journals have listed imaginary or fake Impact Factor. The Impact Factor has been arrived at by “dividing the number of articles published in 2014 and 2015 with the number of times they are cited in 2016 based on Google search and the Scholar Citation Index database”.
In a preliminary injunction in November 2017, a U.S. federal court had ordered the OMICS group to remove all misleading claims from its websites. The Court had clearly prohibited OMICS group from “falsely representing that their journals engage in peer review, that their journals are included in any academic journal indexing service, or any measurement of the extent to which their journals are cited. It also requires that the defendants clearly and conspicuously disclose all costs associated with submitting or publishing articles in their journals”.
Clearly, the journals published by the Pulsus Group too make many of the misleading claims that the U.S. Court wanted OMICS to remove.
UPDATE – February 26, 2018:
Following the publication of this post, DOAJ has removed the journal International Journal of Anatomical Variations from its list. This would mean that not one of the 50-odd journals published by Pulsus Group is indexed in DOAJ.