The Hyderabad-based “predatory journal” publisher OMICS International’s venture to translate papers to a few Indian languages will not be restricted to OMICS and Pulsus Group of journals it owns. Plan is to translate all Open Access papers to Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam.
Less than a month after Srinubabu Gedela, CEO of the Hyderabad-based OMICS International, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Uttar Pradesh government to establish a centre in Noida to make their journal papers available in Indian languages, on March 9, a second centre was inaugurated in Chennai by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu.
Jeffrey Beal of Colorado University had labelled OMICS International as a “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journal publisher. Gedela had acquired the Canadian-based Pulsus Group. The Pulsus group has both subscription and Open Access journals, but not a single Open Access journal published by Pulsus is indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
The two centres in Noida and Chennai will be translating research papers from English to a few Indian languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Telugu and Malayalam. These centres will not restrict themselves to translating papers published in OMICS and Pulsus Group of journals.
“[The centre will translate papers published] primarily in all open access journals. We would like to translate all major scientific and healthcare open access journal articles to Indian regional languages,” says Gedela in an email to me. “These include most of the open access journals published under Creative Commons. The centre will also translate scientific information presented by the scientific experts in our over 3,000 conferences conducted in over 40 countries.”
To this end, Gedela intends to recruit over 500 people with M.Pharm, M.Sc, M.Tech and PhD qualifications for the Chennai facility alone.
To my pointed question whether people are equipped to translate scientific papers to Indian languages he says: “We have to build capabilities for translating scientific papers to different Indian languages. [We will] begin with Hindu, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu.”
He then adds: “Availability of scientific and healthcare information in Indian languages is essential to empower Indian economy. It will enable healthcare and scientific updates to reach the remotest corners of the country. The translated information will [help] rural Indians to get news updates in agriculture and healthcare in their preferred languages. As you know 75% of Indians will use local language to browse and search by 2020-21 as per TIMES survey.”
There will be challenges in translating scientific papers to Indian languages and the usefulness of this exercise is debatable too. But the most worrying prospect is the idea of translating papers published in predatory journals to Indian languages. After polluting the English scientific literature with junk published in predatory journals, this exercise will now do similar harm to Indian language scientific literature, if that exists already.
By planning to translate papers published in reputable Open Access journals to Indian languages and not just those published in OMICS and Pulusus Group of journals, is Gedela effectively blunting any opposition to this whole journal paper translation exercise? Or it to a ruse to gain credibility while achieving the main objective of translating papers published in his “predatory” journals?