Monday, October 23, 2017

Journal Publishers Attack ResearchGate

Although ResearchGate is not a journal publisher, and hence not within the usual scope of this blog, it does send a lot of spam to induce authors to post reprints or verify their authorship of previously published articles. It also sends a ton of poorly matched job announcements, but these are balanced to some extent by some useful notices of new papers citing one's work.

Apparently, ResearchGate has been quite successful in amassing a digital depository of publications. A Science news article of October 6, 2017, reports that
Scholarly publishing giants Elsevier and the American Chemical Society (ACS) have filed a lawsuit in Germany against ResearchGate, a popular academic networking site, alleging copyright infringement on a mass scale. The move comes after a larger group of publishers became dissatisfied with ResearchGate’s response to a request to alter its article-sharing practices.

ResearchGate, a for-profit firm based in Berlin that was founded in 2008, is one of the largest social networking sites aimed at the academic community. It claims more than 13 million users, who can use their personal pages to upload and share a wide range of material, including published papers, book chapters, and meeting presentations. Science funders and investors have put substantial funds into the firm; it has raised more than $87 million from the Wellcome Trust charity, Goldman Sachs, and Bill Gates personally.
An article in the news section of Nature provides more background on the publishers' concerns.

OMICS Journal of Forensic Psychology: "It is merely an extrasensory perception"

OMICS has long been criticized for aggressively and deceptively promoting conferences and journals of dubious quality. In 2012, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that although OMICS began publishing in 2008, "only about 60 percent of [its 200] journals have actually published anything."  In that year, NIH informed OMICS that PubMed Central would not accept any OMICS Publishing Group journals because the "[National Library of Medicine's] selection group has raised serious concerns about the publishing practices of your organization." A letter demanded "that you cease and desist from employing our name or the name of any of our agencies institutes or employees on your website for other than true factual statements."

The Journal of Forensic Psychology (visited 10/23/17) "publishes a wide range of article in this discipline covering all modern trends in ... Legal Psychology, Organizational Psychology, ... Paranormal activity, ... and creates a platform for the authors to contribute towards the journal. ... The editorial office promises to peer review the submitted manuscripts and ensures quality." Such quality comes from review that takes no more than two weeks and publication days later.

The website's page on paranormal activity is definitely beyond the normal. It explains that
The paranormal Activity refers to as the beyond the range of normal experience of or pertaining to the events or perceptions occurring without any scientific explanation. It is merely an extrasensory perception. It is used to describe a variety of activity and phenomenon. It is also referred to as the phenomenon that in one or more prospects exceeds the limit of what is physically impossible according to scientific assumptions.
The page lists "Expert PPTs" and "Speaker PPTs" on topics ranging from "Development of a new predisposition SNP-panel focused on customized dite and physical activity setting" to "Emotional reactivity."

The journal has no editor-in-chief -- at least, the link ro that position leads to a blank page. The US members of the editorial board are said to be
Scott A. Johnson, American College of Forensic Examiners International
Jonathan K. Appel, Professor, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Tiffin University
Gordon Arthur Crews, Tiffin University
Sheila Jane Foley, Assistant Professor, Bay Path University Longmeadow
Bryanna Hahn Fox, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, University of South Florida
Christophe Le Dantec, Assistant Professor in Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Psychology , La Sierra University
Robert A. Leark, Professor, Alliant International University
Gordon E. Taub, Licensed Psychologist, Licensed School Psychologist, University of Central Florida
Clicking on the word "biography next to the names pops open a bubble that says "biography."And the email even has a "disclaimer" cautioning against relying on its content.
Email
  • From: Journal of Forensic Psychology
    Sent: Octolber 23, 2017, 5:44 AM

    Subject: Forensic Psychology Research Submission

    Dear Dr David H. Kaye,

    Greetings!
    “Journal of Forensic Psychology” (ISSN: 2475-319X) aims to provide an Open Access platform for the researchers to share their expert knowledge in basic, clinical and applied studies related to Forensic Psychology. We have chosen selective scientists who have contributed excellent work in related field, your contribution help us release best quality articles.
    As we celebrate Open access week from October 23-29.
    Considerable Discount will be given on the publication fee for articles submitted in between this stipulated period (October). ... Article submitted on or before 31 October, 2017 will be highly appreciated.Submit your manuscript by e-mail at editor.jfps@omicsonline.org Or forensicpsy@neurologyinsights.org ... If it is not feasible for you to submit paper in this month, then kindly let us know your feasible time for contribution for further issue submissions. ... Hope to receive a positive reply and submission.
    With kind regards,
    Ahamed Bilal M,Journal Editor and Coordinator,Journal of Forensic Psychology,Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX, Fax: +1-650-618-1414, Phone: +44-2035-1423-46/ +1-650-268-9744, Phone: +1-702-714-7001(ext: 9040)
    Disclaimer:
    This message is confidential. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you have received it by mistake, please let us know by e-mail reply and delete it from your system; you may not copy this message or disclose its contents to anyone. The views, opinions, conclusions and other information’s expressed in this electronic mail are not given or endorsed by the company unless otherwise indicated by an authorized representative independent of this message.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Crimson Publishers and Purple Prose: "what you read here could change life, as we know it"

You've got to love 'em. They are active
♥ keep[ing] the knowledge flowing
♥ ensuring the quality by reputed editors
♥ striv[ing] towards betterment of societal conditions benefitting global humanity
♥ nurturing the essential temper
♥ chang[ing] life, as we know it..
They do all this from the peculiar address of "Third Avenue, 2nd floor, New York - 10016, USA." (The website may be referring to 600 Third Ave, which houses "virtual offices and addresses.") Their domain, crimsonpublishers.com, is registered to Perfect Privacy, LLC," a Florida company.

The journal that spammed me -- based on my "innovative profile which would apt to our Journal proficiency" -- is named Forensic Science & Addiction Research. It "aims to showcase advanced research in the field of forensic science, addiction research and other related areas."Apparently,  "related" is construed liberally. The "latest articles" have such titles as "Effect of Strength Training on Physical Variable of College Men Cricket Players," "Lack of Job Satisfaction Among Nurses," and (my favorite) "Pedagogy Integrated with Information Technology to Promote Its Effectiveness Should be Keen on Humanities." The US members of the editorial board are said to be
Richard H Martin, Mercer University
David P Keys, New Mexico State University
Robert L Clegg, California Health Sciences University
Ronn Johnson, Creighton University
Alireza Heidari, California Southern University

From: Forensic Science & Addiction Research
Date: 10/17/17
Subject: Intervention in Review
Dear Dr. David H Kaye, Good Morning! Your time is my preference to confer about our Journal’s concern. While I was in process of framing the review panel, I found your innovative profile which would apt to our Journal proficiency, so I request you to be a part of our Forensic Science & Addiction Research. I am confident that your association with us will be an asset to our Journal. If you wish to fulfill our journal requirements, Drop your CV, Short biography and recent photograph at addiction@crimsonpublishers.com. Hope you won’t disappoint us. Kindly acknowledge to this email for further queries.
Best Regards, Christina Fern

Friday, October 6, 2017

Scientific Federation Wants You To "avail this opportunity to share your scientific excellences"

Scientific Federation is "taking the step to transform the technology" that is "now-a-days ... growing in rapid way in all aspects of medical, physics, clinical and pharma." How? Primarily through "proficient and international scientific conferences worldwide with associating the world class researchers." 1/ Operating out of Hyderabad (judging by the domain registration), however, this "abode for researchers" also publishes some journals. Or perhaps I should say "purports to publish." Clicking on the "archives" button of the Scientific Federation Journal of Intellectual Property Rights produced no articles (10/6/17). What, then, is the 33-member editorial board -- with no editor-in-chief -- doing? 2/
Email
  • From: SciFed Journal of Intellectual Property Rights
    Sent: 10/6/17, 10/20/17
    Subject: Reminder : SciFed Intellectual Property Rights-Call for Papers
    Dear Dr. David H Kaye,
    Greetings from SciFed. Recognizing your very busy schedule, As we haven't received your response yet, We are sending you this note as a reminder to remind you that, We SciFed Journal of Intellectual Property Rights invites you to submit a paper in the area of your research, academic or professional interest related to any of the topics included in the Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.
    Kindly avail this opportunity to share your scientific excellences and be a part of our esteemed organization. Would you please have your assistant drop us a note. If you require further information. We are sincerely looking forward to receiving your acceptance.
    Best Regards, John Anthony, Assistant Scientific Editor, SciFed Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Scientific Federation, editorial.sjipr@scifed.com, http://scifed.com/journal-of-intellectual-property-rights/, T: +44-20-3477-8009
NOTES
  1. For more on Scientific Federation's conference business, see http://flakyc.blogspot.com/2017/01/scientific-federation-sf.html and http://flakyc.blogspot.com/2017/04/greetings-from-forensic-science.html
  2. The U.S. members are said to be
    ⊗ Brij Mohan, Louisiana State University
    ⊗ James A Mitchell, California State University
    ⊗ Paul Brace, Rice University
    ⊗ Khaled Abou El Fadl, University of California Los Angeles
    ⊗ Ann Bartow, University of New Hampshire
    ⊗ Malinda Wilson G, Alabama A&M University
    ⊗ Jeff D Dailey, Angelo State University
    ⊗ Xuebing Yang, Penn State Altoona
    ⊗ Jon R Cavicchi, University of New Hampshire School of Law
    ⊗ Steven D Roper, Florida Atlantic University

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lambert Academic Journals: OmniScriptum, OmniWaste

Lambert Academic Publishers (LAP) is "an imprint of OmniScriptum." It seeks to publish as many of the "invaluable" "5,000,000 theses [that] are written worldwide in the research industry" that it can get its hands on. According to an article in Slate, with the aid of Amazon.com, it also sells collections of Wikipedia articles as its own books. For additional adverse reports, see
⊡ Warning from Bond University Library about "Your Thesis and the Predatory Publisher"
⊡ Blog reporting use of stock photos as pictures of editors
⊡ Same blogger claiming LAP is "a company based in Mauritius and Eastern Europe" rather than Germany, as advertised
Email
  • From: Dyviah Ramnatsing [d.ramnatsing@lap-publishing.com]
    Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2017, 6:09:35 AM EDT
    Re: Inquiry regarding Kaye D’s work at the Penn State University
    Dear Kaye D,
    I wanted to confirm if you received my previous email about the free-of-charge publishing of your work « KINSHIP MATCHING WITH DNA DATABASES (AKA “FAMILIAL SEARCHING”): LEGAL AND ETHICAL ARGUMENTS » [an obscure 2011 talk that never was reduced to writing]. Just in case you need additional information to decide – here is an overview of what we do and who our authors are - http://brochure.omniscriptum.com/info-lap/0537275001445433253. Please give me a short feedback if you are interested in getting your work published. We would surely be sad to see your work's full potential go un-explored, and you would give us a hard time finding something similar in your field of research, so please take a moment to consider before blindly saying no. Thank you in advance!
    Sincere regards, Dyviah Ramnatsing, Editor
  • From: Dyviah Ramnatsing [d.ramnatsing@lap-publishing.com]
    Sent: Oct 7 at 6:08 AM
    Dear Kaye D,
    I hope you are doing well! I wanted to ask if you had a look at our brochure? If you have some questions (and I am sure you do because publishing your work is a major achievement), let me know if we can arrange a phone call to discuss further. If publishing your work is not interesting for you, just drop me a short reply.
    Sincere regards, Dyviah Ramnatsing, Editor
    LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing is managed by: OmniScriptum AraPers GmbH, Haroldstraße 14, D-40217 Düsseldorf, Germany, Managing Directors: Dr. Wolfgang Philipp Müller, Toufic El Hajji, Benoit Nove

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Cambridge Scholars Publishing's putative link to Cambridge is that it was "Founded by former lecturers and researchers from the University of Cambridge." According to the website's description of the 67 advisory board members (9/2/17), exactly one has a current or former connection to the University of Cambridge. (Terri Apter is a Fellow Emerita of Newman College.) The mailing address is in Newcastle, not Cambridge.

The website states that "We ... do not require any fees be paid to us for publication purposes." Hence, characterizing the business as predatory -- it was on Beall's list of possible predators -- would seems extreme. The quality of the books is debated at Political Science Rumors. A few respondents comment (mostly adversely) on what they have read.

The journals do not look stellar. No editorial boards are listed, although the "editorial advisors" may serve that function. "The International Journal of American Studies is a peer reviewed journal to be launched in spring/summer 2013 ... All manuscripts should be sent electronically to: Irakli Tskhvediani (iraklitskhvediani@yahoo.com; jdpag2012@yahoo.com) by the 30th of April, 2013." The journal is said to be "supported by" the US Embassy in Georgia.This seems to mean that "In 2012 US Department of State and Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia granted him a Federal Assistance Award to set up the publication of a peer-reviewed journal of American Studies." Five years later, the journal is still "awaiting book cover" and has no content.
Email
From: Adam Rummens (adam.rummens@cambridgescholars.com)
Sent: Aug 31 at 9:03 AM
Subject: Decision Science Books
Dear Dr. Kaye,
Firstly, please excuse this unsolicited email. I’m sure that like me you receive too many as it is and so I’ll keep it brief. I was recently appointed as Commissioning Researcher for Cambridge Scholars Publishing (see below) with a brief to expand the subject areas in which we publish books. As such I am in the process of developing collections within the decision sciences. As I believe you already have some experience of academic and scientific writing, I wondered whether you would consider us as your publisher should you decide to put ‘pen to paper’ and write a book at some point in the future?
We are also developing Editorial Advisory Groups to help ensure that we only publish high quality texts. If this is something that you would like to learn more about, please do let me know.
As I promised, I have kept this message short, but would be delighted to talk or correspond more if you feel you would like to explore possibilities.
Kind regards, Adam Rummens, Commissioning Researcher
About Cambridge Scholars Publishing (www.cambridgescholars.com):
Cambridge Scholars Publishing (CSP) is an independent academic publisher, founded in 2001 by former lecturers and researchers from the University of Cambridge who felt existing publishing companies took too long to publish academic books, monographs, conference proceedings and textbooks.
CSP has its own printing facility, now publishes 750+ titles each year in both electronic and print formats and is committed to providing a forward-thinking publishing service that champions original thinking, whilst ensuring we put our authors at the heart of everything we do. Our back list catalogue contains approximately 7,500 titles.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd is registered in England. Reg. No: 4333775; VAT No: 108280727
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this message do not necessarily represent those of Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd. The contents of this message are intended for the addressee only. They are confidential and may contain private information. Cambridge Scholars Publishing is not responsible for any damages resulting from the unauthorised use, forwarding or disclosure of this message, and will not be held liable for damages or loss caused by any viruses.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Are Drug Companies Supporting Predatory Journals and Conferences?

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek,,August 29, 2017, and reprinted in the September 4, 2017, issue of Bloomberg BNA’s Expert Evidence Report (a resource for lawyers) includes a detailed exposé of the pharmaceutical industry’s participation in flaky medical journals and conferences. It focuses on OMICS International, which threatened a librarian who called it “predatory,” with a billion dollar lawsuit. (An example of the articles OMICS publishes is here.) Excerpts from the BNA report follow, but the article is worth reading in full.
... Omics [claims] 1,000 open-access journal titles that post 50,000 articles annually in fields including medicine, technology, and engineering. It has also built a robust conference division that will hold about 3,000 events worldwide this year. ... Professors and researchers have identified [its CEO and founder, Srinubabu] Gedela as the progenitor of a fraudulent empire that's eroding public trust in scientific inquiry. He denies it all, continuing to extend his global reach from Hyderabad. And he has received help from an unexpected source: the pharmaceutical industry, which regularly publishes in the company's journals and attends its conferences, bringing Omics both credibility and the funds to grow.

... The National Institutes of Health ... banned Omic's journals from indexing in PubMed Central, one of the world's primary databases for medical research, given “serious concerns” about its practices. In 2013, HHS accused Omics of trademark infringement and using the names of employees at the NIH and PubMed Central “in an erroneous and/or misleading manner.” ...
According to financial documents filed with the Indian government, Omics's fiscal 2016 revenue was $11.6 million and profit about $1.2 million. ...

The online journals featured on the Omics home page are rife with grammar glitches and low-resolution headshots. Despite such obvious red flags, Bloomberg Businessweek found that researchers at major pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, and Merck, submit to Omics journals and participate in their conferences. Pfizer, the biggest U.S. drugmaker, has published at least 23 articles since 2011, including two since the FTC's lawsuit [accusing OMICS of fraud].

Pfizer wouldn't respond to study-specific questions and declined interview requests. “Our priority is to publish Pfizer-sponsored clinical research in a transparent, accurate, and fair manner,” spokesman Steven Danehy wrote in an email. “We are concerned by the allegations brought forward by the FTC and await the outcome of the investigation.”

AstraZeneca Plc, the second-biggest drugmaker in the U.S., has published at least five articles in Omics journals since 2011 ... When contacted by Bloomberg Businessweek, spokeswoman Abigail Bozarth said AstraZeneca has asked staff to no longer publish in “identified predatory journals,” yet declined to say when that policy change was made. ...

Drugmakers have fueled Omics's rise by also sponsoring and attending conferences, which Gedela says generate 60 percent of Omics's revenue. In a meeting room at the company, photographs taken at conferences, beginning in 2010, show the names of Novartis, Axis Clinicals, and Agilent Technologies as sponsors on screens behind speakers. Drugmaker employees often lead workshops at the events ... Agilent, Axis, and Merck didn't respond to requests for comment. Eli Lilly declined to discuss its involvement with the conferences. Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff declined to comment specifically on Omics, saying his company reviews quality of agenda and “legitimacy of the organization” when conferences seek its sponsorship. GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne says the company allows authors to pick their own journals, though in-house experts suggest reputable publications when asked. Omics conferences “were not on our radar as problematic,” she says, adding: “It's not always easy to spot questionable outlets. Staff training in this area is ongoing.”
Any claim that it is not easy to spot OMICS conferences as “problematic” is preposterous. Five minutes of Googling would do it. Any suggestion that these companies need to await the outcome of an FTC complaint to determine that OMICS (or other publications) are not appropriate venues for publishing their research is silly. The websites of (and the spam from) many of these journals give lip service to peer review and quality editing, but they are filled with obvious warning signs that belie these protestations.


Of course, big pharma is hardly the only source of revenue for OMICS, BIT Group Global, and the flotilla of other flaky publishers and conference organizers. Universities need policies that discourage their faculty from padding CVs with membership on the editorial boards of certain journals; from resorting to publishing in these journals; and from dallying in Dalian.