Where is Jeffrey Beall when we so desperately need him?
I saw a tip in an article that Google Scholar provided Journal Reports that would be useful in evaluating where to send a manuscript. So I undertook a Google search and the autofill suggested “google scholar journal citation reports” and so I accepted it. The top item was inviting and sounded impressive:
I I I was distracted by the prominence of this recommendation in the Google search and the large numbers from noticing that it was on top because it was being promoted [Green “Ad” box]. When I opened the link, things at first looked even more impressive:
But the numbers were again too big and the sweep of coverage too great not arouse suspicion.
So I clicked on the “Home” button. I was led to an all-too-familiar site:
I recall that the recently disabled Bealls Predatory Open Access Publishers List had lots to say about this publisher. But that resource has seemed to vanished.
Fortunately, Wikipedia is uncharacteristically blunt about Omics International:
OMICS Publishing Group is a publisher of open access journals that is widely regarded as predatory. It issued its first publication in 2008. According to a 2012 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about 60 percent of the group’s 200 journals had never actually published anything.
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 does not accept 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, claiming that detractors are traditional subscription-based publishers who feel threatened by their open access publishing model, and threatening a prominent critic with a US$1 billion suit.
If you click on the link for the “prominent critic “ on the Wikipedia page, it takes you to a 2013 Chronicle article. You discover that the critic is none other than Jeffrey Beall.
The publisher, the OMICS Publishing Group, based in India, is also warning that Mr. Beall could be imprisoned for up to three years under India’s Information Technology Act, according to a letter from the group’s lawyer. Mr. Beall received the letter on Tuesday from IP Markets, an Indian firm that manages intellectual-property rights.
“I found the letter to be poorly written and personally threatening,” Mr. Beall said. “I think the letter is an attempt to detract from the enormity of OMICS’s editorial practices.” Mr. Beall believes he has documented all the statements he made about OMICS.
A serious threat? Commentators on the Chronicle article noted:
OK, any lawyers reading here, do you think a U.S. court really would enforce such a judgment entered in India? Somehow I doubt it, but I’d interested to know.
Just as U.S. courts can impose sanctions on foreign citizens for violating its own laws (there are numerous cases), a foreign court can impose sanctions on a U.S. citizen. Whether or not Mr. Beall stands trial India, a judgment against him ca be entered, and he will have to live with its consequences. Those consequences are not trivial.
This is incorrect. In the United States, the SPEECH Act protects citizens from foreign judgments premised on speech, unless the foreign country has protections for speech comparable to America’s.
That may be the US law, but foreign courts are not bound US law, unless there are specific reciprocity treatises to protect each others citizens in such cases. The case here goes beyond free speech.
The thread goes on from there, but you get the flavor of it.
Could threats or actual legal action from OMICS explain the sudden vanishing of Beall’s List from the Internet?
Regardless, where is Jeffrey Beall when we so desperately need him?
The listing I wanted was obtained with “google scholar journal list”
The long list gives only h-5 index and H-5 median, valuable for some purposes, but not mine.
A more useful link was Scholarly Research Impact Metrics. I recommend sticking with it.
To search for open access journals, there is the comprehensive and legitimate:
DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
I recommend this source, but I worry that in seeking it, naïve authors will stumble on the predatory OMIC site with its easily confused name. Seemingly impressive claims will entrap the naïve and inattentive who don’t keep probing.
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