[Sigh. From local news.]
Owner of Canadian medical journals publishes fake research for cash
Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen
Published on: November 22, 2016 | Last Updated: November 22, 2016 5:20
The new owner of two prominent chains of Canadian medical journals is
publishing fake research for cash, and pretending it is genuine.
OMICS International, based in Hyderabad, India, had a reputation as a
“predatory publisher” when it bought Pulsus Group and Andrew John
Publishing, two Canadian publishers of medical journals, earlier this
year. Predatory journals print fake or incompetent studies to help
unqualified academics pad their CVs and advance their careers.
OMICS has publicly insisted it will maintain high standards.
But now the company has published an unintelligible and heavily
plagiarized piece of writing submitted by the Citizen to test its
The paper is online today in the Journal of Clinical Research and
Bioethics — not one of the original Canadian journals, but now jointly
owned with them. And it’s awful.
OMICS claims this paper passed peer review, and presents useful insights
in philosophy, when clearly it is entirely fake.
And OMICS has also added dozens of new, low-quality online journals to
the Pulsus group. There’s a fisheries journal with a spelling mistake in
its title and mangled English throughout, and a cognitive psychology
journal that says diaper weaning is important to toddlers and “Pleasant
Attitude of a Teacher” helps students to learn.
“It’s a bloody mess,” said Suzanne Kettley, executive director of
Canadian Science Publishing, an independent publisher in Ottawa.
She said it’s becoming almost impossible to know which medical journals
“Predatory publishers are appropriating journal names and editorial
boards from reputable publishers, they are purchasing publishing houses,
which leaves unsuspecting medical societies to then find legitimate
publishing partners, and they continue to publish fake science authored
by fake researchers that has undergone absolutely no review,” Kettley
said in an email.
“It’s a problem for absolutely everyone involved in scholarly
publishing, placing a significant drain on journals who now have to
partake in legal battles, on researchers who now have to worry about
being tricked by a predatory publisher through one of their many scams,
and most of all, for individuals who trust that the science they are
accessing has been properly vetted.”
She compares it to the explosion of fake news stories generated by
Predatory journals charge scientists hundreds or thousands of dollars to
publish each paper. They have almost no expenses since they don’t print
on paper and don’t edit anything, so once they post a PDF on a website
the rest is all profit. They prey heavily on junior academics,
especially in developing nations.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged OMICS in August with deceiving
authors through hidden charges. It calls the company “scammers.”
The leading authority on predatory publishers, Jeffrey Beall at the
University of Colorado, writes that OMICS “is on a buying spree,
snatching up legitimate scholarly journals and publishers, incorporating
them into its mega-fleet of bogus, exploitative, and low-quality
He has now put Pulsus — formerly a respected group — on his list of
journals to avoid. (Known simply as Beall’s List, it is the world’s
best-known guide to fake and substandard academic publishing.)
Robert Kalina, the former publisher of Pulsus, writes on Beall’s website
that this is unfair as only some of his journals were sold to OMICS. The
rest went to other buyers, including Hindawi, which Beall also lists as
The Citizen’s test submission to OMICS is mostly plagiarized from
Aristotle, with every fourth or fifth word changed so that
anti-plagiarism software won’t catch it.
But the result is meaningless. Some sentences don’t have verbs, and many
of the new words don’t make sense — for instance, we changed Aristotle’s
word “other” to “mother.” We scattered around a few modern words (such
as geomorphological) but not in a way that means anything.
Beall emailed the Citizen to say: “Now you will receive invoices
periodically for the rest of your life.
“PS: It takes a really good writer to be able to write such awful prose!”
He’s right about the awful prose. For example: “Everything that is done
by reasons which ethicists now call ‘ketterance’ is not voluntary; it is
only what produces aridity that is severe.” (Ketterance isn’t even a
word. Aridity means dryness — no connection to ethics.)
And: “It is sill (sic) to make geomorphological circumstances
responsible, and not one’s own, and to claim responsibility for proper
acts but the also the good objects responsible for geomorphological
acts.” OMICS leaves all typos intact.
Other published work in the same OMICS journal doesn’t appear much
better. One is a case study of a “trembled” patient — with no hint of
what this means. Another paper debates whether a hospital doctor who
killed a little Pakistani girl with a massive drug error was right or
wrong to conceal the error and tell her parents that she died of a
poisonous insect bite.
OMICS said early Monday it would reply to questions from the Citizen by
early Tuesday, but hadn’t done so by day’s end. The company claims to
publish 700 online journals.
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