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UG researchers deceived by predatory publisher

The last issue of the open access newsletter featured an article on the reliability of open access journals. It also paid attention to predatory publishers: scholarly publishers with a questionable reputation. They collect article processing charges (APCs), but do not provide any peer review or editing services. Omics Publishing Group (or Omics International) is such a publisher. This publisher recently approached UG researchers to publish in one of its journals. Unfortunately, these researchers were unaware of the ‘predatory status’ of Omics Publishing Group and fell prey to this dishonest organisation. The authors were willing to anonymously report on this publisher’s approach.

How did you get to know about the journal?

One of the authors was approached by the journal in a very personal manner. One of their articles was ready for publication and it had been turned down by another journal. We had just started to work through the reviewers’ comments. The theme of the article matched the journal’s theme perfectly, and because it was an easy option we decided to take our chances with this journal.

In which way were you approached by the journal?

The co-author was approached in a personal email. It was an invitation to submit an article on the basis of a previously held presentation. There was no mention of having to pay to publish the article. Nothing was said about open access, and the email also did not mention Omics International as the publisher.

How did you discover that it was a predatory journal, and what did you do when you did?

It became clear to us when we received a message explaining that it was an open access journal and asking us to transfer payment for publication. We enquired at the library about open access and the costs involved. The information we received made us realise that we were dealing with a predatory journal. We consulted the legal department on the legitimacy of the invoice. From a legal point a view there is apparently not a lot we can do, but we still decided not to pay. We sent an email with a request to remove the article (which had been placed online immediately) from the Internet.

What is the situation now? Have you got any plans for further action?

Nothing has changed. The article is still online. As yet we haven’t received any further payment requests. Also no reaction to the email requesting to take the article down.

Were you familiar with the concept predatory publisher?

We didn’t know that concept but we did know that some publishers use ‘unorthodox’ ways of making money.

How would you advise fellow-researchers not to fall victim to predatory journals?

Do not accept invitations to publish in an unknown journal without having checked if it is a predatory journal. We think that every researcher based at the UG should receive an email pointing out these pitfalls.

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Last modified:28 February 2018 4.54 p.m.