OMICS vs. The FTC: Plagiarism at a Predatory Publisher

By Neuroskeptic | August 29, 2016 12:00 pm

OMICS International is a large open access (OA) academic publishing group. Founded in 2007, OMICS has since grown rapidly  and now boasts of having over 700 journals with over 50,000 editorial board members. However, the rise of OMICS has not been welcomed by everyone; the company has been branded a ‘predatory publisher‘, accused of spamming academics, and of organizing poor quality ‘academic conferences’.

Given this background, it was not so surprising when we learned, last week, that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to sue OMICS. The FTC say that OMICS “regularly deceive consumers”; for instance, while the company “claim that their journals follow rigorous peer-review practices”, in fact, “Many articles are published with little to no peer review”.

ftc_omicsOuch.

But how bad are the standards at OMICS, really? In this post, I will reveal that OMICS published a paper containing extensive plagiarism – a paper co-authored by none other than the publisher’s founder, CEO and Managing Director, Dr Srinubabu Gedela. Furthermore, I can reveal that I reported the problems with this article to OMICS repeatedly, but they did nothing.

The paper is called Rational Therapeutics of Cardiology in Elderly and it appeared in 2011 in the OMICS Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology. It was authored by Swati Srabani Nayak, Sridevi Kadali, and Srinubabu Gedela.

Numerous passages from this article appear to have been copied verbatim from previous sources. According to Turnitin plagiarism detection software, the Nayak et al. paper shows 67% textual similarity overall:

gedela

The single biggest source (source #1, shown in red above) is Wikipedia. Take, for example, this paragraph from the paper:

Therapy (in Greek: Oepatteia), or treatment is the attempted remediation of a health problem usually following a diagnosis. In the medical field it is synonymous with the word “treatment”. Preventive therapy or prophylactic therapy is a treatment that is intended to prevent a medical condition from occurring. For example, many vaccines prevent infectious diseases. An abortive therapy is a treatment that is intended to stop a medical condition from progressing any further. A medication taken at the earliest signs of a disease, such as at the very symptoms of a migraine headache, is an abortive therapy. A supportive therapy is one that does not treat or improve the underlying condition, but instead increases the patient’s comfort. Supportive treatment may be used in palliative care.

Compare this to the Wikipedia entry for “therapy” from July 21st 2011, i.e. from before the OMICS paper was submitted:

Therapy (in Greek: θεραπεία), or treatment, is the attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a diagnosis. In the medical field, it is synonymous with the word “treatment”. Among psychologists, the term may refer specifically to psychotherapy or “talk therapy”. Preventive therapy or prophylactic therapy is a treatment that is intended to prevent a medical condition from occurring. For example, many vaccines prevent infectious diseases. An abortive therapy is a treatment that is intended to stop a medical condition from progressing any further. A medication taken at the earliest signs of a disease, such as at the very symptoms of a migraine headache, is an abortive therapy. A supportive therapy is one that does not treat or improve the underlying condition, but instead increases the patient’s comfort.[1] Supportive treatment may be used in palliative care.

Wikipedia isn’t cited anywhere in the paper. Note also that Nayak et al. have left a copy-paste “smoking gun” when they wrote that “therapy” comes from the Greek word “Oepatteia”, which is nonsense. This can only be a corruption of the Wikipedia page, which correctly gives the word’s origin as θεραπεία (“therapeia”). Nayak et al. must have copied the Greek and assumed that the Greek letters could simply be rewritten as Latin ones. In fact θ is not Greek for “o”, it’s Greek for “th”, and so on.

I reported this paper to OMICS twice, first on January 27th and again on April 29th this year (I emailed medical@omicsinc.com and editor.jcec@omicsinc.com, contact addresses given here and here). I included a copy of the Turnitin report. I never received any reply, and the paper is still available.

So does OMICS have an “open door” policy for plagiarism? Or is copy-pasting only tolerated when it comes to articles written by their CEO? Either way, I don’t think this reflects very well on the publisher, or the idea that they practice rigorous peer-review.

Link: this isn’t the first time Gedela has been accused of plagiarism.

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Neuroskeptic

No brain. No gain.

About Neuroskeptic

Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.

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