Cracking down on predatory scientific publishers.

Important AlertA free and open marketplace of ideas is the backbone of the open access publishing model, which many researchers believe is vital to the speed and spread of science in today’s digital world. In the conventional subscription-based model, journals generate revenue by keeping content locked behind a subscription-only paywall.

Open-access, on the other hand, often involves publishers charging an upfront “author fee” to cover costs—then making the papers available online for free. The open-access movement has produced many well-respected publishers, including PLoS and BioMed Central. But it also opened the doors for potential bad actors, like OMICS.

In the last five years, open-access journals have cropped up all over the Internet, their websites looking like those of any typical scholarly publisher: editorial boards filled with bios of well-respected scientists, claims of rigorous peer review, indexing in the most influential databases. The looks of these publishers have deceived thousands of young and inexperienced researchers all over the world, costing them millions of dollars—and for many, their reputations.

OMICS victims are mostly young researchers, new to the scholarly publishing world. Having their names attached to fraudulent publishing systems presents a significant barrier to building credibility in their fields.

So it is with good reason that the US Federal Trade Commission has taken an interest in these “predatory” publishers. Specifically, they’ve honed in on OMICS Group, a global conglomerate based in India and incorporated in Nevada that boasts more than 700 “leading-edge, peer reviewed” open access journals on its website. In a historic first for the FTC, the agency is suing the company, alleging that it misrepresented the legitimacy of its publications, deceived researchers, and obfuscated sizeable publication fees. The lawsuit, filed last month, will set a precedent for how the academic publishing industry is regulated, and how the body of scientific work that constitutes our collective understanding of the world is created and shared in the age of open access information.

Continue reading article through Wired Magazine.

VRF has discontinued relationships with OMICS group one year ago.

A full list of suspected predatory scholarly open-access publishers is here.

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