Saturday, September 2, 2017

Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Cambridge Scholars Publishing's putative link to Cambridge is that it was "Founded by former lecturers and researchers from the University of Cambridge." According to the website's description of the 67 advisory board members (9/2/17), exactly one has a current or former connection to the University of Cambridge. (Terri Apter is a Fellow Emerita of Newman College.) The mailing address is in Newcastle, not Cambridge.

The website states that "We ... do not require any fees be paid to us for publication purposes." Hence, characterizing the business as predatory -- it was on Beall's list of possible predators -- would seems extreme. The quality of the books is debated at Political Science Rumors. A few respondents comment (mostly adversely) on what they have read.

The journals do not look stellar. No editorial boards are listed, although the "editorial advisors" may serve that function. "The International Journal of American Studies is a peer reviewed journal to be launched in spring/summer 2013 ... All manuscripts should be sent electronically to: Irakli Tskhvediani (iraklitskhvediani@yahoo.com; jdpag2012@yahoo.com) by the 30th of April, 2013." The journal is said to be "supported by" the US Embassy in Georgia.This seems to mean that "In 2012 US Department of State and Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia granted him a Federal Assistance Award to set up the publication of a peer-reviewed journal of American Studies." Five years later, the journal is still "awaiting book cover" and has no content.
Email
From: Adam Rummens (adam.rummens@cambridgescholars.com)
Sent: Aug 31 at 9:03 AM
Subject: Decision Science Books
Dear Dr. Kaye,
Firstly, please excuse this unsolicited email. I’m sure that like me you receive too many as it is and so I’ll keep it brief. I was recently appointed as Commissioning Researcher for Cambridge Scholars Publishing (see below) with a brief to expand the subject areas in which we publish books. As such I am in the process of developing collections within the decision sciences. As I believe you already have some experience of academic and scientific writing, I wondered whether you would consider us as your publisher should you decide to put ‘pen to paper’ and write a book at some point in the future?
We are also developing Editorial Advisory Groups to help ensure that we only publish high quality texts. If this is something that you would like to learn more about, please do let me know.
As I promised, I have kept this message short, but would be delighted to talk or correspond more if you feel you would like to explore possibilities.
Kind regards, Adam Rummens, Commissioning Researcher
About Cambridge Scholars Publishing (www.cambridgescholars.com):
Cambridge Scholars Publishing (CSP) is an independent academic publisher, founded in 2001 by former lecturers and researchers from the University of Cambridge who felt existing publishing companies took too long to publish academic books, monographs, conference proceedings and textbooks.
CSP has its own printing facility, now publishes 750+ titles each year in both electronic and print formats and is committed to providing a forward-thinking publishing service that champions original thinking, whilst ensuring we put our authors at the heart of everything we do. Our back list catalogue contains approximately 7,500 titles.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd is registered in England. Reg. No: 4333775; VAT No: 108280727
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this message do not necessarily represent those of Cambridge Scholars Publishing Ltd. The contents of this message are intended for the addressee only. They are confidential and may contain private information. Cambridge Scholars Publishing is not responsible for any damages resulting from the unauthorised use, forwarding or disclosure of this message, and will not be held liable for damages or loss caused by any viruses.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Are Drug Companies Supporting Predatory Journals and Conferences?

An article in Bloomberg Businessweek,,August 29, 2017, and reprinted in the September 4, 2017, issue of Bloomberg BNA’s Expert Evidence Report (a resource for lawyers) includes a detailed exposé of the pharmaceutical industry’s participation in flaky medical journals and conferences. It focuses on OMICS International, which threatened a librarian who called it “predatory,” with a billion dollar lawsuit. (An example of the articles OMICS publishes is here.) Excerpts from the BNA report follow, but the article is worth reading in full.
... Omics [claims] 1,000 open-access journal titles that post 50,000 articles annually in fields including medicine, technology, and engineering. It has also built a robust conference division that will hold about 3,000 events worldwide this year. ... Professors and researchers have identified [its CEO and founder, Srinubabu] Gedela as the progenitor of a fraudulent empire that's eroding public trust in scientific inquiry. He denies it all, continuing to extend his global reach from Hyderabad. And he has received help from an unexpected source: the pharmaceutical industry, which regularly publishes in the company's journals and attends its conferences, bringing Omics both credibility and the funds to grow.

... The National Institutes of Health ... banned Omic's journals from indexing in PubMed Central, one of the world's primary databases for medical research, given “serious concerns” about its practices. In 2013, HHS accused Omics of trademark infringement and using the names of employees at the NIH and PubMed Central “in an erroneous and/or misleading manner.” ...
According to financial documents filed with the Indian government, Omics's fiscal 2016 revenue was $11.6 million and profit about $1.2 million. ...

The online journals featured on the Omics home page are rife with grammar glitches and low-resolution headshots. Despite such obvious red flags, Bloomberg Businessweek found that researchers at major pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, and Merck, submit to Omics journals and participate in their conferences. Pfizer, the biggest U.S. drugmaker, has published at least 23 articles since 2011, including two since the FTC's lawsuit [accusing OMICS of fraud].

Pfizer wouldn't respond to study-specific questions and declined interview requests. “Our priority is to publish Pfizer-sponsored clinical research in a transparent, accurate, and fair manner,” spokesman Steven Danehy wrote in an email. “We are concerned by the allegations brought forward by the FTC and await the outcome of the investigation.”

AstraZeneca Plc, the second-biggest drugmaker in the U.S., has published at least five articles in Omics journals since 2011 ... When contacted by Bloomberg Businessweek, spokeswoman Abigail Bozarth said AstraZeneca has asked staff to no longer publish in “identified predatory journals,” yet declined to say when that policy change was made. ...

Drugmakers have fueled Omics's rise by also sponsoring and attending conferences, which Gedela says generate 60 percent of Omics's revenue. In a meeting room at the company, photographs taken at conferences, beginning in 2010, show the names of Novartis, Axis Clinicals, and Agilent Technologies as sponsors on screens behind speakers. Drugmaker employees often lead workshops at the events ... Agilent, Axis, and Merck didn't respond to requests for comment. Eli Lilly declined to discuss its involvement with the conferences. Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff declined to comment specifically on Omics, saying his company reviews quality of agenda and “legitimacy of the organization” when conferences seek its sponsorship. GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne says the company allows authors to pick their own journals, though in-house experts suggest reputable publications when asked. Omics conferences “were not on our radar as problematic,” she says, adding: “It's not always easy to spot questionable outlets. Staff training in this area is ongoing.”
Any claim that it is not easy to spot OMICS conferences as “problematic” is preposterous. Five minutes of Googling would do it. Any suggestion that these companies need to await the outcome of an FTC complaint to determine that OMICS (or other publications) are not appropriate venues for publishing their research is silly. The websites of (and the spam from) many of these journals give lip service to peer review and quality editing, but they are filled with obvious warning signs that belie these protestations.


Of course, big pharma is hardly the only source of revenue for OMICS, BIT Group Global, and the flotilla of other flaky publishers and conference organizers. Universities need policies that discourage their faculty from padding CVs with membership on the editorial boards of certain journals; from resorting to publishing in these journals; and from dallying in Dalian.