US District of Nevada Judge Gloria M. Navarro has ordered OMICS International to pay the US government fines to the amount of over $50 million, according to a court report released March 29.
OMICS is a publisher and conference organizer, and has been reported to engage in predatory publishing. According to the OMICS website, they publish over 700 journals and organize over 3,000 conferences globally. Topics covered include medicine, pharma, engineering, science, technology, and business.
OMICS also claims to have over 50,000 leading experts as editors for their journals. Scientists who were listed have reported they never received manuscripts to review or were not aware of their names being on the editors list, Ars Technica reports.
“I am neither on the rolls of OMICS nor am I the editor of any of those journals. I didn’t even know that they were using my name on their website. In fact, my affiliation on the site is not accurate. It was possibly lifted from the cover of one of my earlier books,” Rajesh Malhotra of AIIMS-Delhi tells Indian Express.
The case was first brought against OMICS in August 2016. The first ruling in 2017 did not ban them from publishing or organizing conferences, but prohibited them from “deceptive practices,” Retraction Watch reports.
Outside the US, researchers from China, India, and South Korea worked with OMICS in 2016, and researchers at the most prestigious Taiwan universities were among OMICS “customers,” Taiwan News reports.
An article published in December 2016 in The New York Times recounts a researcher’s experience of being approached by an OMICS representative to attend a conference and publish a paper with a turnaround of a few weeks. Another researcher had a paper accepted within 3 hours, reports the Times.
OMICS founder, Srinubabu Gedela, claims the mission was to “free scientific knowledge from all barriers,” according to a profile of him published in Bloomberg in 2017.
The March 29 court report states that OMICS is “permanently restrained and enjoined from making any representation, expressly or by implication” about the credibility or reputation of a journal, that a journal engages in peer-review, or that a journal has a high Impact Factor or Impact Score. OMICS is also prohibited from misrepresenting conferences and who attends them.