A personal experience with a predatory journal and its conference

One of my colleagues on our GEITP E-Mailing List has asked me to share this recent important experience.

And it’s a warning to us all.

I am writing to tell you about my recent experience with these predatory pseudoscientific companies.

Sometimes one is not always completely alert about conferences being advertised. I received a conference invitation from a colleague whom I know quite well. The name of the conferece was “Toxicology 2016”. Everything looked interesting, so I chose to attend. After I had registered, I found there was important mandatory meeting which was in direct conflict with the dates of Toxicology 2016, so I requested that they cancel my original registration.

Everything was going fine: they said they would cancel my application and quickly refund my money (that was in July). After the meeting was over, just last week, I still had not received my refund and no one would reply to my email requests. I kept telephoning them and they kept saying they will check on it and call me back (but, of course, they never returned my calls).

Eventually I began screaming over the telephone (they all spoke with a thick India accent). They even threatened to sue me. I demanded that they immediately refund my money; otherwise, I will sue them. Very recently, they did return my registration fee. But I’m quite certain that most other scientists who might choose not to be as persistent as I’ve been––would’ve given up and lost their money.

I understand that––even in cases in which planned meetings are later cancelled due to insufficient numbers of attendees––they “normally” do not refund registration fees from those who paid in advance. And, for those who wound up attending such meetings, the conclusion of the participants was that the meetings are horribly organized, poorly managed, and with very mediocre “speakers.”

I did a bit of searching and found this so-called Omics group is very notorious at deceiving and convincing many young scientists to publish in their predatory journals (requiring high page costs and virtually no qualified-peer review). From the success of all these publications, the company then chose to move on to predatory conferences, called “conference series” (usually they will subsequently publish the proceedings of the conference talks in their “esteemed” journal). https://scholarlyoa.com/2013/01/25/omics-predatory-meetings/

I checked Better Business Bureau, and the Omics group has no credit at all. And most people paying in advance, but then canceling for any reason, will never receive any refund (Level F). I also found this company is currently under an FDC lawsuit: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/08/29/federal-trade-commission-begins-crack-down-predatory-publishers

Although I have heard such stories (in part, by reading your GEITP emailing series), I was not aware how widespread this fraud has become. It is a shame and many scientists are fooled and feel frustrated by the direction in which Bad Science is going. In my case, I was lucky: by persistently and stubbornly calling them daily for several weeks, and threatening lawsuits, they eventually gave in, and refunded my money. However, I’m sure their refund to me was an exception rather than the rule.

Maybe you can help bring this to the attention of our scientific community: A lot of organized conferences appear “normal” and “on the level”––with official sounding names. For example, one recent meeting was called “Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology Summit”; now, many would presume that this meeting is being sponsored by the Toxicol Appl Pharmacol journal, but it is not. Instead, the organizers are based in Hyderabad, India, with a “front” address on a street in New York City). These predatory organizations particularly prey on the young scientist hoping to become recognized and honored as a speaker, or as coauthor in what seems to be a legitimate journal.

Here is the link of their website. Very deceptive. http://www.conferenceseries.com/usa-meetings/

Look at how many journals they have generated: http://www.omicsonline.org/article-processing-charges.php Just a money-making machine..!!

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