OMICS Publishing Group Makes A Billion Dollar Threat

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65 Responses

  1. Really? No Harold and Kumar jokes yet? Come on, people. Kal Penn's parents emigrated here from India, you can't lose with that as a foundation.

    Maybe mix in a little bit of all-your-base meme action based on the machine-like translation of the last quotes.

    "All the allegation you have mentioned…."

  2. naught_for_naught says:

    This may be one of the quotes from Scholarly Open Access that has Mr. Kumar so animated:

    I strongly recommend, in the strongest terms possible, that all scholars from all countries avoid doing business in any way with the OMICS Group. Do not submit papers. Do not agree to serve on their editorial boards. Do not register for or attend their conferences.

  3. He really said that...?!? says:

    Wow.

    "The rambling, six-page letter argues that Mr. Beall's blog is "ridiculous, baseless, impertinent"…

    Impertinent? You don't see that often in correspondence around these parts. Jeffrey Beal will certainly rue the day he crossed paths with Mr. Kumar.

    Two things that struck me in the article:

    "In 2012, The Chronicle found that the group was listing 200 journals, but only about 60 percent had actually published anything."

    And:

    "On his blog, Mr. Beall accuses OMICS of spamming scholars with invitations to publish (without disclosing fees-I added the part in parentheses), quickly accepting their papers, then charging them a nearly $3,000 publishing fee after a paper has been accepted."

    I'm wondering if, in some cases, they took the $3,000 and then didn't actually print the papers. If so, they must have attended the Prenda Law seminar on business modeling. What a sweet deal.

    Fun reading: http://scholarlyoa.com/2013/01/25/omics-predatory-meetings/#more-1243

  4. Hulinut says:

    The rambling, six-page letter

    Six? blimey, the article they are complaining about would maybe fill three pages, how on earth did they manage to go on for six pages without going into detail about any specific complaints?
    Would love to see a full transcript of the letter as it would no doubt be an amusing lesson in "How to ramble on and on and on and on and on and on"

  5. He really said that...?!? says:

    @naught_for_naught

    Quoting from your article:

    "…Do not agree to serve on their editorial boards."

    Not to worry, according to what I read, they'll sign you up automatically. No application required!

  6. delurking says:

    OK, Ken, we really would like to see your polite letter to Mr. Kumar requesting further information, and his response.

  7. Ken Mencher says:

    Why am I hearing Dr. Evil's "One Billion Dollars" comment here?

  8. naught_for_naught says:

    I imagine the initial client interview looking something like this:

  9. He really said that...?!? says:

    The LinkedIn profiles in this article are a must-read:

    OMICS Ineptly Uses Social Media to Promote its Brands

    http://scholarlyoa.com/2013/02/12/omics-ineptly-uses-social-media-to-promote-its-brands/#more-1310

  10. Mike says:

    Unfortunately, companies such as OMICS are numerous on the sub continent. Especially in the education space.

    Those LinkedIn profiles are funny.

  11. MrSpkr says:

    Jeffrey Beal will certainly rue the day he crossed paths with Mr. Kumar.

    "Rue the day"? Who talks like that?

  12. AlphaCentauri says:

    Looks like the OMICS staff chose their favorite activities from this list:
    http://www.usaflivingfit.com/list-of-activities
    "Okay, Richard, you take 'Step Aerobics, Street Hockey, Surfing.' Tough luck, Justin, you're stuck with 'Clean the house, Clean the pool, Community Service Projects'"

  13. Relating them to Comic Sans: that's like calling them the Jar Jar Binks of the publishing world. I applaud you, Ken.

  14. Jack B. says:

    Remember: you can't say "all the publishing credibility of COMIC SANS" without OMICS.

    Nerdgasm! Or should I say, Dr. Nerdgasm.

  15. Paul says:

    Looks like they are having some other problems:

    U.S. Government Accuses Open Access Publisher of Trademark Infringement

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/05/government-accuses-open-access-p.html

  16. WillG says:

    Where's Mr. Kumar's law office? Whitecastle?

  17. RKN says:

    As a scientific researcher myself I can second Mr. Beals advice to avoid anything related to the -omics group. I once accepted an invitation to present at one of their "popular" conferences, and discovered when I arrived there were maybe 20 people in attendance, almost all of them invited speakers! And then I got into an argument with the conference organizer when he claimed they never offered to cover my lodging at the hotel, even after I had presented evidence that they had.

  18. Jack B. says:

    p.s. Damn you, Dreamhost. Damn you all to hell! You'll rue the day, et cetera, et cetera…

    Let's try this again:

    Nerdgasm! Or should I say, Dr. Nerdgasm.

  19. He really said that...?!? says:

    Knew someone would pick up the Real Genius reference:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8NN2A4hQ94?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360

  20. dentonite says:

    A tangential anecdote, re: Indian law and speech.

    I'm Canadian. I used to work with an older Indo-Canadian lawyer, a first-generation immigrant and naturalized citizen. Once, he came into the office somewhat upset, because he'd been to the mall, where he'd noticed for the first time that the tilework in the atrium floor had a maple leaf design.

    Because walking on national symbols is disrespecting them, see. And accustomed to Indian law, which has severe criminal penalties for doing so, he wanted to write to the newspapers/his member of parliament/various bar associations, calling for a similar law for Canadian national symbols.

    I had to explain in a depressing amount of detail why that would be a bad idea, before he gave up on it.

  21. I think we need to add "ludicrously hyperbolic demands for redress" to Ken's standard admonition that vague threats are the hallmark of bullying and thuggery. 1 billion dollars? Who do these people think they are talking to?

  22. B says:

    Hi, kennethwhite@popehat.com,

    It's recently come to my attention that you write a blog about suing people for $1 billion dollars (USD). I would like to offer to let you write a guest post for an exciting new advertising network I have. It would open up many opportunities for you in the field of suing people for $1 billion dollars (USD).

    Mac "Shady" McTeague, DDS.

  23. Paul says:

    Mac "Shady" McTeague, DDS, he writes great pony articles :)

  24. Brett Middleton says:

    OK, Ken, we really would like to see your polite letter to Mr. Kumar requesting further information, and his response.

    But we all know already how those go.

    Hi, I'm Ken from Popehat, where we amuse ourselves and our readers by making fun of censorious asshats and bashing them with the Streisand Hammer. We've had indications that you, excellent sir, are qualified to receive our finest attentions. Would you care to make any comments on the merits of your case that will enhance our coverage of the situation? Any little thing that will give us further ammunition with which to shoot you down will do. Thank you so very much.

    Honestly, I think Ken would probably get a lot further by not blowing his cover in the first paragraph of every such missive. :)

  25. Darryl says:

    I don't know about India, but in Texas it is an ethical violation to threaten criminal action to gain an advantage in a civil action.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Brett, I would agree with you, but he keeps doing it and it keeps working.

    I don't know why anyone responds to those letters either! And yet they do!

  27. Ken White says:

    I can only assume it's some sort of parallel of the goofy guy — hot girl phenomenon, of which I am also very fond.

  28. Bill says:

    I sure hope Mr Kumar is an old man a few days away from retirement – it would really suck to have this as an opening gambit for one's career. Further, I'm really hoping that it's language differences and unfamiliarity with exchange rates driving at least some of this, a billion is a lot of money. I wonder if they have contingency fees in India too, if I was working on a billion dollar settlement (I know, there's 0 chance of it going down like this) it sure would be a bummer to find out I did it for $23.00/hr instead of 40%. India is a big place and there's a lot of great stuff there, but man, this is just one of many reasons to make you really glad you live in the US.

  29. Bill says:

    @Ken – that's actually a phenomenon and not just a movie plot? Maybe if said goofy guy has a 7 figure bank account or woman is over 30 – if that's happening in the under 20 crowd, things have changed a lot since my youth. It's a nice thought though ;-)

  30. @Elizabeth says "I don't know why anyone responds to those letters either! And yet they do!"

    The irony is that Ken himself explains this pretty effectively:

    shutupshutupshutupshutup

  31. Val says:

    Further, I'm really hoping that it's language differences and unfamiliarity with exchange rates driving at least some of this, a billion is a lot of money.

    @Bill: Could be, 1 billion rupees is about 100 Crore at current exchange rate which is about 18 million USD.

  32. Kat says:

    Hi, I'm Ken from Popehat, where we amuse ourselves and our readers by making fun of censorious asshats and bashing them with the Streisand Hammer. We've had indications that you, excellent sir, are qualified to receive our finest attentions. Would you care to make any comments on the merits of your case that will enhance our coverage of the situation? Any little thing that will give us further ammunition with which to shoot you down will do. Thank you so very much.

    Hee!

    BTW, good luck and have fun (?) in court, Ken.

  33. barry says:

    Defamation is not (always) a dirty word.
    It has to be in the public interest to publicise scams in scientific publishing. That affects everyone. The reputation of science is more important than the reputation of any individual publisher and their wikipedia (and other) sock puppets.
    The 'public interest' defence is for exactly that_ for when a reputation is wrong and should be defamed for the benefit of the world in general. It's more than just a personal thing.

    But why not go for a trillion dollars? Surely that would be scarier than a billion? _Nah, for most people, not really.

  34. barry says:

    can someone unbold that? (please)

  35. BaronLurk says:

    One has to wonder if the OMICS Marketing Department is outsourced to / located in Nigeria… ;)

  36. Mikhael says:

    Was beginning to worry about you, Ken

    No wonder OMICS is so oily

  37. xbradtc says:

    If there are genuine issues with someone's scholarship, it's not defamation to point that out. Defamation (in non-lawyer speak) by definition includes a falsehood.

  38. barry says:

    @xbradtc, I don't think the truth is a defence everywhere. The definition has more to do with reputation.

  39. Bill says:

    @Val – I know I'm generally a little quick to give the benefit of the doubt on language/cultural differences, but I'm trying to think of even the most shameless lawyer in the US (hell, even including Saul Goodman), even John Edwards channeling dead babies, or Willie Gary( I had a lawyer friend who told me several Gary stories saying he was so shameless he made Edwards look sincere & justice minded).but even the worst of the worst, it's hard to imagine them saying "I've got this lawsuit going for $1 Billion" against even a company – but an individual. I've heard it said many times that winning a judgement or lawsuit is the easy part, collecting is the challenge. So even if you thought you could get the verdict, you'd just be inviting ridicule to think you could collect without it getting reduced on appeal or had any chance of collecting. Almost seems like it's based on a caricature of what you hear of frivolous law suits in the US. It's like if you could even say it with a straight face, the listener would die laughing. 18 million still seems pretty ridiculous, but it's two orders of magnitude more so either the dude is delusional, a masochist or something – it's just hard to see a sane professional even contemplating it.

  40. Charlotte says:

    @Ken Mencher – if that's wrong, I don't want to be right. (in other words, meeeeee toooooo)

  41. xbradtc says:

    @Barry-

    @xbradtc, I don't think the truth is a defence everywhere.

    Maybe not in India, but throughout the USA, the truth is an absolute defense. And as Ken noted in his post, as long as he stays out of India, the case has to meet US criteria.

  42. htom says:

    Hmm.

    In India, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act makes it illegal to use a computer to publish "any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character" or to publish false information. The punishment can be as much as three years in prison.

    Is this letter itself not grossly offensive, have menacing character, and contain false information?

  43. Bill says:

    @htom – I know India's legal system isn't the model of the world (not implying our is either) but man such wording is so freaking vague. One has to think that it means whatever a really well-connected attorney wants it to mean

  44. Val says:

    @Bill: You'd be surprised at the "quality" of "lawyers" you can get in India. For example in Mumbai near both the courthouse areas and shanty areas there are lot of law offices that offer their services. The quality is….well..it is what it is I guess you could say, nor is it to say that there aren't any good lawyers in India either. Law itself is rather complex over there to the point of nearly being byzantine (I sat in a civil claims proceeding about 10 years ago where 3-4 lawyers on the defendant's side were struggling to figure out which regulation they were trying to fight on, and that was not a major case either).

    Nonetheless I fully agree with you that $1 Billion USD is an obscene amount for an individual penalty (although the IRS class action for $250 billion potential has got to be the highest I've ever heard to date against a single entity), my guess is because of the way that INR numeric denominations work there happens to be a mistranslation, specifically:

    1 crore is written: 1,00,00,000 (note the zeroes)
    100 crore is written: 1,000,000,000

    Assuming of course that he really didn't put the $ or USD denomination anywhere in his letter then, 100 crore is 1 billion rupees which is about 18 million USD currently and I can see how this can happen.

    Doesn't really justify anything else and yes I'm probably being pedantic.

  45. ZarroTsu says:

    Dr. Evil and Ganondorf had a lovechild?

  46. Chad Miller says:

    Re: the language issue: I was going to mention that the meaning of "billion" is actually ambiguous, because English "billion" used to be different from American "billion" and both meanings are apparently still in use in India. Then I remembered that the (formerly) English billion is larger than the American one, making the possibility that Mr. Kumar meant the other one even more hilarious.

    Re: "Shut up": One of my favorite comment exchanges ever went something like this:

    Ken: [writes an article about a bad legal threat]
    Threatener: [shows up to explain himself]
    Ken: [asks a question]. "By the way, this isn't legal advice, but you shouldn't answer my questions."
    Threatener: [answers anyway]

  47. Bill says:

    @Chad -Here my faith in humanity was not destroyed b/c I was banking on a language or cultural barrier. now you're telling me it might be worse than it looks? We really are doomed.

  48. mcinsand says:

    Someone has apparently borrowed Ken's Streisand Hammer. Not only have they used it well, but they have rewritten the book:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/05/14/lessons-from-amys-baking-company-six-things-you-should-never-do-on-social-media/

  49. >I'm in trial preparation mode, so this will be brief.

    Shortly to be filed under "puns, vile, barristers, for the avoidance of."

  50. Brett Middleton says:

    Shortly to be filed under "puns, vile, barristers, for the avoidance of."

    I think that one is already on file, placed there by Ben Franklin. Or maybe his great, great grandfather.

  51. Shelby says:

    Off topic, Atkinson-Baker has done it again. Another thousand-word "short story" about, apparently, the importance of Haagen-Dazs to the inspiration process.

  52. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon says:

    ">I'm in trial preparation mode, so this will be brief.

    Question: What sort of brief?
    Answer: Depends.

  53. Frank Rizzo says:

    Real or troll?

    Update: We've received an email from Dennis Morris, a gentleman with a hotmail.com email address purporting to be Ford's attorney. Here is the message. We haven't corrected its formatting.

    Greetings;I am a lawyer,and have been contacted by Mayor Ford's office in reference to your indicating you will post a photo of Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine. Mayor Ford denies such took place,and if such posting occurs,it is false and defamatory,and you will be held legally accountable.In reference to the photo,you wish to publish, Mayor Ford has his photo taken daily,sometimes with others.

    If the person you mention is now deceased,it is sad,regardless of his alleged background.

    Please govern yourself accordingly.

    Dennis Morris.

    For Sale: A Video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine

  54. Frank Rizzo says:

    Interesting.

    Controversial Toronto councillor says he's not guilty of charges Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Toronto City Coun. Rob Ford says he will plead not guilty to criminal charges of assault and making a death threat….Ford also added some detail about events at his home this week that resulted in the charges.

    Lawyer Dennis Morris told CBCNews.ca that his client was arrested in his Etobicoke home Wednesday morning after being accused of committing an assault earlier that day. Morris said Ford denies the assault took place and will plead not guilty.

    "Our position is that these offences never did occur," Morris said, noting that in cases of alleged spousal abuse, police are obliged to make an arrest.

  55. Frank Rizzo says:

    The Toronto Star just published a story on this.
    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in 'crack cocaine' video scandal
    A video that appears to show Toronto’s mayor smoking crack is being shopped around by a group of Somali men involved in the drug trade.

    A lawyer retained by Ford, Dennis Morris, said that Thursday’s publication by the Gawker website of some details related to the video was “false and defamatory.” Morris told the Star that by viewing a video it is impossible to tell what a person is doing. “How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?” Morris said.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Two Toronto Star reporters have viewed the video three times. It appears to show Ford in a room, sitting in a chair, wearing a white shirt, top buttons open, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. Ford is incoherent, trading jibes with an off-camera speaker who goads the clearly impaired mayor by raising topics including Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and the Don Bosco high school football team Ford coaches.

    “I’m f—ing right-wing,” Ford mutters at one point. “Everyone expects me to be right-wing. I’m …” and his voice trails off. At another point he is heard calling Trudeau a “fag.” Later in the 90-second video he is asked about the football team and he appears to say (though he is mumbling), “they are just f—ing minorities.”

  56. As an (impoverished) screen printer, I will take up the call to make those t-shirts. I'll even donate a portion of the profits to whatever charity or legal defense fund you guys deem worthy. :)

  57. Alana Forsyth says:

    With a 20,000-member editorial board, who could go wrong?

  58. Disputo says:

    It's possible that Mr. Kumar is using the long scale of number naming, as the British did until recently, which would mean that when he says he wishes to sue for "one billion dollars" he means what we in the US refer to as "ONE TRILLION dollars", which would give us what is surely the world's first TRILLION dollar sue threat.

  59. Eli Rabett says:

    Gotta bring this to the attention of Scam-O-Rama With Mr. Kumar taking the lead the boys from Lagos cannot be far behind.

  60. Alternate Being says:

    The threat based on Indian IT Act Section 66A:

    In India, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act makes it illegal to use a computer to publish "any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character" or to publish false information. The punishment can be as much as three years in prison.

    may sound comical but it is very real and serious.

    Aspirants like OMICS seem to have headed to one particular Indian Police 'Cyber Cell' somewhere in Mumbai to get arrests rolling; see Google search for this. Now there is a guideline barring low ranking cops from using 66(A) for arrests. But the law is still in place.

  1. May 17, 2013

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