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FTC Halts the Deceptive Practices of Academic Journal Publishers



Operation made false claims and hid publishing fees, FTC alleges.

A federal court has granted a preliminary injunction requested by the Federal Trade Commission, temporarily halting the deceptive practices of academic journal publishers charged by the agency with making false claims about their journals and academic conferences, and hiding their publishing fees, which were up to several thousand dollars.

The preliminary injunction against OMICS Group Inc., iMedPub LLC, Conference Series LLC, and their CEO, director, and owner, Srinubabu Gedela stems from a complaint the FTC filed last year that names Gedela and his three companies as defendants.

The defendants operate several websites, including OMICSonline.org, iMedPub.com, and Conferenceseries.com.  They advertise hundreds of online academic journals and international conferences for scientists and medical professionals.

According to the complaint, the defendants deceptively claim that their journals provide authors with rigorous peer review and have editorial boards made up of prominent academics when in fact, many articles are published with little to no peer review and many individuals represented to be editors have not agreed to be affiliated with the journals.

The FTC’s complaint alleges that the defendants do not tell authors submitting papers for publication that, after their online journals accept an article, the defendants charge the authors significant publishing fees and often do not allow authors to withdraw their articles from submission, making their research ineligible for publication in other journals.

The FTC also alleges that, to promote their scientific conferences, the defendants deceptively use the names of prominent researchers as conference presenters, when in fact many of those researchers had not agreed to participate in the events.

The FTC’s complaint charges the defendants with multiple violations of the FTC Act’s prohibition on deceptive acts or practices.

The preliminary injunction entered by a federal district court in the District of Nevada prohibits the defendants from making misrepresentations regarding their academic journals and conferences, including that specific persons are editors of their journals or have agreed to participate in their conferences.  It also prohibits the defendants from falsely representing that their journals engage in peer review, that their journals are included in any academic journal indexing service, or any measurement of the extent to which their journals are cited.  It also requires that the defendants clearly and conspicuously disclose all costs associated with submitting or publishing articles in their journals.

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William H. Byrnes has achieved authoritative prominence with more than 20 books, treatise chapters and book supplements, 1,000 media articles, and the monthly subscriber Tax Facts Intelligence. Titles include: Lexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance, Foreign Tax and Trade Briefs, Practical Guide to U.S. Transfer Pricing, and Money Laundering, Asset Forfeiture; Recovery, and Compliance (a Global Guide). He is a principal author of the Tax Facts series. He was a Senior Manager, then Associate Director of international tax for Coopers and Lybrand, and practiced in Southern Africa, Western Europe, South East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, and the Caribbean. He has been commissioned by a number of governments on tax policy. Obtained the title of tenured law professor in 2005 at St. Thomas in Miami, and in 2008 the level of Associate Dean at Thomas Jefferson. William Byrnes pioneered online legal education in 1995, thereafter creating the first online LL.M. offered by an ABA accredited law school (International Taxation and Financial Services graduate program).