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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Publishing firm in $1 bn libel row with US blogger

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 17, 2013
First Published: 23:37 IST(17/5/2013) | Last Updated: 02:13 IST(18/5/2013)

Hyderabad-based technical publishing and events firm OMICS Publishing Group has moved to sue a Colorado University faculty member seeking damages worth $1 billion (Rs 5,400 crore) after his blog posts questioned the credentials of its scientific publications.

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OMICS issued a formal legal notice for a possible libel suit earlier this week after Jeffrey Beall’s several references to the Indian company in his popular blog “Scholarly Open Access” of questionable conduct involving alleged “predatory publishing practices” in the form of charges levied on unsuspecting young researchers keen to get their papers published.

OMICS is contemplating to file criminal and civil suits against Beall in both Indian and US courts.

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“Companies build goodwill over a period of time and one should question it on whims and fancies. Beall is a self proclaimed investigator but has absolutely no basis of the allegations he has levelled against OMICS Group in his blog,” Ashok Ram Kumar, a lawyer for the OMICS Group, told Hindustan Times over phone from Hyderabad.

Beall confirmed that he received the legal notice and said that he stood by comments made by him on the OMICS Group on his blog. “OMICS Publishing group has exploited many young researchers by inviting them to submit article manuscripts, leading them through the editing and review process, publishing the article and then invoicing the author. In most cases, the authors have no idea that an author fee applies until they receive the invoice. We documented this practice in an earlier post. Will OMICS continue this unethical practice with its new brand?” Beall wrote in a recent blog post.

Srinubabu Gedela, director of OMICS, said he can charge Beall under several sections of the Information Technology Act if the blogger-librarian fails to retract his posts.


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