Did OMICS Publishing Group’s Owner, Srinubabu Gedela, Commit Plagiarism?

Bioinformatics for Omics Data Methods and Protocols

Unoriginal, unattributed text inside.

Srinubabu Gedela, the owner of India-based OMICS Publishing Group, authored a chapter in the book Bioinformatics for Omics Data: Methods and Protocols, published by Springer under its imprint Humana Press in 2011. But there’s a problem with his text. The chapter contains unattributed text that originally appeared in earlier publications. The amount of unoriginal text is significant, I think. Most of it appears towards the end of the chapter, suggesting that the text was copied in the rush to meet a deadline.

Through his lawyers, Gedela recently announced his intention to sue me for one billion dollars.

Two paragraphs in Gedela’s chapter match text from the Wikipedia article Grid resource allocation manager. The text in the Wikipedia article pre-dates the 2011 publication of the book chapter, and there is no evidence that Gedela authored the Wikipedia text in question.  What kind of scholar copies from Wikipedia without citing the source?

Other portions of text in the Gedela article first appeared in two scholarly journal articles and on one website.

Also, there is a figure in the Gedela article that closely resembles a figure in one of the journal articles. I don’t think the image was copied from the earlier article. Both articles describe the same open-source software, and the image was created using the software in both cases. However, the article that contains the first instance of the figure also contains text that later appears in the Gedela piece, suggesting that Gedela may have gotten the idea for the figure from the earlier work.

I have prepared a two-column analysis of Gedela’s chapter, showing his text on the left along with the previously-published, original text on the right. I will also include a scan of the Gedela article in question.

If i these textual appropriations are confirmed as plagiarism, I think they might ethically disqualify Gedela from serving as a scholarly publisher.

17 Responses to Did OMICS Publishing Group’s Owner, Srinubabu Gedela, Commit Plagiarism?

  1. Susan Ariew says:

    Glad you aren’t backing down and exposing OMICS for what it is!

  2. Ken Smith says:

    This type of plagiarism (in the US) has led to universities using software like Turnitin to catch students doing this type of “cut-and-paste” plagiarism. At my university, a student who turned in work like Gedela’s might receive a failing grade for academic dishonesty and a reference to the dean of students for possible further disciplinary action. (A student in one of my own classes would probably first receive a zero grade on the work, along with a lengthy tutorial by me on “academic dishonesty” and scholarship; the failing grade and further discipline would occur on the second occurrence.)

    It is a shame that intelligent people stoop to this. I would suggest that Gedela needs an introductory lesson on scholarship, but given his billion dollar threat, I doubt if it would do any good….

    Does Springer know about this?

    • No, I haven’t informed Springer. Can a publisher retract a book?

      • There may even be a legal requirement to do so (or at least to stop publishing it). I’m not a legal expert, but this type of plagarism isn’t exactly in line with copyright law. This is obviously assuming there is no exception for the original text — which seems unusual, as there is no reason to ask authors for the rights to verbosely copy their text into new works. Looking at the ACM copyright statement I signed recently, that’s not the usual case.
        In addition, at least by European law, the ownership rights of the original authors may allow them to prevent (further) publication or dissemination (unless permission has been obtained).

        Beyond that, of course, it would be at least “the right thing to do” for the editor of the book series (which, by the way, is called “Methods in Molecular Biology” — this may be a case of republication to a completely new audience, which is acceptable at least in some circles). The link you provided specifies Bernd Mayer as the editor for this particular edition.

        On a side-note, the link under ‘chapter’ is broken (you seem to have put the title of the article as URL). Here is the link to the official springer chapter page.

  3. kenwsmith54 says:

    I suspect Springer would be interested in trying to prevent further occurrences. Retracting an entire book might be a bit difficult, but an editor might wish to leave out the chapter in any later editions and also make sure the culprit is not invited to be an author in future works.

    I suspect that Gedela wishes to appear to be a scholarly leader churning out lots of articles. Thus the plagiarism. If I were a Springer editor working in this field, I would at least want to be alerted to this.

  4. Nils says:

    It’s a good idea to present a comparison of original and plagiarized material in table form. This procedure is much used by the german web site Vroniplag, which is dedicated to anayzing plagiarism in PhD theses. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VroniPlag_Wiki

  5. David Riley says:

    In a recent email solicitation for manuscripts an OMICS journal listed a California fax number and said that the editorial office was in Henderson, Nevada. The only problem was that the suite listed for Incorporation Services, a company that acts as the registering agent for thousands of companies. The person I spoke with has never heard of OMICS.

  6. Guria says:

    Dr Beall, please be aware that you’re not alone. Your contributions are significant in both ethical and academic terms.

  7. Ahmad AL-HASSAN says:

    Dear JEFFREY Beall I have come across a journal which publishes articles for fees whether they are genuine or not.If interested I will send you the article itself and the journal.I am looking forward to hearing from youBest regardsAhmad Al-HassanHead of Production at the Linguistics JournalAssociate Editor at Asia EFL Journal

    Date: Tue, 21 May 2013 16:09:13 +0000 To: dral_hassan@hotmail.com

  8. […] whom he felt took advantage of authors through predatory practices.  Beall’s personal blog “Scholarly Open Access” names names, and in doing so, Beall opened himself up to legal problems. One publisher named on […]

  9. Anonymous But Contactable says:

    Dr Beall, I just happened to read this:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-2326804/DISRESPECTFULLY-YOURS-Send-Section-66A-bullies-home.html

    The draconian Indian Information Technology Act Section 66A is rearing its ugly head on the global internet, after having created enough mayhem within the country.

    Abuse of IT Act Section 66A is a clear marker, it is employed by all those who thrive on carefully planted (and often undeserved) reputation. Other instances below:

    http://janamejayan.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/one-more-case-of-misuse-of-section-66-a-of-it-act/

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/suryanelli-rape-crackdown-launched-gainst-facebook-users-in-p-j-kurien-case/1079399/

    etc. So far the impact was only within India but now it is crossing borders to take on the global internet.

    USA is already resisting Indian IT Act’s overreach:

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/cant-help-india-in-serving-summons-on-websites-us/article4681173.ece

    Good luck in resisting this. Please write to your Congressman.

  10. […] is more, no more than a couple of days ago, Beall wrote a new post on his blog about the OMICS Publishing Group, this time directly attacking the owner of the […]

  11. Jurgen Ziesmann says:

    If you want a detailed analysis of the texts, maybe http://de.vroniplag.wikia.com/wiki/Home can help. This is a groups of volunteers that have analyzed many theses and brought to light the cheating of many. Check it out. The webpage is in German, but do not be deterred by that from contacting them. Their English is fine.

  12. […] is more, no more than a couple of days ago, Beall wrote a new post on his blog about the OMICS Publishing Group, this time directly attacking the owner of the […]

  13. […] 21 maggio: il capo dell’Omics Publishing Group gli ha fatto mandare una denuncia per diffamazione con richiesta di $1 miliardo quale risarcimento. Motivo: il prof. si era chiesto se l’editore predone non avesse copiato gran parte di un capitolo uscito in Bioinformatics for Omics Data. Quindi il prof. fa la prova finestra… (1) […]

  14. […] da alcune osservazioni del prof. Beall, in maggio l’editore ha minacciato di fargli causa e gli ha chiesto $1 […]

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