Monday, 29 July 2013

OMICS Group Conferences - Sham or Scam? (Either way, don't go to one!)

I want to preface this post by saying that it’s been one of the harder ones to decide whether to write. On the one hand, it feels a little unprofessional and self-sabotaging to criticise a conference at which one was an invited speaker. On the other hand, my recent experience of an OMICS Group conference was so poor that I feel compelled to warn others. One thing I want to make clear from the outset, however, is that I do not want to denigrate any of the speakers; despite the shortcomings of the conference itself, there was nothing wrong with the contributions of those in attendance. (I wish I could say the same of the OMICS Group organisers.)

Earlier this year, I was invited to speak at the OMICS Group 3rd International Conference of Proteomics and Bioinformatics, held in Philadelphia earlier this month. It sounded like it would be a fairly big conference - the topic was broad, the website listed 24 conference organisers (including scientists from renowned Universities), eleven thematic tracks and venue pictures featuring a conference room of reasonable size set up for a talk. Although I am not generally a fan of massive conferences, it is good to present at one; I recognised a couple of names of confirmed presenters, one of whom was a friend, and after weighing up the costs I decided to accept the invitation. With hindsight, I was rather naïve and/or gullible in accepting the invite. The conference website, it seems, is very misleading - it lists four front-page “Renowned speakers”, for example, of whom only two actually spoke at the conference. At the time, though, I had no particular reason to be wary.

There were a few bad signs before even turning up to the conference, included poor information regarding the speaker guidelines and even the hotel in which the conference was taking place. The big one that worried me most was the timetabling of the conference when the full scientific programme was finally released. Despite 11 “tracks”, the conference was organised into a single stream. This is not so bad in itself - parallel sessions often cause problems of clashing talks of interest; the issue was that the resulting programme was so crammed full, there were hardly any breaks.

As anyone who has been to conferences knows, many of the most productive parts of the conference are the conversations over coffee, lunch and evening refreshments. This conference had scheduled two 15 minute coffee breaks and 40 minutes for lunch in the context of days of 9-6 talks. A one hour “cocktail” (beer and wine) session was listed for each day but there was no conference dinner or other activity to promote extended interaction. Not only was I worried about the lack of interactions - particularly for someone a bit introverted like me who is a bit slow to warm up - from past experience, there was a chance that talks would over-run to the point that breaks would disappear and/or it would take longer than the coffee break to get everyone out of the auditorium and lined up for coffee.

(As it happens, concerns about breaks were ill-founded. The reason for this is that the disorganisation of the conference at the event and the alarming no-show rate of speakers meant that we often ended up with extra time for breaks. The exception to this was Day 1 but I’m getting ahead of myself and will come back to that.)

Despite these warning signs, I really wasn’t ready for the shambles that was to come. Having had breakfast on Monday in the wrong room due to lack of information, I went to the conference suite to register and make my way to the conference room. The conference pack itself set the scene for the conference, being mostly advetising for OMICS Group activities with precious little regard for the science. (No lists of attendees, or places to write notes that I could see.) This was then reflected in the venue.

For one thing, it was tiny. I mean tiny. The venue image that I previously interpreted as the one of several parallel sessions turned out to be twice the size of the venue for the entire conference. This is partly because the room had been divided and the other half was being used for another OMICS conference. (There were three in the hotel plus one or two other meetings not organised by the OMICS Group.)

Not only was it tiny but the layout was awful - half a dozen large round tables surrounded by ten or so chairs each. Given that there were 52 speakers on the programme plus four keynote speakers and one workshop presenter, this was not encouraging. A conference with 24 listed of conference organisers having not much more than double that number of participants tells you that there is a problem somewhere. The biggest thing in the room was the banner advertising the OMICS Group and its sponsors.

Things did not get any better once the conference began. The schedule included a rather intriguing 30 minute(!) slot for an "opening ceremony", which again added to the pre-conference illusion of grandeur. In reality, it was five minute introduction by an unfortunate member of the keynote forum who seemed to have been volunteered for the role not long before. Furthermore, the absence of formal organisation was such that agreeing to this role seemed to land him with the unenviable task of essentially organising and managing the rest of the speaker lineup for the rest of the conference. To add insult to injury, this was someone who was not even on the organising committee.

The rest of the day was odd, bordering on farce. Things started OK. Thanks to the “opening ceremony”, we were running ahead of schedule. One of the keynote speakers had substituted a junior member of their lab in their place - a good move, I now see - but the keynotes were generally interesting and I was beginning to think “maybe this won’t be so bad”. At that point, the conference organisers made their only detectable organisational intervention - the group photo.

Quite why you want a photo showing how embarrassingly tiny your broad International conference is, I don’t know, but they did - enough to not only obliterate our time cushion but (thanks to some comically bad preparation and organisation by the photographer) also eat into the scientific schedule. This for me summed up the whole endeavour: science taking second place to OMICS Group publicity. The photo is now up on the website and reproduced below. I count 48 people. There were 57 listed speakers. (I will come back to that!) Remember, this is for a conference with an alleged 24 organisers!

I now suspect that essentially everyone at the conference had been invited to speak and that the “organising committee” had no role in the organisation or speaker lineup - indeed, I wonder if they all even know that they are being listed as organisers. Nevertheless, after a now-delayed coffee, things picked up again with some interesting talks, although there had clearly been little or no instruction (and sometimes little thought) regarding the technicalities of getting talks ready and computers switched over etc.. (There wasn’t even a clicker for advancing slides - I had to use my own!) Thanks to a few hiccups compounding the photographic nonsense earlier, we were late for our 40 minute lunch break.

Lunch. This should be one of the best times in any conference - a time to discuss the science of the morning and look at what’s on offer in the afternoon. After a couple of interesting talks, I was looking forward to a bit of discussion. Instead, lunch was a buffet affair on the mezzanine floor, shared by all the conferences and with insufficient tables and seating to be able to sit even with the two or three people you were just chatting to in the lift. On one occasion, I stood up to get a coffee after lunch and found my seat taken by members of another conference before I could return to it. Later, we were even asked to leave our table to make room for the next conference when I was still eating. (On that occasion, we were still well within the allotted lunch time on the programme.) The food itself was pretty nice but lunch, thanks to shoddy organisation, was one of the worst conference lunch experiences I have had.

The rest of the conference bumbled along in much the same vein. I’ve been at a few conferences where the schedule has been re-jigged slightly on the day but never before have I been at a conference where speakers were AWOL and nobody appeared to know. Before each talk, there was a hopeful appeal to the audience for the speaker to come forth and show themselves - or, as in a few cases, not. The first couple of times, I thought it a bit rude to just not show up but I fear that the real reason might be a bit more sinister - the OMICS Group, it seems, have a reputation for not refunding people who decide to pull-out of their activities; given the small size, I would not be surprised if they kept those that withdraw on their programme. As far as I can tell, the OMICS Group simply do not care if conference is a disaster, as long as they can spin it as a success. The packed programme quite possibly exists only to maximise the number of names they can associate with their conference for some credibility.

One of the saddest things - and one of the reasons for this post - is that a little more research on my part would have warned me off. The Scholarly Open Access blog had an article from January this year: OMICS Goes from “Predatory Publishing” to “Predatory Meetings”. (My wife emailed me the link at the meeting but I wasn’t brave enough to read it until at the airport to come home!) The title says it all really but some of the content within resonated with me quite strongly.

Now new evidence has surfaced revealing that OMICS, which is also in the business of organizing scientific conferences, has been 1) using the names of scientists, oftentimes without their permission, to invite participants to their meetings, 2) promoting their meetings by giving them names that are deceptively similar to other well-established meetings that have been held for years by scientific societies, and 3) refusing to refund registration fees, even if their meetings are cancelled.

First, OMICS implies that its editorial board members are conference organizers by placing their names and photographs on their conference web pages, and by sending email invitations to their meetings which are “signed” by members of the editorial boards. However, many of these people never agreed to be meeting organizers, and some have never even agreed to be become OMICS editorial board members.

The rest of the post - and the comments (to which I have now added) - do not make comfortable reading. The author ends by saying:

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.

I find myself having to agree. Despite the small size, lack of focus and crappy organisation, I did actually get some useful outcomes from the conference but these were despite the efforts of the organisers rather than because of them. Some of the science and individual presentations were of good quality but this was the worst scientific conference that I have attended by a long stretch - and I let them know as much in my feedback form! (Of course, visiting the conference website now shows a bunch of supportive quotes of praise, making it look like an unmitigated success. Either these individuals were at a different conference to me, have not experienced a good conference, or are way too polite.)

The whole thing left me feeling a little violated, to be honest. The delusions of grandeur portrayed by my “Certificate of Recognition” does nothing to ease this sense:

OMICS Publishing Group and Editor (s) … enjoy special privilege to felicitate [me] for his/her phenomenal and worthy oral presentation…

Even worse is what happens if you click “View More” following the “Renowned Speakers” on the front page. Another page is opened listing 42 “Executive Editors”. I am dismayed to find myself listed among them. I am not sure what qualifies someone for the list - as far as I can tell, not all those listed spoke at the conference and not all of the conference speakers are listed - but I want to make it quite clear that I have made no executive and/or editorial contribution to the OMICS Group. I have contacted them about this error, so hopefully it will be rectified. (I am not holding my breath.)

I am not sure whether they are fraudsters but, either way, I also strongly advise boycotting OMICS Group activities on the basis that they are scientifically bankrupt beyond anything that individual attending scientists bring to that activity. It is possible that I was just unlucky. Given the Scholarly Open Access comments and the apparent lack of embarrassment - and total lack of apologies - at the utter shambles that was the OMICS Group 3rd International Conference of Proteomics and Bioinformatics, I highly doubt it. For this reason, I feel the need to warn others.

Conferences are not cheap, so save your money and use it to go to a conference organised by scientists, for scientists, with science and not money/prestige/publicity as the primary motivator. Based on my experience, this will not be one organised by the OMICS Group.

There is one other thing I have learnt from this experience: if you are invited to present at a conference, do your homework.

[NB. I have made the OMICS Group aware of my thoughts and concerns. I will update this page in the light of any responses.]

[Update 4/12/13: Although OMICS Group never responded to any of my emails, it appears that they have modified their conference homepage and I am no longer listed as an “Executive Editor”. Doubly so, in fact, as they have corrected the title to read “Renowned Speakers” instead and removed me from the list!]

[Update 18/8/15: ABC have a recent exposé of predatory publishers (including OMICS), which is worth a read or listen.]

83 comments:

  1. How about enquiring if the University has any solicitors in their employ who might be motivated to protect the university and your reputation from being associated with this organization? If they tried to make Johnny Depp, Prince Charles or Lady Gaga executive editors you know there would be lawsuits. I don't see how what they have done can possibly be legal, and that is not even counting the possible misrepresentation of speakers. Sorry to hear you blew a meeting opportunity.

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  2. Interesting idea. I'll give them a chance to take my name off first but perhaps the threat of legal action might work if they don't.

    The conference wasn't a complete loss as there were some interesting people there but it was a stark contrast to other conferences where I come back brimming with (too many!) ideas.

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  3. Thats the advantage of being associated or having big names on the organizing list. Many accept this role, probably they are promised that there will not be much work involved or very little organizational activity will be required by them. Most of the researchers are lured with this strategy. However it is always necessary to cross check before going to such shady conferences. Its that we all come to conference but this organization has the "Last Laugh". They invite everyone and throw them in lurch. This is Bad. Am sure that all the participants were speakers and very little or almost no one was a listener. That is a great feedback you have given Richard. Not everyone has the time and courage to pen down such experiences and bring to light such Scammers. Thank you for putting down your thoughts. Am sure that this is not just a lone conference that has this experience. Am sure that all conferences listed(actually boasted)are organized in this similar way. Hope this will allow researchers to judge better and avoid any association with such scamsters.

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  4. Thanks so much for your post. I have been invited as a speaker and became wary of the invitation when some of the language did not seem quite right. I especially loved how they noted in the email that it was not spam!
    I will be sure to add them to my blocked list and deposit all of their emails in my spam folder!

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  5. I also got an invitation and thought something was off. Thanks for the post it clarifies a lot!!

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  6. I am a young scientist and just started to publish. I have a couple of papers in a big publisher's journal that I got thanks to a Congress. I live in a country where science is difficult (Argentina) and we never have funds to do anything. I got an invitation to an Omics conference. They mentioned one of my published papers and I was thinking of submitting!! I would have spent 600 bucks to register, which for me is the salary of one month and a half. Thank you so much for this review, I will spend my money on a conference that can actually help me progress in my career.

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  7. Had a similar experience. Will never attend one.

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  8. It probably a little embarrasing to admit that you went to one of these conferences but you have done a great deed by sharing your experience. It is very hard to find any information on speaker/registrant experiences and I think it is largely due to the embarrassment factor. Thank you again for sharing

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  9. Thanks for the positive messages. Hearing that people have been saved the pain (and expense) of a wasted conference has made me glad that I made the post.

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  10. Hi Richard,

    Thank you so much for posting this information about your experience with OMICS. I was recently invited to speak at the OMICS 2014 “International Conference on Computer Graphics & Media Design” and felt that a few things were "off". Having managed a speaker program myself, something about the communication did not seem right to me. I received a call and email from the organizer today who mentioned that I was accepted to be a guest speaker after submitting my abstract just 2 days ago. I was then requested AGAIN to send my abstract BUT I was already accepted??? Red Flag #2. Next, I asked about my speaker packet which still did not arrive but I was instructed to register for the conference right away - mind you the fee is $795. Typically a speaker is given an honorarium of some sort for their research, time and SME knowledge that they are sharing. In this case, I felt it was just about paying the registration fee. I will invest my $795 elsewhere. Thanks for the warning!

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  11. Hi Safia,

    I too was invited to speak at "“International Conference on Computer Graphics & Media Design” and felt that a few things were "off" as well. All of the other trade shows --- I was paid to speak. It is the first one I was required TO PAY to speak. I made a stink about it and was told "just pay $500 for the room and meals during the conference. I really didnt feel good about it. They gave me no way to contact them directly. I'm glad I didnt "register" after reading all your accounts...

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  12. I got an invitation from them too, listing a chapter in a book I wrote as a paper to a journal (of the same name as my book). Indeed, a bit "off". Thanks for confirming my suspicions and saving me the trouble of finding out later.

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  13. I've been invited to speak at 4 of their events this year.. sheesh

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  14. Hi Richard,

    Thanking you so much for your post.
    I am a research student in Glasgow university, we guys are looking forward to organise a conference.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, which will help us....

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  15. I was invited to be an 'honarable speaker' at 'Biosensors & Bioelectronics-2014'. I was immediately wary by the conference's odd self-description as 'specifically premeditated with a unifying axiom providing pulpit to widen the imminent scientific creations.' I am pretty sure I would not have accepted an invitation with this poorly written description, but finding your write up helped seal my decision to say no.

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    1. Wow! I think that description beats even the felicitation of phenomenal and worthy oral presentations!

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  16. Thanks for this! I was just invited to do a HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections conference by these guys and was very curious. First heads up was that their email ws in my spam, but that happens. A couple of glances at Web postings, including this one, and I guess I will forgo the trip to Las Vegas on this one.

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  17. Hi Richard and thank you for putting together such a detailed and informative description. I was invited as a guest speaker at the "3rd International Conference and Exhibition on Metabolomics & Systems Biology" in San Antonio TX in late March 2014.. The organizers used a bit odd language in their communication with me, but I managed to get a discount and I decided to venture out from Boston to San Antonio.
    The organization of the conference was total shockingly chaotic. I am stunned that I pretty much experienced everything that Richard experienced. Jam-packed talks with insufficient breaks. A waste of time of about 30 minutes to take that group photo. The photographer who was annoyingly getting several pictures of every single speaker and distracted the audience. I felt sorry for the scientists who were scheduled to chair the 9-12 morning session of the first day. The chair people of the afternoon sessions did not show up and the poor scientists ended up, to their dismay, chairing till all day till 6pm.
    We were lucky that we went first for lunch at the second day. The attendants from the 4th International Conference and Exhibition on Pharmaceutics & Novel Drug Delivery Systems, another Omics conference running in parallel, joined us in the same room, but there were no tables available for them. At the same time, the rep from AB Sciex was delivering a presentation (in vain I am afraid) amidst a bustling and hungry audience. Commotion and complain about this disorganization surely filled that dining room. Needless to say that I also receive a Certificate of Recognition for my phenomenal and worthy oral presentation, as everybody else did! I am glad I had rejected their requests to become a sponsor and enroll in the organizing committee.
    Some of the speakers (especially of the last day) never showed up and some others presented slides that had nothing to do with metabolomics. I am still puzzled as to what "metabolomics syndrome" may mean, which is still listed among the highlights of the 2015 conference (http://metabolomicsconference.com/2015/). Some of my research has been related to the metabolic syndrome, but if a "metabolomics syndrome" exists, maybe I should start working on it. I maybe become a pioneer or what if I already suffer from it? 
    On the positive side, I met some rather interesting researchers and this conference, despite of its disorganized nature, could provide a springboard for lower-tier scientists to showcase their research. I have been invited to the organizing committee of the 2015 conference in Philadelphia, which I ignored. On a second thought, if the Omics folks agree to waive the registration and accommodation fees, I may just go and invest these 3 days to help as much as I can to put together a decent conference. The food was very good, the drinks/coffee and snacks were abundant and yummy and the room was quite decent. Hilton was near the airport which greatly facilitated access to and from it. The small size of the conference could potentially enable participation and networking, but the insufficient breaks and the non-sorted by topics talks made it rather challenging.
    Overall, I have a disappointing feeling about this conference and I will never attempt to publish anything with their journals. That being said, I encourage people to stay out of it, unless they are willing to devote some time to help in the organization and lower their standards as far attending a conference aiming at advancing science.

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    1. Thanks, Nick. If you are willing, I would quite like to repost your comment as a new post, as the message is clearly still not out there enough and OMICS Group are not learning from (and/or caring about) the negative feedback.

      I'm not sure about people but I reckon I have seen some paper submissions that suffer from "metabolomics syndrome"!

      As for Philadelphia 2015... if you know a cohort of people that would be likely to go then perhaps the Omics Group "organisation" could be harnessed for good. Personally, I wouldn't even consider lending my name to their organising committee unless (1) they waived all fees, as you suggest; (2) I'd already got interest from members of the research community to hijack the conference and make it good; (3) Omics agreed not to accept all submissions for talks without some kind of selection process and (4) They agreed to rearrange the program and make it more like a proper conference in terms of the talks:breaks:photos ratio.

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  18. I'm not trying to be a dick, but how gullible do you have to be to read their invitation and NOT think that it's a banana republic scam? Seriously! I'm leaving science for finance because science worships the almighty PhD process so much and I don't have time for that, but I'm surprised by how out of touch PhDs are. I just published my sixth paper, first time as corresponding author, and I got ten invitations from these guys. This is common sense, I didn't think people actually WENT to these!

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    1. Yes. Had I done a little research then I don't think I would have been so naive. (And had I not recognised at least one of the names speaking, I probably would not have given the conference a second glance.) There is a bit of a cycle by which enough people are duped each year for the conference to keep running and look genuine/successful. This post aims to help break that cycle. I'm not sure that such scams (and mistakes) are particularly unique to science but I think that scientists traditionally are a fairly trusting bunch (of institutions, not results!) and therefore maybe more prone to be suckered by bare-faced scams. I don't know whether to be happy that the younger generation are more suspicious regarding motives of publishers and conference organisers, or sad that they need to be. Both, maybe.

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  19. In retrospect, I also want to point out that you're amazingly brave and doing the world a great service by sharing your experience, though I think you still give the group a little too much credit. Kudos. This is unambiguously a predatory group with no interest in science, and I feel bad for non-native English speakers who might miss all the cues.

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  20. Serious researchers I know have been publishing in OMICS. Therefore I spent some time giving OMICS a chance to prove serious as publisher. I would like to share my experience as a peer-reviewer. Others must decide if OMICS is a scam, phishing or a serious publisher.
    My OMICS experience
    1. OMICS group keep sending mails with requests for reviewing articles in fields that are in no way related to my academic profile.
    2. They have never answered to any mail
    3. The telephone number seems to be a answering service
    4. Looking for the address on google results in a 2 store residential bungalow
    5. Reviews does not seem to be taken into account. Manuscript errors are not corrected but published.
    6. Negative reviews are met by a kind mail that "your service is no longer needed"
    7. Their journals are not indexed in Pubmed nor have impact factors
    8. I would like to know if the ISSN & DOI numbers are real?
    It would be nice not to leave it to the the exclusive rights of Thompson Reuters to decide weather to trust publishers and to save time (and money).
    And the OMICs is just one of many!!!

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    1. @Rune, just to clarify, do you know serious researchers publishing in OMICS journals? Or are they publishing in "OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology", which I think is a real journal and nothing to do with the OMICS Group. I would certainly have nothing to do with ANY arm of the OMICS Group and strongly discourage others from doing so.

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  21. Thank you Richard. Been invited today to join a conference organising committee so decided to google 'complaints' about the company concerned. Your blog has answered my questions.

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  22. ON a different note, I just got a LINKEDIN invite from a OMICS conference co-ordinator....guess I will have to print my own vanity certificate.

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    1. @Paladin2010: I too received a LinkedIn invite to speak at the...

      'International Conference and Exhibition on Lung Disorders & Therapeutics'

      I became concerned when the gentleman started addressing me as "Dr." - a title which I do not carry nor pretend to in my profile.

      I became further concerned when I was reminded to submit my abstract and bio so I could...

      "...avail the special discount & benefits on registration & accommodation..."

      I am now bolstered in my resolve to reposition my interest based on their commitment to cover my travel expenses. And since I'm guessing that's not an option, I can rest at ease that I won't be traveling east to see my family in July 2015 as part of a speaking engagement.

      Thanks again @Richard, for posting your experience.

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    2. I think they rely on people with other reasons to visit the host cities! They certainly didn't bother with organising any social events or dinners.

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  23. Here's what I wrote to them after I received a suspicious email:

    "Thanks!
    I’m confused. Please clarify the topic you would want me to talk on.
    Also, please let me know if you will take care of registration, accommodation and travel expenses."


    Here's their (unsolicited) email to me:

    Greetings from Lung 2015.

    We, on behalf of Conference Organizing Committee, would be honoured to welcome your Plenary Session Speaker participation for the conference.
    International Conference and Exhibition on Lung Disorders & Therapeutics July 13-15, 2015 Double Tree by Hilton Baltimore - BWI Airport, Maryland, USA.

    Based on your eminence and expertise working in the related field, we will be pleasured to meet your Speaker presentation at the conference proceedings. The topics to be discussed at the conference sessions http://lung.conferenceseries.com/abstract-submission.php


    Speaker Benefits:
    Abstracts to be published in International Journals
    Slot for symposium speaker presentation with your team
    Chairing a Symposium session
    Free group Poster enrollment for your students
    Please let us know your interest to be a speaker at this international event and hence would be interested to send you more details on your acceptance.

    Let us know if any assistance required.

    We will be awaiting for your response


    Sincerely,
    Robert Williams
    Lung 2015
    Organizing Committee Assistant
    Medical Conferences
    P 650 268 9744, 702 508 5202 (Alvin Oscar)
    T 1800 216 6499
    E lung@omicsgroup.com

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  24. Here's their garbage reply (can't they at least mind grammar?)... Note the audacity "... I would be kind to inform you...":

    Greetings. Thank you for your query.
    We will be glad to inform you that Lung 2015 is an International Conference anticipating top class researchers and eminent from all over the world. The gathering will include Researchers, Scholars, Scientists, Practitioners, Clinicians, Treatment Care Therapists, Students, Young Researchers and industrial delegates making a successful event at the conference venue in Baltimore.
    As per your query for conference expenses I would be kind to inform you that our committee do have some supportive funds for our eminent members and will be approved by the committee members based on the abstract proposal submitted by the speakers.
    Hence, I request you to send the title of your talk (Select the topic of your interest related to Lung 2015 conference) that you will be presenting at our conference proceeding and abstract (250 words) along with your short biography (150 words) as per the attached abstract template, so that we can forward the proposal to our committee members. This will enable us to inform more about your participation support and discount details.
    We would be awaiting to receive your abstract as soon as possible, so that we can inform you about the further proceedings.
    More details about conference topics visit : http://lung.conferenceseries.com/call-for-abstracts.php
    Please feel free to mail us for any further queries. We will be happy to help you.
    Sincerely,
    Robert Williams
    Lung 2015
    P: 650-268-9744, 702-508-5202 (Alvin Oscar)
    T: 1800-216-6499
    E: lung@omicsgroup.com

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    1. This made me laugh: "The gathering will include Researchers, Scholars, Scientists, Practitioners, Clinicians, Treatment Care Therapists, Students, Young Researchers and industrial delegates." If the conference that I attended is anything to go by, there will be about 5 of each - although of course many of these are duplicate categories! Why not just "Scientists, Practitioners, and industrial delegates"? Because OMICS have no idea what anyone in the real world of science and medicine actually does...

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  25. My reply to them:

    1) One glance at the conference topics makes it apparent that whoever thought of putting those up has NO CLUE WHATSOEVER what these are all about.
    2) I am curious why I should pay, even if at a ‘discount’ rate, for attending a ‘conference’ not at all known in our circles, for which YOU have invited me as an ‘Honorable Speaker’ in your first email.
    3) Your email is suspicious on more counts than one. [a] It has pathetic grammar [b] Why would Robert Williams, having contact phones to Alvin Oscar write to me at 4:16 am? The time stamps show that the email originated in Indian Standard Time. So is Robert Williams cooling his heels in Hyderabad?
    4) How did you get my email id? If you do not have a good explanation, I shall escalate this to our IT department and block your emails to ALL people here.
    Thanks for providing me an opportunity to chuckle,
    ROFL,
    Sunad

    PS: Minimal research on the internet reveals reviews about predatory practices of the OMICS Group. Here’s the Wikipedia link, FYI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OMICS_Publishing_Group.

    Let's see if they have the gall to reply back

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    1. I'd be surprised but interested if they did. They never replied to my post-conference email. It is noticeable that their most recent attempts (see two posts in March 2015) had almost no visible sign of being from OMICS - I am guessing that they know their brand is becoming toxic. I wonder at what point this toxicity will outweigh the perceived benefit of it being the 3rd/5th/7th Whatever Conference - or whether they'll find some weasily way to rebrand but maintain their conference history.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Both you and I Richard, would be surprised to see any official reply from these hoaxers! You are right that they do not include OMICS in the e-mail, but it is apparent once you click on the links the include in their e-mails.

      Here is the latest e-mail I received from them on March 20, 2015.

      Dear Dr. Nick ...,

      Greetings!!!

      Hope you are doing great.

      This mail is in regards regarding to confirm your participation at Metabolomics-2015. Kindly confirm your participation as early as a possible.

      If you’re interested in presenting the talk kindly submit your abstract by on or before March 30, 2015.

      Kindly get register on or before April 6, 2015. Please find the link for registration: http://metabolomicsconference.com/registration.php

      Please find the tentative program enclosed to the mail till date.

      We look forward to seeing you at Philadelphia.

      Awaiting your reply.

      Sincerely,
      Isaac Samuel
      Metabolomics-2015
      metabolomics@conferenceseries.net
      Ph: 702.508.5203


      On the "call for abstracts" field on their website, they mention:

      "4th International Conference and Exhibition on Metabolomics & Systems Biology, will be organized around the theme "Metabolomics Technology and Omics Sciences - A Roadmap for Advanced Research Initiatives ."
      Metabolomics-2015 is comprised of 12 tracks and 79 sessions designed to offer comprehensive sessions that address current issues in Metabolomics-2015.
      Submit your abstract to any of the following tracks. All related abstracts are accepted.
      Register now for the conference by choosing an appropriate package suitable to you."


      This is ridiculous! 79 sessions in a 3-day conference that has a total of 32 speakers in the agenda! This is for the laughs! Do I need to say more about their gimmicks?

      Delete
    2. "Submit your abstract to any of the following tracks. All related abstracts are accepted."

      Everything you need to know about quality right there.

      Delete
    3. You are right! I guess I was so dumbfounded and utterly impressed with the 79 sessions, that I missed this "all abstracts are accepted"! LOL!

      Delete
  27. Thanks Richard Edwards

    We have been getting constant request from OMICS journals to write papers or review for them. but before answering them we checked on internet and did not find anything good about them, and here your article explained everything in details. I would thank you for saving our time and energy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am also grateful to Ricard for posting his experience with the OMICS group. I was invited and attended one of their events in April of 2013, which was a landmark of disorganization! I do not think you are going to miss any important science by not reviewing for them.

      Delete
  28. Contact their service providers, the companies that host their websites and/or email addresses. I keep getting email from the omics group, despite asking to be removed from their mailing lists, so this clearly constitutes spam. Many service providers take this seriously and will act by fining or suspending the services if they are found to be in violation of their terms of service.
    Thank you, Richard, for having the courage and wherewithal to post about your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you Richard
    Having had my first paper published in January this year, I have been inundated with invitations from Omics group to submit papers, join editorial boards and speak at conferences all over the globe! The first couple looked tempting (being naïve and keen to develop my profile), then the next came, and the next....and so on- ALL recognising my expertise, which was interesting, as the fields I was now seemingly and expert in were totally unknown to me and unrelated to my research!
    Further, the form and content of each email was identical- except for the nonsensical hyperbole and ever more bizarre publication titles. All this suggested that Omics group were not to be trusted, but I am very grateful to have this confirmed by your blog. This is the most recent invitation received yesterday- the first and last lines of the disclaimer are particularly ironic

    Dear Dr. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    Greeting from of Health Care-2015,


    We came across your contribution entitled “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" thought your expertise would be an excellent fit for Health Care-2015 Conference.


    On behalf of Health Care-2015 Organizing Committee, We would like to solicit your gracious presence as a speaker at the upcoming International Conference on "Euro Health Care and Fitness Summit" (Health Care-2015) scheduled on September 01-03, 2015 at Valencia, Spain.


    Health Care-2015 is a specially designed cluster conference. This conference is organized around the theme “Fitness is a Healthy Habit for a Wealthy Living”, which covers a wide range of critically important sessions from basic research to latest innovations in the field of Health and Fitness.

    For more details please refer http://healthcare.global-summit.com/europe/
    Submit your abstract at http://healthcare.global-summit.com/europe/abstract-submission.php
    To Download the Brochure, please Click Here




    Please reply to this e-mail for any further assistance.
    We appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.


    Regards

    Jennifer Leny
    Program Manager
    Health Care-2015
    5716 Corsa Ave., Suite110
    Westlake, Los Angeles
    CA 91362-7354, USA
    P:+1-650-268-9744
    F:+1-650-618-1414
    E-mail: eurowomenhealthcare@conferenceseries.net


    Disclaimer: This is not a spam message, and has been sent to you because of your eminence in the field. If, however, you do not want to receive any email in future from Euro Healthcare-2015 then reply us with the subject “remove /unsubscribe”. We concern for your privacy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are indeed a concern for your privacy.

      Delete
  30. Can any body knows about GRDS (Global Research and Development Service)? I have got an acceptance to present my paper in London and I am going to spend my large money for that? I am afraid if they are the same as OMIC? Please, help.
    Regards,
    Mehwish Hussain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I recommend checking the conference journal at Phil Beale's list of predatory publishers: http://scholarlyoa.com/. Otherwise, just ask yourself a few questions: (1) Did they approach you? (2) Did they accept your paper without any apparent peer review or selection process? (3) Do you recognise any of the speakers or conference organisers? (4) Is there anyone presenting who makes you excited about attending? If the answers to 1 & 2 are "Yes" and/or the answers to 3&4 are "No", I would save your money.

      Delete
  31. Thank you for the post. I have been invited via Linkedin as a speaker to "Satellite-2015" in Houston and yes, something was "off" (short notification period, grammar, organizing committee, never-heard-of conference). Now I know that not attending has been the good choice.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for the post.I was also invited and ffinally decided not to go because I found some strange facts. I am living so far in Indonesia so I am really happy to know this confirmation.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I attended a confererence on Aug 24-26 2015 (Geriatrics and Geriantology) in Toronto and had the same experiences as Richard . This is two years later. Someone is making big money. This is a scam.
    Note to all:
    If you call up,your credit card companies and complain that the conference was not up to standards , they may be able to do something about it. At least it may blacklist this conference organization. But you have to do it right away.
    We cannot let these people (or person) get away with this type of unprofessional and sloppy practices.

    Greetings from Geriatrics-2015!!

    We are glad for your interest towards 2nd International Conference on Geriatrics & Gerontology. Please find the attached payment receipt towards your registration.

    For any further assistance please feel free to contact us

    Best regards,
    James Parker
    Geriatrics-2015 Operating Committee
    OMICS Group Conferences
    2360 Corporate Circle, Suite 400
    Henderson, NV 89074-7722, USA
    Phone:+1-650-353-9744
    Fax:+1-650-618-1417
    Toll free:+1-800-216-6499
    E-mail: geriatrics@omicsgroup.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. They are in indeed a scam. They will accept any abstract submitted. If you want a bit of a laugh, ready this recent piece about these scammers.
    http://surgicalopinion.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/if-you-pay-omics-will-play-all.html

    ReplyDelete
  35. I wish I googled reviews about the Omic conference before now. I actually made payment for the foodsafety conference in Birmingham August 2015. But by April it became apparent I will not be able to attend, I asked for a refund and here I am since then sending several follow-up emails with no luck. Some of my emails go for months on end with no acknowledgement or response and when there's a response it's usually sneaky excuses. I am so frustrated. Space would not permit me to display some of my correspondence with 'foodsafety 2015'

    ReplyDelete
  36. Richard, Thank you for saving me a lot of time and expense. You have done great service with your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi,

    I have just read your reviews. I am currently waiting in the departures lounge. I had a feeling things were not going well for the conferenced when they asked me to do a Keynote Speech as well as give the opening speech about the conference. I am a bit concerned and do not know what would be the best thing to do? Having booked the hotel and conference and flight, I feel I should go through with it. Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure that you can get your money back if you pull out, so you might as well attend and then go AWOL if it is bad. (And possibly get your University to pressure OMICS for a refund if the conference is not as advertised.) As you are giving the opening speech, my fear is that you will end up chairing the entire conference - this is what happened to the opening speaker at the conference I attended. I would also recommend boycotting the group photo to minimise your association with the conference.

      As "Centres of Expertise" says, hopefully the location is nice and you can enjoy the area. And please do report back if you attend!

      Delete
  38. This must be disappointing for you. If you have now left you may as well make the most of it or at least enjoy the location. If you do decide to go ahead, please update us on the event. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Unfortunately, I have had a very bad experience with them, as well. In fact, I presented for them in 2013, and since then, they have been using my name as "Program Manager".

    When I presented, they wanted me to pay for their "conference" fee (something on the lines of $2500)...BUT they contacted me!!!...as "esteemed", as I was.

    After HOURS of negotiating with them, they wanted me to pay for "only one day", as I could only attend the session that I was to present...then, again...HOURS of negotiating for no charge. In fact, I was able to negotiate them to cover my hotel room...BUT WHEN I SHOWED UP...there was no hotel room available...they wanted me to room with a total stranger...and for me to pay the hotel room!

    I have contacted them both verbally and written to request that they stop using my name (last name is VERY RARE) . Additionally, have also contacted a lawyer. It appears that they are out of India.

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  40. My experience: I've asked them to remove me from their journal editorial boards (without much success) and now those 'journals' are sponsoring OMIC conferences too. They carry on sending emails without acknowledging that you don't want to be involved in their journals or their conferences.

    ReplyDelete
  41. tell where omics group international journal is fake or not...??????
    i am still confused

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on your definition of "fake". They have "real" journals in the sense that they exist. However, they are not genuine peer-reviewed journals as the peer review system they employ has been shown to be somewhere between highly flawed and non-existent. This does not make the papers in OMICS Group journals necessarily wrong - they might be OK despite the lack of peer review - but it does have a negative impact on their credibility.

      My advice is this: (1) Never publish with OMICS Group. There are many fine journals out there and the scientific world has no need for any OMICS Group journals; (2) If you *have* published with OMICS Group, I would consider retracting your paper and resubmitting it with a reputable journal where it might actually get reviewed, read and cited.

      Delete
  42. Thank you for sharing your experience!
    They contacted me as well to be a speaker for one of their, well, let's call it "gatherings". The fact that I have not published any paper at all in my life and that I do not have a PhD either made me question whether one should consider me as an expert in any field...
    First I thought I might have some kind of "twin" doing research on parasites, but my name is quite rare and I could not find anyone on Pubmed. Then I found your blog and finally understood what they are up to. I am still wondering where they found my email contact data, but I am glad I read about your experiences before answering them (and thus confirming my contact data)!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you from me as well. I have just been invited to speak at the 5th International Conference on Biodiversity in Madrid despite not having submitted an abstract. The email looked off, and on googling omics, I found your post - thank you for the warning! I did a quick look on the website, and apparently I would have paid over $1000 for the privilege of speaking.

    ReplyDelete
  44. What would be the best way of taking legal action when scammed? This group published my abstract after i declined their offer. it is online and getting many hits even though this isn't something i intended to publicly share. This is serious misconduct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my case, not only did thry publish my abstract, but they posted the video of my presentation in their OMICS conference.
      I would suggest you contact the Legal Dept of your University or Industry and show them the e-mail exchange you had with OMICS and see if you can press charges to them.

      Delete
    2. I agree with Nick. See if your university legal department has the courage to put pressure on them. If you sued, it would be a great public service. In the meantime, hit social media and spread the word of their dishonesty. We need to name and shame this company into oblivion.

      Delete
    3. @neutoacholic have u went to the conference? and how they published just abstract? it should be full article...

      I am worried thats why asking...I have submitted abstract for oral presentation and they accepted it as they always do :-p ..But i havnt sent full article...so can they publish only my abstract? as i am going to publish my full article in other journal....Help needed...

      Delete
    4. Secondly i contacted one of the organising committee members whether they can give some insight whether to go or not. and I asked from him that OMIC incoming conference in Spain is real or not....here was his reply It is real, but I cannot attend.
      I F Brockington

      Delete
  45. I just got an invitation from OMICS and felt something was not right. Thanks for sharing your experience it clarifies a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thank you for your post Richard. You saved me much time, money, and disappointment. They are marketing through Linked In, so watch out! I agree that the science community has a sense of trust and integrity with regards to scholarly presentations. Sad that this feature has the propensity for exploit via scams. Scammers now are also posing as insurance firms as well...ugh! No escape.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Unfortunately I have registered my self for pharmacy conference 2016 which will be held I July 2o16...wish I saw this blog before registrtion....what u suggest should i go for this conference

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you haven't paid and/or you haven't yet bought flights and accommodation, cancel your registration. If you have paid, seek advice from your university about getting your money back.

      Delete
  49. Hi, I submitted a paper to one of omics open access journals 2 months ago. I got a speedy response from their 'peer review' process. they requested some minor changes, which I was happy to complete, 2 days after resubmitting, I got an invoice for 2019US dollars, which shocked me because on their website it detailed charges of just 900 dollars. When I enquired about this I got some excuse about omics being in the process of updating their website and that they were going to update their price lists. In my country this would amount to false advertising, I am not sure if the same rules apply in the US. I am not even sure if the individual that I was dealing with was even based in the US, as their level of English was so poor (this was one of the things that set alarms bells off in my head). What really kills me now is that just this morning my finance dept has already wired payment for this publication to their bank account, so I think there is very little likelihood that they will refund me if I tried to retract my manuscript. I think it is absolutely disgraceful that Omics is allowed to act in such a manner. My experience and after reading many other similar stories/blogs today , has turned me off publishing in open access journals (having read some very negative articles this next regarding other OA journals such as Frontiers). I like the idea of OA, but the monetary value associated with publishing/conferences opens it up to major abuse.

    ReplyDelete
  50. They have illegally opened up a LinkedIn account and Facebook account in my name. I have tried reaching out to them to remove me from their website and any other social media accounts. It appears that they are in Las Vegas (though they have an address in Los Angeles). The calls; however, come from India. I have contacted a lawyer about this; however, there is little we can do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have opened up a LinkedIn and Facebook account in your name?? How did they manage to do that? I am sorry this happened to you.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  51. They have started chasing me up via facebook. Wanted my phone number too in order to invite me to speak at a conference. This goes beyond the usual email invites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very sorry they have been preying after you! I hope the lawyer can give you some sound advice how to handle this.

      Delete
  52. I am really worried that we lost money on this event coming up in Aug 29th - 31st. For the World congress on Midwifery and Women's Health 2016.

    If this is a legitimate World Congress, all the itinerary and hotel bookings have already been sent and/or emailed.
    Up to this point, we have not heard anything back from the Coordinator Diana Flores about the details and it's a month away.
    I don't want to say anything yet to my mom who has submitted her thesis etc as a renowned speaker. I don't know if we should go back to paypal and get the $1100 refunded back.

    Any advise? Thanks so much.

    https://www.emedevents.com/conferenceview/united-states/georgia/atlanta/medical-conferences-2016/world-congress-on-midwifery-and-women-s-health-2016-43247
    World congress on Midwifery and Women's Health 2016

    ReplyDelete
  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Wish I had read your blog post a bit earlier. I have registered for OMICS conference, I have to give a presentation, but now I don't know if it is worth it plus I ended up paying wrong (more) amount of registration fees, however the have decided to give on night accommodation.
    Although, I am Indian , but I strictly don’t approve of such sham from a group started by an Indian.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi, a quick update. There have been developments that may interest you all. The US Federal Trade Commission has taken an interest in “predatory” publishers and it seems to be the same company that runs these conferences. The full article is at: https://www.wired.com/2016/09/ftc-cracking-predatory-science-journals/

    Regards, Stephen.

    ReplyDelete
  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thank you for this. I will now be issuing a polite "decline" of the invitation to speak, and will not bother with the clarification request I was going to start with.

    ReplyDelete

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