An academic has cried foul after a paper that plagiarised his work was rejected by one open access journal, only to be published by another in the same stable.
Paul Gill, a postgraduate research training coordinator and senior research fellow at the University of South Wales, was asked in 2012 to review a paper for the Journal of Nephrology and Therapeutics, part of the Omics Group.
However, when he read the paper, “A patient’s psychological experience of kidney transplant failure” by Greek researcher Paraskevi Theofilou, he discovered that, in his estimation, it was about 90 per cent identical to a paper he had co-authored and published in 2009, “The kidney transplant failure experience: a longitudinal case study”, in the journal Progress in Transplantation.
When Dr Gill pointed this out to the Journal of Nephrology and Therapeutics’ editor-in-chief, Lavjay Butani, professor and chief of paediatric nephrology at the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital, the paper was rejected and Dr Theofilou was removed from the journal’s editorial board.
However, when Dr Gill checked last month, he discovered that virtually the same paper had then been published in 2012 in another Omics Group journal, Open Access Scientific Reports (not to be confused with Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports open access journal).
After Dr Gill contacted the journal, it appears to have removed the paper from its website. However, he has heard nothing from the journal and no retraction notice has been posted.
Srinubabu Gedela, managing director of Omics Group, said Dr Theofilou’s paper had been “rejected”. He added that he hoped she had been “removed from Omics Group journals’ editorial boards”, and promised to investigate.
Omics Group claims on its website to publish more than 400 open access journals. Last year, it reportedly threatened to sue Jeffrey Beall, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s Auraria Library, for including it on his list of “potential, possible or probable predatory…publishers”.
Dr Theofilou did not respond to an emailed request for a comment.
However, in an email to Dr Gill after the rejection of her paper by the Journal of Nephrology and Therapeutics, she admitted to having used his paper as “a resource” and having failed to cite it. But she denied fabricating data or intending to deceive.
According to Retraction Watch, Dr Theofilou had seven papers retracted last year from Europe’s Journal of Psychology – published by the Leibniz-Institute for Psychology Information in Trier, Germany – for breaching its rules on “plagiarism and redundant or concurrent publication”. She is nevertheless still listed as a member of the editorial board of at least five Omics Group journals.
“In the era of impact and citations, it’s possible that Dr Theofilou has received citations over the last two years that legitimately belong to us,” Dr Gill said. “Journals that publish research papers with little or no appropriate publication scrutiny…have the potential to undermine academic dissemination.”