The 36th International Conference on Dentistry and Dental Marketing – How I Stumbled Upon The World of Fake Conferences
A little while back, I received this private message via linkedin.
“That’s awesome!” I thought to myself… until I paused for a moment and came to the realization that I haven’t made any “unparalleled contributions to this field”
And although I’d like to think that my blog/video content is pretty top notch. I doubt it would ever secure me a spot as a Keynote Speaker at a summit that has been a tradition for at least 35 times prior.
Shields up, Red Alert! Set phasers to skeptical.
A few other red flags include the fact that ‘Katie’ or ‘Ketie’ seemed to have a difficult time spelling her own name correctly, as well as some odd grammatical errors interspersed throughout the message; Reminiscent of Nigerian Prince scams that reside in my overflowing spam folder. So the skeptic in me decided to go digging.
The first logical stop would be to consult Google:
Looks pretty legit, they’ve got listings on Howard.edu, Eventbrite, Boston.com, even a Facebook page!
A few odd names stood out in the search results: conferenceseries.com, omicsonline.org, and omicsgroup.com.
My next search term was “conferenceseries.com scam”, and BOOM! Down the rabbit hole we go:
Huffington Post, New York Times, ResearchGate, ABC Australia, The Ottawa Citizen, Wikipedia etc.. It appears that the company OMICS, an “open access” publisher, operates in a predatory manner. It’s all a scam. In fact, the FTC filed a lawsuit against the OMICS group in August of 2016 for their deceptive tactics.
The scam goes like this: OMICS has one of their representatives contact a potential candidate. The recruiter, waxing poetic about their “unparalleled contributions to the field”, tries to assure the potential target that this is legitimate and peer-reviewed. The poor target, too self-absorbed with their own aura of success, then proceeds to PAY the organizer to be a keynote speaker at one of these fake conferences. The organizer simply rents a hotel, makes up a name and books a bunch of these fake conferences from all different scientific/medical disciplines at a single hotel venue.
Fortunately, the dental lab industry is not a field that absolutely requires academic distinguishment to advance in your career. In other scientific and medical fields however, people need to publish and lecture in order to advance professionally or to secure better jobs for themselves. These predatory practices prey on the vanity and naivety of people.
Beyond the monetary damages, it also dilutes the legitimacy of the peer-review and scientific process. OMICS falsely advertises industry experts as feature speakers who were never scheduled to appear. They do this simply to attract registrants and other “Keynote speakers”. Participants unknowingly spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to register and travel to these fake conferences.
Furthermore, investigations by Canadian news outlets like CTV News and The Toronto Star reveal that several Canadian medical journals are now owned by these predatory publishers. Those medical publishing companies, Andrew John Publishing and Pulsus Group were quietly scooped up by OMICS in 2016. Publications from these companies include: Plastic Surgery, the Canadian Journal of Pathology, the Canadian Journal of Optometry and the Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine. In some cases, editorial staff from the affected journals have either resigned or tried to wrestle away control from OMICS.
As an independent publication that stands on providing unbiased and reliable sources of information to our readership, DentalTechTips is appalled by the predatory practices of OMICS Publishing Group. I sincerely hope that this post will serve to shed some light on this seedy underbelly of the conference circuit.
Thanks for reading. Do you have a fake conference story to share? Have you been approached by OMICS group or any other predatory publishers? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it!