31 Jan 2011

Who are WebmedCentral?

"It is our effort to instill more rapidity, accountability, and transparency into biomedical publishing". WebmedCentral

It is essential in biomedical publishing to be transparent and accountable. Indeed, this is something with which the publishers of WebmedCentral agree. However, on their website they only say that "We are a group of medical and management professionals with no affiliation to any major biomedical publishing group." As posted on their YouTube video by Larry Weisenthal,
"Transparency begins at home. This is one of the most opaque, allegedly scientific web sites I've ever seen. Can you imagine submitting a serious scientific paper to a black hole, where it's impossible to learn the names of the publisher, editors, contributing editors, etc.?"
We know what WebmedCentral is, but who are they?

Their address is Suite 250, 162-168 Regent Street, London W1B 5TD, UK, but this is a P.O. Box set up by completeformations.co.uk. The whois details reveal nothing because the domain was registered by Luxembourgian company PrivacyProtect.org. More searching reveals their IP address, hosted by Liquid Web Inc. in Lansing, Michigan. WebmedCentral are on Twitter, but have only tweeted twice and give no more details. Messages were posted to newsgroups on behalf of WebmedCentral in August 2010 by a Michael Carr and a John Williams, but no contact details are given and searching for people by those names does not turn up any leads.

WebmedCentral advertised for freelancers on Elance, where they revealed in June 2009 that "We are a group of doctors based in Newcastle upon tyne." A small lead, but we can do better. Companies in the UK are registered with Companies House, and WebmedCentral is no exception. Their operating name is WEBMED LIMITED, aka WEBMED PVT LTD. and they have the registered number 07436770. This company gives the same address as given on the website, confirming that it is the correct organisation. Companies need to file certificates of incorporation and to name directors. Indeed, Webmed Ltd. was incorporated on 10 November 2010.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, I can reveal the names of the directors of Webmed Limited. These directors also run WebmedCentral, as confirmed by the contents of test manuscripts visible via Google. They are three NHS hospital doctors and a management consultant based in the North of England:
Publications and comments like Kumar G, Mahawar KK. The number of authors in articles published in three general medical journals. National Medical Journal of India 2007 Mar-Apr; 20(2): 101-2, Peer Review Practices in Biomedical Literature: A Time for Change?, Who publishes in leading general surgical journals? The divide between the developed and developing worlds, this reply to an article, and a letter to the Lancet show that they've obviously put a lot of thought into how to reform peer review and publishing.

Drs Mahawar, Malviya, Kejariwal, Mr Jain, you should be proud of launching a site that aims to reform biomedical publishing. Why hide away?


pj said...

Very interesting. It's quite impressive that a bunch of registrars have managed to launch a website like this, you have to wonder how they found the time and if they'll be able to maintain it.

Jackpoint GmbH said...

It must be an Indian company. The domain is actually not registerred through privacyprotect.org, but by DIRECTI INTERNET SOLUTIONS PVT. LTD.
see http://who.is/whois/webmedcentral.com/

"Pvt. Ltd." is a copmany status accronym found in India only.

Matt Hodgkinson said...

Jackpoint, Directi is a web hosting company. We know Webmed Ltd. is a British company because I found the company registration details and the directors are based in the UK.

The website was re-designed by an Indian company, Tech4Sys. Perhaps that's why it is listed as being hosted with an Indian company.

Matt Hodgkinson said...

http://www.webmedcentral.com/about_us now says that "Webmed Limited, UK is owned and managed by Kamal Mahawar (Consultant General Surgeon in UK), Deepak Kejariwal (Consultant Gastroenterologist in UK), and Manish Jain (Management Consultant in UK)" and there is now a 14-strong Advisory Board http://www.webmedcentral.com/advisory/advisory_members