7 tips to avoid hijacked journals

In an earlier post about hijacked journals, we discussed research suggesting that the existence of fraudulent journals that spoof legitimate journals is causing significant problems for the ranking of academics in parts of the world where awareness of the issue is not widely known. Now, the author of that post has a follow-up and related paper due to appear in the International Journal of Advanced Intelligence Paradigms on the fraudulent use of similar journal names.

Mehdi Dadkhah of the Department of Computer and Information Technology, at Foulad Institute of Technology, in Fouladshahr, Isfahan, Iran and colleagues there and in Bulgaria and India, explain that every day, the academic world is confronted with new challenges and possible scams and lack of information and awareness is a serious issue when searching for validated resources, such as journals. Previously, hijacked journals that phish academic authors under the pretext of offering them paid-for open access publication in fake journal has become apparent, as have bogus conferences and fraudulent impact factors.

“Journals are the most important academic resource for a researcher however certain unethical practices have come to light regarding authenticity of certain Journals,” the team says. “Journals with names that are similar to existing (and reputed) journals is one of the recently noted problem.”

The team offers a seven-point checklist for academics looking for a genuine journal in which to publish. If answers to any of these questions raises suspicions then authors should be extra vigilant in their due diligence before accepting a commission to submit a paper or submitting to such a journal speculatively.

From what source did you learn of the target journal, was it only via a commissioning email?

Does the journal have an academic editorial team whose members are well known in your field or are associated with genuine organizations and institutes?

Does the name of the journal match the address if it claims to be “British”, “European” or “American” does it have accredited offices in those places?

Does it use proprietary email addresses, such as those offered for free by search engines and internet service providers rather than an address tied to the company or organization’s website address?

Does it have a complete listing and links to archives of previous volumes of the journal?

If an impact factor is declared, a journal has to be at least 5 years old to have a valid metric from Thomson Reuters in their scheme, when was vol 1(1) of the target journal?

Does the journal cover many disparate fields of science but isn’t one of the well-known general journals?

The wary author will diligently check these various factors before accepting a commission and certainly before paying any publication fees. There is a growing number of hijacked and predatory journals around created by fraudsters and fake publishers as well as companies whose aggressive commissioning policies border on the criminal.

“Similar Names in Academic Literature as a Tools to Deceive Researchers”, Mehdi Dadkhah, Ashok K Shyam, Christova Bagdassarian, Mohammad Davarpanah Jazi , Int J Adv Intell Paradigms, in press

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.