Scientists can now check whether a journal website has been cloned before submitting their manuscript.
Hijacked journals — scam websites that impersonate legitimate titles — have duped unsuspecting researchers out of author fees for years. Now, a tool will help researchers to check the validity of titles they are considering before they submit their work.
Hijacked journals are another way in which unwary researchers and assessors can be duped. It is not always easy if a title is a hijacked clone of a reputable title. This Nature piece discusses a fantastic new service/tool from the Retraction Watch team. We are massive fans of the work of the Retraction Watch and we all should be immensely grateful for their contribution to excellent practice in the Research Integrity space.
The tool’s creators say that it could help to prevent researchers being fooled by fake journal websites. But others say that simply listing affected titles might not be enough to address the problem, which is exacerbated by broader issues in scholarly publishing.
Hijacked journals usually exist in the form of ‘cloned’ websites that appear similar to those of the legitimate journals, but contain subtle changes in the web domain that go unnoticed at first glance. Some of these bogus journals also have hijacked International Standard Serial Numbers, or ISSNs — eight-digit codes used to identify periodicals — and some are indexed in mainstream bibliometric databases such as Scopus. Although they look similar to the real journal and collect fees from would-be authors, these publications do not peer review submitted manuscripts, and only sometimes actually publish them.