Hijacked journals — scholarly journals whose identities are stolen and represented on counterfeit websites — are still victimizing researchers in some countries. Here is an update.
I maintain a list of hijacked journals, and it currently has over one hundred titles on it. Some of the links are dead, but I keep them on the list in case they reappear, and as a historical record.
Most of the victim journals are high-quality, regional journals. Most have legitimate impact factors, and the hijackers exploit this metric to attract prospective authors to the counterfeit websites.
One example is the Portuguese journal Ciência e Técnica Vitivinícola, which has been hijacked since 2014:
- Authentic journal website: http://www.ctv-jve-journal.org/
- Hijacked version website: http://ciencia-e-tecnica.org/
The authentic journal’s 2014 impact factor is 0.368. (The hijacked journal misrepresents this as 0.278).
The Editor-in-Chief of the authentic journal is José Silvestre, whom I had the honor of meeting last year. He tells me almost weekly receives an email from an author who’s been duped by the hijacked journal.
The victims’ countries are mainly in the Middle East, namely Egypt, Iran, Turkey. But we have some cases from South America and Russia.
Dr. Silvestre informs me hijacking is harming the reputation of the legitimate journal. The case has been reported to the authorities, but such cases are nearly impossible to investigate, much less prosecute.
In the few cases where attorneys have been successful in shutting down a hijacked journal’s internet domain, they have re-appeared almost immediately under a similar, but distinct URL.
Like predatory journals, hijacked journals attract article submissions using spam email. □