We are not talking about journals that got in trouble for publishing Incorrect information that is most likely correct. Or information that, whether correct or not, happens to be controversial. Those types are soon dealt with.
Nor are we talking about the usual parade of dodges and citation/review scams, or the sinkhole of manufacturing studies to “prove” what is already believed on poor evidence.
No, we mean Up the Jolly Roger! This from From Science:
According to a tip sent to Science, fraudsters are snatching entire Web addresses, known as Internet domains, right out from under academic publishers, erecting fake versions of their sites, and hijacking their journals, along with their Web traffic.
Website spoofing has been around since the rise of Internet search engines, but it’s only in the past few years that scholarly journals have been targeted. The usual method is to build a convincing version of a website at a similar address—www.sciencmag.org rather than www.sciencemag.org—and then drive Web traffic to the fake site. But snatching the official domain is an insidious twist: Unsuspecting visitors who log into the hijacked journal sites might give away passwords or money as they try to pay subscriptions or article processing fees. And because the co-opted site retains the official Web address of the real journal, how can you tell it’s fake?
So if you think you’ve been discovered, don’t offer cash or credit:
LONG IGNORED by the criminal underworld, academic journal websites are finally getting noticed. One reason is the sheer scale of today’s online publishing—more than 2 million digital articles were published by more than 20,000 journals last year. Another may be the money changing hands. Most of this $10 billion industry is still tied up with subscriptions, paid primarily by libraries, but a growing slice comes from gold open-access publishing, the business model in which authors of accepted papers pay up front for their publication. This part of the market took in about $250 million last year and is on course to double in a few years. That cash flow and the amateurish website administration of many scholarly publishers make for juicy targets. More.
That figures. Old boys’ clubs almost never stand a chance against enterprising villain.
But hey, think of the comic film potential… screenplay!! Screenplay!!
Did a film ever get made of Sherlock Holmes detects who perp’d the Piltdown Man fraud? Naw, too sensitive.
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