Predatory and Hijacked Journals: An Emerging Challenge for Progressive Physicists

Blog 20160309 Predatory and Hijacked Journals: An Emerging Challenge for Progressive Physicists

The Progressive Science Institute continues its international notoriety…

I was kindly invited to collaborate on a paper with Mehdi Dadkhah, a computer and information technology expert from Iran. Followers of this Blog, members of the Chappell Natural Philosophy Society, and all dissident physicists should be aware of this particular problem. Being opposed to regressive physics and cosmology, we generally have great difficulty getting published in mainstream journals. As such, we are targets for the scams mentioned in the paper.

This problem came to my attention after I had presented (and published) a paper in the Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance. I was invited to submit the paper to a philosophy journal I never heard of. The journal was just starting out and appeared to be from China. Aside from the double publication, which I usually avoid, this would have been a way to reach out to an international audience.

I am not afraid to publish in new journals. For instance, I published in the first volume of Quaternary Research,[1] which has been the leading journal in its field for 45 years. However, I was not aware of the problem of predatory journals. After, further CSI-type investigation, I found out that it was just a scam. The page charges were enormous and it was likely that no one in the field would ever read the paper. It was somewhat subtle in that the journal had already published some issues and had an editorial board (which I was invited to join).

Today we are faced with yet another scam. Like the phishing scams we get in emails, journal hijacking involves fake websites that look like those of well-respected journals. Here is the introduction to our paper:

“Much has been written about the problem of predatory journals, which encourage would-be authors to publish in unknown, poorly reviewed journals—for a price. There are websites that list such “journals,” offering a quick check on reliability. Mostly, these journals are distinguished by a lack of peer review and large volumes of publishing. Predatory journals also have extremely high acceptance rates and article publication charges. They usually have nonexistent impact factors because they are not indexed by Thomson Reuters. This is because, by not offering much useful information, such nondescript journals are seldom cited. Now, a new, even more pernicious scam has entered the realm of scholarly publication: hijacked journals. Hijacked journals are fake websites of authentic ones, utilizing the title and ISSNs of reputable journals. Compared with predatory journals, hijacked journals are more likely to receive papers from authors, because they mimic reputable journals, generally claiming the impact factors that those journals have earned from Thomson Reuters. Predatory journals often claim to have impact factors, but they usually have bogus metrics such as Universal Impact Factor, Global Impact Factor, and so on.”[2]

Note that “Impact Factors” now have become all the rage in scholarly publishing. The factors are calculated from such metrics as how often a paper is accessed, downloaded, and cited to establish importance. Presumably, the greater the number, the better the journal. The careers of assistant professors looking for tenure and researchers looking for grants are becoming increasingly dependent on Impact Factors. With those kinds of pressure, publishing in a predatory or hijacked journal is a complete waste of time.

[1] Borchardt, Glenn, Harward, M.E., and Schmitt, R.A., 1971, Correlation of volcanic ash deposits by activation analysis of glass separates: Quaternary Research, v. 1, p. 247-260.

[2] Dadkhah, Mehdi, and Borchardt, Glenn, 2016, Hijacked Journals: An Emerging Challenge for Scholarly Publishing: Aesthetic Surgery Journal. [ http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjw026 ]

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