The scientific journal “Interciencia” has been hijacked by cyber-criminals - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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The scientific journal “Interciencia” has been hijacked by cyber-criminals

We were applying the working theory that some authors are foolish enough to become 'repeat victims' of the scam posed to academia by journal hijackers. 

We searched for people who had published in journals that were already identified as hijacked, to see where else they had published.  

This led us to “Interciencia” when we followed the chains of authorship through “Researchgate.net” and “Academia.edu.” 

We performed technical investigations of both the legitimate journal Interciencia (http://www.interciencia.org) and the suspicious website of “http://www.ivic-gob.org,” and we found that the prestigious Venezuelan journal Interciencia has been hijacked by cyber-criminals who created a counterfeit website that mimics the website of the legitimate journal. 

The hijacking of journals was detected and reported for the first time in the academic world in 2012, when the academic hoodlums hijacked Archives des Science, a Swedish journal, and Wulfenia, an Austriam journal (Jalalian, 2014). In 2012, cyber-criminals opened a new line in their business, i.e., hijacking reputable Thomson Reuters indexed journals, creating counterfeit websites for them, and sending huge numbers of call-for-paper spams to lecturers and postgraduate students all around the world (Buttler, 2012; Beall, 2012). 

They accept all manuscripts that are submitted and collect millions of dollars in article processing charges for publishing the un-reviewed manuscripts on their fake websites that have nothing to do with the legitimate journals (Jalalian and Mahboobi, 2014;  Kolata, 2013). The list of hijacked journals is growing rapidly throughout the world, with the reputable journal Interciencia being the 20th known case. 

The online gangsters, in their newest crime, registered a fake domain name “ivic-gob.org” for the authentic journal on March 25, 2014 (Domaintools, 2014). They already have published tens of un-reviewed articles on their fake website, unfortunately under the title of Interciencia. 

A sad story about the hijacking of the journal Interciencia is that no valid link to the authentic website of the journal is available from the master journal list of Thomson Reuters (Thomson Reuters, 2014). That mistake by Thomson Reuters provided a space for hackers and hijackers to misuse this situation to create a fake website under the title of Intercienca and many similar journals. 

It should be noted that, according to the proof that we have gathered to date, Interciencia was hijacked by the same group of cyber-criminals who hijacked the journal Emergencias a few months ago as both journals are hosted on the same server and several authors published articles in both journals. 

This is a clear indication that the journal hijackers are not going to stop their behavior in attacking the academic world. Thus, informing readers of legitimate journals about the cases of journal hijacking could be the best recommendation to protect them from this huge violation of the validity and reliability of published research and to help them avoid being cheated by the fake websites.

However, using qualitative tools rather than metric measures could be the gold standard for any long-term strategy for protecting the validity of published research.

References:

1.Beall J, August 1, 2012. Predatory publishing. Available from: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/32426/title/Predatory-Publishing 
2.Butler D, March 28, 2013. Sham journals scam authors. Nature. 495: 421–2. doi:10.1038/495421, available from: http://www.nature.com/news/sham-journals-scam-authors-1.12681 
3. Jalalian M. Mahboobi H, 2014. Hijacked Journals and Predatory Publishers: Is There a Need to Re-Think How to Assess the Quality of Academic Research? Walailak Journal of Science and Technology (WJST). 11; 5: 389-394. Available from: http://wjst.wu.ac.th/index.php/wjst/article/view/1004 
4.Jalalian M, 2014. Hijacked journal list 2014, first edition. 12 June 2014. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.1057631, Available from: http://www.mehrdadjalalian.com/index.php/list-of-hijacked-journals-and-fake-publishers/30-hiajcked-journal-list-2014-first-edition-june-2014 
5.Kolata G, April 8, 2013. Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too). The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/for-scientists-an-exploding-world-of-pseudo-academia.html?_r=2&

6.Thomson Reuters. Master journal list. Available from: http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/mjl/ , accessed online on June 22, 2014

Authors:

1. Mehrdad Jalalian, MD., Editor In-Chief, Electronic Physician, Mashhad, Iran

2. David Bimler, Ph.D., School of Psychology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand