The Whack-a-Mole problem: Hijacked journal still being indexed in Scopus even after discovery

Have you heard about hijacked journals, which take over legitimate publications’ titles, ISSNs, and other metadata without their permission? We recently launched the Retraction Watch Hijacked Journal Checker, and will be publishing regular posts like this one to tell the stories of some of those cases.

Hijacked journal: Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies  

What happened: The journal became a perfect target for hijackers when it expanded its title from “Linguistica Antverpiensia” and changed its web domain

Fraudulent publishers hijacked the journal in 2021, re-registering the old, expired domain under the original, shorter name Linguistica Antverpiensia.

Indexing: The original journal was indexed in Scopus, initially under the original (shorter) name. 

In May 2021, the number of papers indexed that year under the journal’s original name reached 131. However, the majority – if not all – came from the hijacked journal. (Retraction Watch has written several times about hijacked journals successfully indexing papers in well-respected databases such as Clarivate’s Web of Science or Scopus, which many universities and countries use as a measure of quality.)

Once the legitimate journal staffers learned of the problem, they created a new profile in Scopus using their new, longer title. But the hijackers succeeded in indexing unauthorized papers there as well, as indicated by the titles of these papers being irrelevant to linguistics. (Hijacked journals tend to ignore subject matter or manuscript quality in their aim to publish as many papers as possible.)

Since June 2021, when the old-title journal was under investigation in Scopus, the unauthorized content of the hijacked Linguistica Antverpiensia was indexed seven times to the new profile of the journal in Scopus, for a total of 14 papers. 

Last year, the hijackers did it twice. In May, the hijacked journal indexed the paper “Subtitles of sex toy advertisements: Sexual expressions and translation techniques,” and in October, seven new papers were indexed, all of them co-authored by Russian and Kazakhstani authors (see screenshot below). 

In comparison, during this period the legitimate journal only once indexed 19 papers published in 2021.

Examples of Unauthorized Papers:

     May 2021

October 2022

All unauthorized articles from 2021 and 2022 no longer appear to be indexed in Scopus under the title of the legitimate journal.

Spillover effects: Ten papers published in the hijacked Linguistica Antverpiensia were included in a World Health Organization (WHO) database of papers about COVID-19 until they were eventually removedThe legitimate journal did take legal steps and the hijackers deleted all information from the original website hivt.be. But later they registered a new web domain hijacking Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies – and thus the scam continues.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

One thought on “The Whack-a-Mole problem: Hijacked journal still being indexed in Scopus even after discovery”

  1. I have informed Scopus about circa ten obviously predatory journals, such as this:
    https://www.ijscl.net/

    And nothing. They either don’t respond or suggest to contact the editor of the predator. I suspect collusion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.