The wolf in Scopus’ clothing: Another hijacked journal has indexed nearly 900 articles

Mohammed Al-Amr

A prolific hijacked journal has managed to breach the defenses of Scopus, one of the world’s leading academic databases. This time, the target is the award-winning journal Community Practitioner, the official publication of the UK-based organization Unite-CPHVA.

On July 7, 2023, I reported via 𝕏 that the journal’s homepage in Scopus had been compromised and was redirecting users to a fraudulent website masquerading as the legitimate publication. 

Despite this revelation, the journal’s editorial team remained unresponsive, neglecting to issue any warnings to authors about the deceptive clone. In December 2023, Scopus took action, removing links to the homepage of the publication in an effort to combat hijacking.

While the legitimate Community Practitioner is a subscription-based journal focused on medicine and nursing, the clone website falsely claims it has been an open-access publication since January 2020, and offers subscriptions to past issues by contacting “the editor.” It also advertises the ability to publish articles across all research fields, a stark departure from the scope of the legitimate title.

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My analysis of the Scopus database revealed a staggering 880 inauthentic articles from the hijacked journal indexed between 2020 and 2024, originating from countries including India, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia.

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Many of these articles were blatantly plagiarized, with even their DOIs copied from the Journal of Medicine and Life, the Clinical Oncology Research and Reports Archives, Clinical Investigation, the  Indian Journal of Colo-Rectal Surgery and others.

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The telltale signs of these inauthentic articles are evident: inconsistent volume, issue, and page numbers compared to the legitimate publication. Some also bear DOIs from Zenodo, a service the authentic Community Practitioner doesn’t use.

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The consequences of this infiltration are far-reaching. Authors of these fraudulent articles may have unjustly benefited from their misleading indexing in Scopus, potentially securing academic promotions, employment, and credentials under false pretenses. The reputation of the legitimate journal has been tarnished, with its CiteScore metric compromised due to the influx of low- or zero-cited inauthentic articles since 2020.

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Merely deleting the URL for the homepage of the hijacked journal  from Scopus has proven insufficient, as the fraudulent content ends up in the database, continuing to undermine its integrity. A more comprehensive strategy is needed to not only remove the visible links to fraudulent journals, but also to prevent their content from infiltrating indexing databases.

Mohammed O. Al-Amr is a lecturer in the department of mathematics in the College of Computer Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Mosul in Iraq.

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7 thoughts on “The wolf in Scopus’ clothing: Another hijacked journal has indexed nearly 900 articles”

  1. The fact that this is not a priority matter for scopus speaks volumes. The incompetence of the scopus team is a phenomenon worthy of contemplation.

  2. How does Scopus starts indexing another journal by mistake? The journal forgets to renew the DNS registration, and someone else registers their IP in place of that domain?

  3. I think http://www.commprac.com may have been CP’s original web domain. The journal started in 1998, and this domain appears around 2002 (http://web.archive.org/web/20020901000000*/http://commprac.com). This was still in use by the real CP in 2014. This may be another example where the domain registration expires / is no longer paid for and these opportunists pick up the domain and hijack the identity of CP. Scopus never got the memo or failed to update their database of this change and their crawlers are fed the stale / old address and harvest the fraudulent website. You would think the crawlers would check the DOI prefix. But this is just a theory.

  4. Manipulating SEO it is done. So there must be issues like Focus keywords, backlink, citation, references, searching trends, trending of any subject, and such other issues of search engine optimization parameters must be counted, so that manipulation can be cheked earlier. Thanks for highlighting the fraud. Dr N C GHATAK, Ex Librarian, Medical College, Kolkata 700073, INDIA.

  5. dear sir
    I have warned Yemeni researchers in Sana’a university not to publish in this journal because it has no reviewing process. It publishes the papers within one week.

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