Fake websites scams in open access publishing
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Fake Websites Scams in Open Access Publishing. A Rising Threat to the Integrity of Open Access Publishers, Writers & Institutions. Issue at Hand. Fraudulent Websites: Fake websites that duplicate and/or imitate official Open Access Publishing Portals .

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Fake Websites Scams in Open Access Publishing

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Fake Websites Scams in Open Access Publishing

A Rising Threat to the Integrity of Open Access Publishers, Writers & Institutions.


Issue at Hand

  • Fraudulent Websites:

    • Fake websites that duplicate and/or imitate official Open Access Publishing Portals.

    • Contain no legitimacy whatsoever with any recognized institution

    • Prey upon desperate authors in a “publish or perish” situation in terms of academic/professional standing.


Modus Operandi of Fraudulent Web Publishing Scams

  • Similar-to-Original Names:

    • Adopt web-addresses & names with slight alpha-numeric alterations.

  • Duplicative Appearances:

    • Fake website’s appearance is made to look almost exactly like the original, often by making slight changes to the original source codes.


Modus Operandi of Fraudulent Web Publishing Scams

  • Offer of “Cheap” publication.

    • Offer fractional prices for publication under the tags of “Special Promotion Offer” etc. to unsuspected authors

  • Engaged in Inadequate Peer-review Systems

    • Use a time period of only 4-7 days to review the articles and then guarantee the publication even for a piece consisting entirely of gibberish.


Case Study“www.scialert.com”

  • Name Duplication:

    • www.sciEalert.com instead of www.scialert.com

  • Data Duplication:

    • All data from the original website had been copied exactly in the phish site.


Case Study“www.scialert.com”

  • Alteration & Publication:

    • Scammers published two articles in a journal taken from a link present at the original website.

  • Retreat:

    • After being promptly pointed-out, the scammers turned out to be Iran-based scientists.

    • Upon contact via telephone, the phishing website was taken down immediately and unpublished.


Name Duplication


Data Duplication


Targeted Link


Targeted Journal


Targeted Year


Targeted Issues


Targeted Article1


Replacement of the article


Targeted Article 2


Replacement of the Article


Another example of cybercrime in Scientific Publishing

  • Identity theft of Two European Science Journals by counterfeit journal websites

  • Crooked websites are masquerading as Archives des Sciences( Switzerland) and Wulfenia (Austria)

  • Austrian Police closed down a fake website in Austria but multiple replicas popped up on servers in other countries.

    Ref: http://www.nature.com/news/sham-journals-scam-authors-1.12681


Threats & Challenges

  • Publishers:

    • Web portals vulnerable to phishing and duplication.

    • Possibility of Content Theft from web portals.

    • Damage to repute and social image within online publishing communities.

    • Possibility of Identity Theft of Existing registered users.


Threats & Challenges

  • Authors:

    • Financial Loss to fake publishing websites.

    • Personal Identity Theft.

    • Damage to personal repute due to shady publications.

  • Institutions:

    • Risk of hiring wrong resources based on fake-publications.

    • Damage to organizational repute.

    • Risk of funding illegitimate projects


Countermeasures & Prevention Protocols

  • Publishers:

    • Increased monitoring for phishing websites & scams.

    • Enforcing Vigilant Cyber Security Initiatives.

    • Establishing Content Security Protocols on organizational & publication data.


Countermeasures & Prevention Protocols

  • Authors:

    • Proper research before making financial commitments to any website.

    • Using secure & traceable protocols for online payments.

    • Emphasis upon content review before publishing.

  • Institutions:

    • Standardized plagiarism & data structure control on submitted content.

    • Thorough background research on newly hired resources.


The Way Forward

  • Scientific literacy must include the ability to recognize publishing fraud.

  • If you find any such cyber crime activity ,you must report to ACSE as ACSE aims to highlight and condemn such criminal activities related to scientific publishing.


The Way Forward

  • By working together in collaboration with each other all stake holders can avoid becoming a victim to such online criminals.

  • ACSE aims to provide such comprehensive and official platform for stakeholders in scientific publishing where all of them can collaborate and work together to ensure mutual safety and progress along with implementing ethical practices.


Thank you


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