Good news on OA journal malware!

As noted in some previous posts, there appeared to be a significant problem with malware-infected OA journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals, found as I was doing the data gathering for Gold Open Access 2013-2018 or GOAJ4.–which I encountered when doing the data-gathering for GOAJ4 or Gold Open Access 2013-2018: Articles in Journals.

This year, I contacted DOAJ–and they acted, with staff contacting affected institutions (almost always universities) and letting them know about the problem.

The results are in, and they’re impressive: retesting problematic cases among the 12,415 journals in DOAJ as of January 1, 2019, I now find all of nineteen malware cases, two of which are “outbound” calls such that, if you’re running good antivirus/antimalware software like Malwarebytes Pro, you can still use the journal site. Those two are from Spain. The other seventeen include four each from Argentina (one university) and Brazil, three from Ecuador, two from Mexico, and one each from Colombia, Peru, Spain and Venezuela. [Added: Minor oops–there’s a third “outbound” case from the U.S.]

SEVENTEEN PLUS TWO–down from more than 200 initially,

It’s also the case that many/most other problematic cases were cleaned up: there are now a total of 100 “XX” cases (unreachable or unworkable, including 404 and other errors).

This is a huge improvement, especially for malware. Consider:

  • First GOAJ: 218 XX-equivalent and 103 XM/malware
  • Second GOAJ: 199 XX-equivalent and 67 XM/malware
  • Third GOAJ: 43 XX–but 228 XM/malware (including 30 “BM” outbound-call cases)
  • Fourth GOAJ: 100 XX, and 19 XM/malware including two outbound-call cases.

Thanks to Tom, Clara, managing editors and others at DOAJ, and to the responsive contacts in Indonesia and other countries with malware issues.

You can safely assume that, if there’s a GOAJ5 or beyond, I will be staying in touch with DOAJ about data issues. The results this year are, I believe, well worthwhile.

[Yes, the data gathering phase is done. Now for data massaging and report-writing: figure June or possibly late May for the report. I’ll entice you with two big numberx: the report will include more than 12,000 fully-analyzed journals–with more than 700,000 articles in 2018.]

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