GOA5: Journals 9,001-10,000 and malware

As noted in the last set of notes, I departed from the usual publisher/journal sorting to test all remaining Indonesian journals–around 880 of them–because nearly half of the malware cases in the first 9,000 were from Indonesia, which had a malware problem in last year’s scan–one that was totally cleared up with the help of DOAJ people. (All I did was send them the list of problems.)

That turned out to be a good thing: these journals, mostly from universities, have a serious malware problem. Maybe there are readers out there who can help correct the problems there and in other countries (yes, I’m keeping DOAJ informed).

How bad? In all, these 1,000 journals had 249 malware cases and 51 other unusable cases.

I should note that 73% of Indonesia’s 1,582 gold OA journals do not have these problems. Unless the UK or US have added a lot of OA journals in 2019, Indonesia publishes more DOAJ-listed journals than anybody. But they have a recurring problem with malware…

If you think you can help…

You should (cross fingers) find a Google Sheet with all problematic journals from the first 10,000 scanned (which includes all Indonesian journals) here: that is, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CL7AY5VuS9KuIYmpfnaTua20pH-GiZLpE6bTwg5_Qhw/edit?usp=sharing

The sheet includes all “xm” journals (malware), 481 of them but also all “xn” (apparently not OA) [20 so far] and “xx” (unavailable or unworkable) [353 so far]. There should be 854 rows, including (in descending order) 442 from Indonesia, 71 from Brazil, 60 from Iran, 34 from Ukraine, 33 from Romania, 21 from Turkey, 20 from Poland, 17 from Spain, 15 from Russia, 12 from the United States, ten from Colombia, and smaller numbers from 41 other countries for a total of 119 additional.

The code–xm, xn, xx–appears in the “Cod” column. A note may appear in the “Note” column offering a brief comment on why something’s there–e.g., for “xx” journals such notes as “404” (27), “500” (an internal error, 3), “ad” (three), “blog” (four), “dbs” error (29), dns failure (23), “park” (parking page, 21), “to” (timeout, 34) and a few others.

For malware, the common codes include “cert” (security certificate problems, 20), “mal” (just flagged as malware, 33), “mult” (MalwareBytes Pro finds more than one included page and multiple malware categories, six), “phish” (phishing, 69), “ransom” (ransomware, six), and the biggie “troj” (trojan, 308). In some cases, I didn’t jot down MalwareBytes’ code.


I’ll post another version when I scan the next 2,000 journals and a final one when I finish the initial scan (4.128 more journals in all).

The final scan for, hopefully, corrected malware and unavailable/unworkable journals will begin either May 15, 2020 or two weeks after I post that final list, whichever comes last.

Last year, DOAJ and others got the total of xm and xx journals down to 117, of which only 17 were malware. Here’s hoping they (and you?) can do even better this year.

A few other notes on journals 6,001-10,000

  • Of the 3,528 journals for which data has been recorded (472 are either unavailable or have malware or other issues), 1,075 (30%) have fees.
  • Of that 1,075, I find that five (still) have submission fees rather than processing fees–and 28 others have both submission and processing fees. 80 others have fees that vary based on article length (I don’t record that if the surcharge begins at 11 pages or higher) or author count. Five have membership or similar fee requirements, and seventeen are questionable. (Most of the latter are Indonesian cases where I believe the stated fee is missing three zeroes. There will be rows in the final spreadsheet where the amount shows as $0 but the status is “f” for “fee”–selecting the actual cell will find the unrounded stated fee, sometimes under four cents.) [By the way, the “curr” page on the Google Sheet provides the conversion rates used for this project and whether they’re the median 2019 rate or the actual rate on the day in late December 2019 that I did the checks.]
  • In 115 of the 1,075 cases, I gathered the fee status and amount from the DOAJ record because it was not easy to locate within the journal’s website. That’s also the case for 457 journals with (apparently) no fees: info is from DOAJ rather than the journal website.
  • Malware is still with us: see the first part of this message.
  • In 67 cases where I do have data, the URL in DOAJ did not yield the website but a journal title search in Chrome did yield the website.


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