Q: Can an article be rejected for not correcting the plagiarism after taking the submission fee?

Detailed Question -

My article was provisionally selected by a journal. They then asked me to pay the article submission fee. After taking the fee, they checked the article for plagiarism and instructed me to make the changes in the article, [mentioning that] if they again found any corrections [issues] with the article, the article would be rejected. I want to know whether an article can be rejected by the journal after making the corrections and after taking the fee. Please advise.

1 Answer to this question

From the information you have provided, this seems to be a predatory or bogus journal. These are the typical tactics of such journals. One way of knowing for sure (and you haven’t mentioned this) is whether you contacted them or they contacted you. If the latter, it’s in all probability such a journal. For more ways to identify and stay away from such journals/publishers, you may refer to this checklist: 10 Point checklist to identify predatory publishers

So, if this is indeed a predatory journal, they will attempt other underhanded tactics such as holding on to your manuscript and saying they will ‘release’ it only after you have paid a withdrawal fee. However, there’s no guarantee that, even after you pay the withdrawal fee (after having already paid the APC), they will release your paper. You should consider involving a senior or supervisor to help you deal with this situation. For more insights into similar situations, you may refer to these previous queries by other researchers:

That said, don’t worry. These situations are common, especially given how predatory publishers keep evolving and keep changing their guise (as you may read here: The scientific predator has evolved - here's how you can fight back). So far, you haven’t had ‘suffered too much damage’ apart from the APC payment and the manuscript being with them. Hopefully, you should be able to get them to not publish the manuscript (which they often threaten to as a final coercive measure), and if you are fortunate, also get back the APC, although frankly, that will probably be challenging. In a worst case, you should be okay with foregoing the fee, looking at this as a learning experience, and moving on.

Hope that helps. All the best for your next steps!