Q: How can I withdraw my paper after unknowingly registering for a predatory conference?
I registered to make a conference presentation without knowing it is a predatory conference. This is because they are using the same abbreviation as used by a famous society. I suspected it was predatory after my paper was accepted and in their acceptance notification, it was revealed that the presentation is only for five people. (Speaking of the other fields, for engineering, it is seven people, and for social sciences, it is only two people.) I want to withdraw my paper and cancel the presentation, but I am not able to contact them through ‘Contact Us.’ This option is only for manuscript submission. What should I do now?
This is unfortunate but not uncommon, especially because (as you have mentioned too), predatory publishers are getting better and better at disguising themselves these days.
Anyway, as you have hopefully not paid them so far, you are in a relatively better position than researchers who submit papers. Also, as yours is a conference paper, it is somewhat ‘work in progress’ and therefore likely to change much in the next few months. So, what you have submitted to the publisher is not the final version of your vision for this research. We say this because now the publisher will begin their typical coercive tactics: asking you to pay a huge withdrawal fee, threatening to contact your supervisor/institution, threatening to publish your paper so that you can’t use it any more (as papers published in bogus journals do not carry much value), and so on.
What we usually advise researchers to do in this situation is to write another mail asking to withdraw the manuscript. In case you don’t hear from them (or the email bounces), you can write another mail saying that if you don’t hear from them by a certain date, you will consider the manuscript withdrawn. Then, write a final mail saying that as you haven’t heard from them by that date, you are indeed considering that the manuscript is withdrawn.
For more help with handling and avoiding situations such as these, you may refer to these resources:
- How to identify predatory conferences: The Think.Check.Attend checklist
- How predatory scientific conferences prey on researchers [Case study]
- What can I do if the editor does not confirm my withdrawal request?
And in case you need help with the various emails involved, you may consider this handbook: A practical handbook of templates for communicating with the journal
Hope that helps. And hope this situation is resolved soon and positively. All the best!