Q: My research has been published in a predatory journal

Detailed Question -

Fresh from graduation, I submitted my paper to Pediatrics and Therapeutics, a journal by Longdom Publishing. My paper got accepted only to find out that it is a predatory journal/publisher. They demanded me to pay 1800 euros which I said I cannot afford. I'm from a low to middle income country and its not possible for me to pay the amount. I never agreed or signed anything for them to post my research online but it was already posted. I asked them to take it down and I'm retracting my paper which they refuse and demand that I pay the fee or they will seek legal action. What do I do?

1 Answer to this question

What you have described is the typical modus operandi of predatory journals. They will make all kinds of threats just to extract money. We suggest that you do not pay even to have the paper withdrawn (or taken down, if published). Even if one can afford it, it is best not to spend a penny toward such fraud enterprises.

Here are some options for you:

  1. Check if the fraud publisher has any grounds for threatening legal action. If you have not signed a copyright agreement, paid the journal to publish the article, or done anything against what is mentioned on their website, send a final email to them stating that you will take legal action if you do not receive a response regarding withdrawal within a time frame (say, a week). Confidently and firmly refuse to pay to withdraw, because payment for withdrawal is not mentioned on the journal website.
  2. The journal may or may not go ahead with publication, irrespective of your requests. Occasionally, you may even find your paper disappearing and reappearing in the journal’s issues. Duplicate publication is unethical, so you cannot publish the same article in a reputed journal unless it is taken down by the first journal. You could try and approach the editor of a reputed journal you would have otherwise considered submission to and explain the situation. Journal editors are aware of this menace. A sensitive and helpful editor might agree to publish your paper, accompanied by a statement that this is to be considered the only valid version of the paper.
  3. If all else fails, accept that your paper has been lost to a predatory journal. However, in the process, you have learnt a valuable lesson.

Please do not lose heart either way. Going forward, be sure that you choose target journals carefully before submitting a paper. You can refer to this checklist before you submit your papers in future:

Think Check Submit checklist - Selecting the right journal for your research paper

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