Q: The journal suspects that my manuscript is plagiarized. What should I do?
A month ago, my paper was published in an SCI Journal and it is now on an early view status. However, I suddenly received an email saying that it is now suspected of plagiarism. I found that there was a similar published paper when I submitted my paper after completing my first draft. What should I do?
Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct and can lead to retraction. I'm afraid the fate of your paper might be the same. The only way I can think of to salvage the situation is to prove that the plagiarism was unintentional. Check the publication date of the other article. If it was published after you submitted your paper, you can write to the journal explaining this. This will make it clear that you did not intentionally plagiarize as your paper was already submitted when the other paper was published.
However, if the paper was published before you submitted your manuscript to the journal or if large chunks of text are copied verbatim from the other paper, there is no way you can escape charges of misconduct. At best, you can admit your mistake and say that you could not paraphrase the text effectively due to poor English skills.
In any case, you should apologize to the journal and offer to self-retract your paper. Generally, the retraction notice mentions the reason of retraction. If you self-retract your paper, you can hope that the journal will not mention that the paper was retracted due to misconduct.
Take this as a learning experience and be very careful to avoid plagiarism for all your future submissions.