Q: Which organization can I ask for help with dealing with a predatory journal?

Detailed Question -

If I am having trouble with my manuscript withdrawal and the withdrawal fee, whom should I consult? Please let me know of the specific organization to ask for help.

1 Answer to this question

Hello, Rikako. It’s unfortunate that you have fallen victim to a predatory journal, but they are getting better and better at disguising themselves. Presently, they seem to be exercising their typical tactics with you: asking for a huge withdrawal fee and refusing to let you withdraw (or not making it easy for you to withdraw). In case they haven’t already, they will next try tactics such as threatening to inform your supervisor/institution, sending you nuisance calls/messages, and in a worst case and when you refuse to give in, going ahead and publishing your paper, because then, you can’t publish your paper elsewhere and the paper would have no/low academic value as it would have been published in a bogus journal.

The tactics also depend on whether or not you have shared with them that you know they are a predatory journal. In case you haven’t told them, you should maintain that appearance. You should simply give some reason to withdraw such as your supervisor not being happy with the paper, you finding the need to make many changes to the paper, you wishing to collaborate with someone else, and so on. If you refuse to give in, they usually stop their coercive tactics after a while. Of course, keep your supervisor/institute informed so that it doesn't come as an unpleasant surprise to them and in case they are able to help you too.

Now, coming to your actual query, unfortunately, there isn’t any organization that can directly help you deal with a predatory journal. There are organizations that provide checks for avoiding such journals and some that compile lists of quality and low-quality journals, but they provide guidance and information only, not mediation. Even the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) provides guidelines and shares case studies.

Having said that, you may wish to check with Cabells. They are a partner organization working in the area of identifying quality journals and also helping low-quality journals (not the completely bogus ones) gradually improve their quality.

Apart from that, you may check out Think.Check.Submit. But again, they provide information and checks.

And of course, you may go through the resources we offer for author education against predatory publishing. We have linked a few below, one being a recent piece we co-authored with Cabells.

Hope that helps. All the best for dealing with this journal and for keeping away from such journals in the future!