My paper was accepted for publication in a journal. I have also received an acceptance letter and even I have filled out the copyright form. The corresponding editor first told me "Your paper is published in one of the volumes of 2017" and next time said that my paper is "published in 2018", but now I have received an email that my paper is "rejected because the paper is not in the aim and scope of the journal"!!!

Really I do not know, what should I do?

  • 36
    It sounds like the journal messed it up very badly. Have you complained this to the Editor in Chief?
    – Nobody
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:00
  • 91
    I don't have any advice, but just to make it clear, this is appalling. Whilst you were waiting for your accepted paper to be published you could have submitted it elsewhere. Be under no illusions, this isn't just a minor issue, you have been wronged and you have every right to pursue the journal in rectifying this matter (don't let them tell you otherwise). Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:10
  • 88
    Is it okay to ask which journal? I would like to avoid it.
    – The Doctor
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 10:21
  • 5
    1) Does their claim about the scope have any merit? 2) Did concerns about the scope come up in the review process at all (i.e. from reviewers or editor correspondence)?
    – noslenkwah
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 17:19
  • 15
    @noslenkwah It's irrelevant. It should have come up much, much earlier. They cannot drag OP out for a year with nothing to show for it (we are not talking reviews). Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 3:57

5 Answers 5


Check with the journal. Especially do this if the rejection email you received looks like an auto-generated email. No rational journal would act in such a way, so my gut feeling says there was a mistake somewhere, most likely human error. It is possible that, e.g., the final status of your manuscript was accidentally set to 'reject' instead of 'accept'.

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    Yes, simple mistakes happen from time to time, with our without automation. (Never attribute to malice...)
    – Kimball
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 13:26
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    This is, I think, the most likely explanation. Someone was entering some data, put in the wrong ID or title or something, and set the wrong submission to Rejected. Or maybe someone was looking through the archives, noticed your paper, and confused it for a paper they'd rejected, and "fixed" the status. Or... point is, there are plenty of ways for this to be an honest mistake. Contacting them will let them either set it right, if it was a mistake, or prove how terrible they are, if it was intentional.
    – anon
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 20:24
  • 8
    Allure, at the core of what you're saying is, "Make sure you have all the facts before acting." Always good advice. Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 18:29

This is unacceptable. If this is a reputable journal, then you can make the point that they made you wait and the research results become stale, and that you have every right to expect them to honour their approval for publication.

They simply cannot retroactively change whether the paper fits into aim/scope of the journal - that decision had been taken with acceptance. If they made a mistake in judgement, you cannot be expected to be the person to bear the cost of this.

If the journal is not reputable, you probably dodged a bullet - and if it is "reputable", and they insist on not publishing your paper after this protest, you can be assured that they are on the way to becoming not reputable, fast (I would, however, not make this point in your protest email).

  • 25
    This is assuming that no publication fees have been paid yet. But if they accepted, you paid fees and then they say rejected then there may be a chance of this being a scam.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 14:13
  • 13
    @Daniel Good point - however, most such scams take the money and publish, just that the publication is not worth anything. It wouldn't cost them much to just print the article, especially if they intend to continue the scam operation (as they seem to do, if this indeed a scam). Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 14:24
  • 4
    ... and if you can help accelerate that decline by going public about the affair if they do not get their act together, then your community will likely thank you.
    – E.P.
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 21:16
  • Aren't publication journals are private businesses? I thought businesses are allowed to engage in morally reprehensible behavior provided it is legal. I can't imagine the author can really do anything other than "beg." Of course, if the journal repeats this offense multiple times, their reputation will diminish.
    – QuantumDot
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 16:36
  • 3
    @QuantumDot And, likewise, consumers (here, researchers) are free to boycott companies they dislike. Sure, it's not illegal, but their reputation will diminish, and that'll hurt them a lot. Also, if this is an intentional switch, then OP is now free to publish with one of the journal's competitors, which is a stupid business move.
    – anon
    Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 3:05

This is pretty disturbing. You should immediately contact the editorial board of the journal and explain the situation.

I would also doubt the quality of the mentioned journal by looking at the series of events.


You should contact the editor in chief and make your complaints clear, that is awful behavior on behalf of the journal. If I were you I would do it as fast as I could and I would take it as far as I could.

I wish you good luck and I hope it was a simple mix up.


Yes, of course you should complain, and the editor and chief does owe you an explanation.

That being said, total devil's advocate (just because the other answers seemed to all have pitchforks ready)...

If there has been a change in the editorial team it is somewhat their choice what direction they take the journal. The (hypothetical) outgoing editor is partially to blame for making a commitment they couldn't keep. Taking a moment for empathy, they were just trying to help the incoming editor out by having stuff in the pipeline. The content of journals, their standards, their quality, their requirements all drift with changing editors. Maybe you caught someone new to that side of publishing... they're learning on the job and might not have really thought of this from your point of view. Try to be kind. :)

  • Chances are they just don't care. There are a lot of journals out there on the lower end making money by very twisted schemes that don't include concepts like ethics, scientific rigor, or quality. Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 4:01

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