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My former master adviser published an article, which is derived from my master thesis, in a predatory journal without my consent. He put my name as the first and corresponding author and his name as the second author. I just found it when Researchgate sent an alarm to me that you have a new publication! Right now, I'm a PhD student in the US and he is a professor in a different country, which these kind of activities are common and there is not strong infrastructure against research misconduct like the US or Europe. I don't want to make my CV dirty by putting an article in it, which is published in a predatory journal. I sent an email to the editor and editor-in-chief of this journal in order to retract the article but I didn't receive any response after a week. I'm wondering is it possible to request a DMCA take down to Google by myself to at least remove it from Google Scholar or Google search or it needs to inform my current university and they do an action?

  • I (luckily) never had to deal with a predatory journal, but I assume that you didn't get any emails during the submission process, which is highly disturbing if your listed as the corresponding author o.O. I mean if they don't even do that, why would they answer your emails... – Bas Jansen Dec 12 '18 at 22:26
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    @BasJansen Exactly! The odd thing is how someone could be listed as "corresponding author" but they don't even send you an email that you are a co-author in a submission in their journal?! sigh... – Alone Programmer Dec 12 '18 at 22:27
  • I'd start by talking to the adviser, asking him why he did it, and see what he says. – Allure Dec 12 '18 at 23:16
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    @NateEldredge, I think it brings attention where you don't want it. I would do this if I was opposed to the content of the publication though. – highBandWidth Dec 13 '18 at 0:49
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    @highBandWidth Absolutely. Don't draw attention to it. An early mistake (even if it wasn't technically yours) in the career is easily forgiven. The advantage of being seen as inexperienced - use it. – Captain Emacs Dec 13 '18 at 12:09
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I don't want to make my CV dirty by putting an article in it, which is published in a predatory journal

All you need to do is just to forget about it. You don't have to waste time on contacting your advisor or Google.

  1. Nobody read predatory journals. The amount of papers in good venues are already too much.
  2. Nobody will remember your name until you have a strong publication record with different sets of authors. (Otherwise people only remember the most well-known authors)
  3. When you are somebody to be searched for, you probably have other publications that appear in the first search results. Researchers are busy, nobody have time for an old paper that has not been cited, in an unknown journal.
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You could try having it removed. Predatory journals may not comply with your request or have anyone respond to you. This will also probably destroy your relationship with your former advisor, which you may need at some time if you need a recommendation etc. If you think your relationship is already destroyed completely, this may not matter.

If you never list this article in your CV, webpage, google scholar profile etc., and never cite it, it may not do any damage to your academic reputation. You say you're a PhD student in the US, so this is probably from your masters or undergraduate work. If you do well and publish a few good first author papers during your PhD and some good shared authorship papers, I don't think an early paper in a predatory journal you don't record yourself is going to matter a lot. People would just assume you were young and inexperienced then and you've grown as a researcher since.

I would be more concerned with the content of the matter. Does it contain any false results, embarrassingly bad language, un-cited work or plagiarism? Something like this is definitely more damaging and you should try to have this removed. Would you have been fine with the exact same paper in a good journal?

  • I tried to submit it to some reputable journals before coming to the US but it got revision and because I was busy with starting my PhD I didn’t edit the article to submit the revision and probably those revision requests are expired by now. So, yes I would like to publish it in a reputable journal but I’m wondering why he sent it to a really terrible one... The bad thing is that it’s already indexed in Google scholar and because my name is really unique even in my native language I believe if someone will search my name will find this article in that predatory journal for sure. – Alone Programmer Dec 13 '18 at 0:38
  • Do you have any thoughts about how to "try having it removed"? OP already said that they asked the journal to remove it, and were ignored. – Nate Eldredge Dec 13 '18 at 0:42
  • @AloneProgrammer: I hope the plural in your comment is a typo. You didn't submit it to multiple journals at the same time, did you? – Nate Eldredge Dec 13 '18 at 0:43
  • @NateEldredge Nope that was just typo. In fact, I looked at my elsevier account and that revision request was valid until last January. – Alone Programmer Dec 13 '18 at 0:44
  • 1. One could write to the journal (done). 2. Write to any bodies the journal is part of, or indexed in, cc'ed to the journal. 3. Write to the chair or other administrative people in the former university. I personally recommend against escalating it this high, but it's possible. From the advisor's perspective, they usually get to decide where to publish, and the student left without pursuing it to the end. – highBandWidth Dec 13 '18 at 0:47
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I would follow up with your advisor one more time, and give them a deadline to respond otherwise you will follow up with their institution. Do you have someone at your university you could talk to- a local advisor perhaps? If you don't get a response, report him to his department and the university.

As for the journal, I've heard emailing these predatory journals and threatening to take legal recourse often works with a hard deadline. Try following up again with legal action in the subject matter. Tell them they are violating copyright law and you have been in touch with a lawyer and will be pursuing action by X date.

Also consider, there was no copyright transfer, so the paper could be published in the legitimate journal, ideally with an editorial note on the paper explaining what has happened.

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