My paper got accepted in a mediocre open access journal. However later I found out that its publishing fees was too high.

What would be the correct way of asking a withdrawal of your article from the journal?

  • 8
    Just a little thing to add that may or may not be relevant: some open access journals have a policy of waiving or reducing the fees if the author doesn't have a source of funding for them. If you want to publish in this journal, it might be worth discussing this with the editor.
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 23:44
  • Why would you pay to get published? You have already "paid" with the time, any serious journal do not have fees (at least not in mathematics)! Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 20:01
  • @PerAlexandersson see Research in the Mathematical Sciences, Forum of Mathematics:{Sigma,Pi}, all good journals. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 2:10
  • @PerAlexandersson In life sciences, the business model for all open-access journals is to recover costs via publishing fees. Many of these are very good journals (most of the PLoS journals, for example).
    – arboviral
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 10:54
  • Most of the top ranked combinatorics journals do not have fees: I've never paid a fee. For example, the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, (founded by H. Wilf), is simply a web site. It would not be too much to ask for the university to host it - there is no printing involved. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 10:57

1 Answer 1


If it has been accepted but you have not yet signed any sort of agreement, then it's easy in theory: you just tell the editor that you have decided to withdraw the paper. They might be unhappy, but you have a right to do this (both legally and according to academic norms).

If the paper has already been published, then there may not be anything you can do. Retracting a published paper is serious business, done only in cases of serious error or unethical behavior.

If you have already agreed to some sort of license allowing publication and paid (or agreed to pay) but the paper has not yet been published, then you should move fast. Legally the journal can go ahead and publish, and they may decide to do so, but your chances of convincing them before they publish the paper are higher than after they publish it.

There have been stories of unethical journals publishing papers that have been withdrawn and then demanding money. If that happens, then it is serious misbehavior on the part of the journal (and proves you were wise to withdraw the paper).

  • No i haven't paid any money nor signed any agreement as of now.. And have mailed the editor so i guess that would be fine... just waiting for their reply
    – vini
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 5:55
  • Thank you for informing us. Since the paper has already been accepted, you can register it in any future publication of the journal. Thank you.
    – vini
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 10:46
  • i got the following reply from them can't i publish my article in another journal now?
    – vini
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 10:47
  • 8
    @vini: Were your last two comments supposed to be in the opposite order? If "Thank you for..." was their reply, then it sounds good to me. My interpretation is that they are saying if you change your mind and decide you do want to publish with them, then the acceptance will still hold. However, nothing is stopping you from submitting it elsewhere instead. Commented May 9, 2012 at 10:53
  • i just posted the reply i got from and i was saying thanks for your help :)
    – vini
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 5:51

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