When I submitted my paper to a journal in November 2021, I saw that it was indexed by SCOPUS, but in 2022 I noticed that it is no longer indexed by SCOPUS. Therefore, I want to withdraw my published paper from that journal. Does writing an email to Editor in Chief work for my case?

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    You might want to first ask for an explanation from the editor.
    – Buffy
    Apr 26, 2022 at 20:01
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    As Buffy says, first try to find out what happened and why it is no longer indexed by scopus. There might have been a mistake that someone can fix.
    – gib
    Apr 26, 2022 at 21:22
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    @gib it's improbable. Getting delisted from Scopus doesn't happen overnight, it comes with lots of warning (from Scopus) and warning signs. The explanation is most probably "we didn't publish enough papers that are cited by other Scopus-indexed journals", which is not something that is easily fixed.
    – Allure
    Apr 27, 2022 at 6:36
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    Maybe relevant: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/182515/… Apr 27, 2022 at 11:26
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    Lesson: don't publish in scrummy journals. :|
    – Karl
    Apr 28, 2022 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


If it's already published, you can't.

Typically when you publish a paper, you sign some rights over to the publisher: you give them permission to put your work into their compilation. This comes either as assigning them copyright or granting some exclusive license to your work that says you will not license it to anyone else similarly.

Typically you also retain some rights that allow you to continue to present parts of the work, share copies among your close colleagues, etc. There also may be explicit terms that state when the work can be reproduced by another (for example, if you or someone else wants to reuse a particular figure in their work).

I am not aware of these terms including a clause that allows you to "withdraw" that publication: you've signed away those rights. "Withdrawing" a submitted manuscript is only an option available to you pre-publication.

You can "retract" a paper, but this is done when you as an author have done something wrong, and wish to inform others (or are compelled to do so) that they should not rely on it. Retracting a paper does not give you an option to re-publish it anywhere else, and isn't used because you want to punish your publisher.

I suspect the reason you care about this is because you work at an institution that requires "X papers published in SCOPUS-indexed journals" for graduation or promotion or whatever. This issue is something you'll have to take up with them, to see if they can "count" a publication based on it being previously SCOPUS-indexed, or whatever. In my opinion, these are really foolish rules but they aren't the fault of the publisher.


Bryan Krause already gives the right answer, namely "what you want to do is not possible". To explain why, you should not consider a journal as a collection of websites that can come and go, but as an actual collection of paper pages that are archived in libraries and other institutions that guarantee permanent storage of information.

If that's what a journal is, it becomes clear why "withdrawing a paper" cannot work: You certainly can't expect the publisher to send a note to hundreds of archival institutions that says "please take a pair of scissors and remove pages 101-129 of issue 2, volume 13 of our journal". All one can possibly do is publish another note that says that the publisher can no longer stand by an article because, for example, it contains fraudulently obtained data. Such a note would then appear in a later issue/volume. But the original article remains "published". That is generally true even for the websites: Publishers will add a note to the page, but the page with the article remains available -- because it can be retracted, but not unpublished.

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    Yes, and further, no one else would want to publish this already-published-but-scissored-out article. Reputable journals want to publish new research, not recycle old stuff so the author can claim a better journal. And if it's been cited by anyone, what happens to that citation? It now goes nowhere? It goes completely against the purposes of publishing something if publishing is temporary.
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 27, 2022 at 14:04

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