I have submitted my review paper for publication to more than two journals. I was unaware of the consequences. The paper got accepted at al three journals. They asked for payment and copyright etc. I haven't processed anything as I only want to publish it in one journal only. I also became aware that it's unethical. So far, I only have the acceptance emails, but no further processing has been done by me. What can I do now to publish my paper? I think that one of the three journals is best one and I want to publish my paper there. What do I have to do so that I'm not being unethical nor breaking any rules?

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    related, possible duplicate: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/21742/… May 30 at 8:39
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    1) why did you submit to three papers in first place? 2) why do you use your real name? 3) did you claim at submission each one was the only submission?
    – EarlGrey
    May 30 at 8:47
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    "What can I do now to publish my paper?" if you act unethically, then you would be better off thinking of those that you have treated unethically, rather than considering only yourself. You ought to email the editors of the three journals explaining the circumstances and apologising. Hopefully at least one of them will still be willing to publish the paper, and then you can make a choice without further ethical issues, May 30 at 11:20
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    To expand on @JoelReyesNoche’s comment: There are a few things about your situation that are unlikely unless you have been submitting to predatory publishers: 1) All three journals accepted the paper about the same time. 2) All journals are pay-to-publish. 3) All three journals accepted your manuscript (assuming that you have little publishing experience and no proper mentoring on this). 4) You have not previously wondered what to do about peer-review comments from one journal when improving the manuscript for another.
    – Wrzlprmft
    May 30 at 12:37
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    "They asked for payment" What? The only situation in which I would pay someone to take things I produced from me is when I need a garbage disposal. Of course, if your work is of that quality, then I have nothing to say, but otherwise my recommendation would be to withdraw from all three and to submit to some decent place. And don't worry about the ethics: anything short of outright murder would be super-duper ethical with respect to such scoundrels.
    – fedja
    May 30 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


To get to a stage wherr your paper has been accepted, multiple people for each journal have spent their time and effort to assess your paper (editors, reviewers) - while in the case of the reviewers not even getting payed for their efforts. By submitting the paper to three journals at the same time, you have basically wasted the time of al people involved in the submission process of two of the journals. The proper way to do it (for the future) is to submit to your first choice, and then if you don't get accepted sent it to the next one in line. This is a more timeconsuming process but the morally and ethically correct one (see also the answers to this question).

As this train has already left the station (and you already behaved unethically by wasting peoples time and ressources) you should try to do damage control and inform the other two journals as polite as possible that you have to decline the offer. Don't try to make up lies (like you don't have funding anymore) as the editor of one journal might be well aware of what articles are published in the other, related ones and will probably see that your article will be published there.

You could try to be brutally honest and tell the other two journals what you did and that you are very sorry, but being an unexperienced academic you did not know better and will not do so again in the future.

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    In addition, the person has possibly lied to the typical clause that no paper under consideration elsewhere is to be submitted. It could be that the journals are predatory because they have a short response time, because otherwise journal reaction times differ widely. In this case the fraudsters would have been defrauded.
    – tschwarz
    May 30 at 11:32

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