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I submitted an abstract to a journal that is on the predatory list of publishers. It has been accepted within hours, but I only now learned that publishing there involves fees and that the journal is on the predatory list. What can I do to protect my chapter? I have not sent the full manuscript as yet.

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    You use three different words to refer to what you have written: (i) abstract, (ii) chapter, (iii) manuscript. I assume that when you say chapter you mean the same thing as "manuscript". Is that correct? Mar 20, 2023 at 10:14
  • I have submitted a section of my manuscript as an abstract. Yes, you are correct.
    – farah
    Mar 20, 2023 at 10:17
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    the journal is on the predatory list - I guess you mean Beall's list? This alone does not necessarily imply the journal is predatory (though it surely is based on the rest of your post, which sounds very strange).
    – Kimball
    Mar 20, 2023 at 20:59
  • Do you know for sure the journal is predatory (apart from their strange behaviour)? Can you say what the journal is I can check the website, I'm just curious to make sure I also don't get stung.
    – Tom
    Mar 21, 2023 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

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Money is the great motivator for predatory journals. If you write and tell them that:

  1. You do not wish them to publish your abstract
  2. You will not be paying them anything
  3. You will not be sending them the manuscript

then it is very unlikely that they will publish even the abstract. The only reason for doing so would be so that they could pretend that you owe them money.

Since they won't have the manuscript, they will be unable to publish that part of your work even if they wanted to.

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    I don’t think that’s true. They want to establish credentials as a bona fide, reputable journal. Submissions from genuine academics are valuable to them. They may well use your abstract for those purposes even if there is no prospect of money from you.
    – innisfree
    Mar 21, 2023 at 11:33
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    @innisfree They may publish but that simply makes legal problems for them, as they will have ignored an explicit direction that the OP does not want them to. The OP does, however, need to make clear that they do not want the journal to publish them even if they do not want to be paid. Most likely the journal will move on to more easily fooled prey. They want, first and foremost, the money and, typical of con artists everywhere, they want easy money and (regrettably) they'll probably find it. Mar 21, 2023 at 20:25
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    This is not a certain strategy: One of my PhD students sent a paper to a journal that was in fact predatory and despite asking for a withdrawal, not paying anything, and no signing a copyright agreement the paper ended up published. Mar 23, 2023 at 9:55
  • Certainty?? If only there were! Absence of certainty was the reason for choosing the words "very unlikely". Mar 23, 2023 at 23:32
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Usually with journal publication there is some kind of publication agreement, and until there has been a publication agreement between author and journal, the author may withdraw the paper. The obvious way to proceed here is to let the journal know that you have decided to withdraw the paper, and then don't send them the manuscript. (Make sure to be polite in your correspondence; you have previously started a publication process with them, so it is appropriate to be polite and cordial in now withdrawing your submission.) If they don't have the actual manuscript then this substantially limits their ability to proceed, and if you don't yet have any contractually binding publication agreement with them, then they would have little recourse. Depending on the ethics of this particular predatory journal, at worst they might publish your abstract without an article, but that won't really help them or harm you much.

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    Thank you so much. As I have not published in a journal for a while I did not think about several factors which I should have. This is extremely helpful for an early career researcher.
    – farah
    Mar 20, 2023 at 10:14

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