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.
Money is the great motivator for predatory journals. If you write and tell them that:
- You do not wish them to publish your abstract
- You will not be paying them anything
- 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.
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.