Call it stupidity or bad luck but I am guilty of submitting my research article to a journal which is listed in Beall's List of Predatory Publishers.

It is my first article and I don't have much experience publishing articles. I was searching for a top impact factor journal and found this one on Google and in excitement sent my article (word and pdf files) in this journal a few days ago, only to discover later that this might be a bogus journal.

Now I am worried about that what will happen to my article. What if they plagiarize my paper, or send it to another journal not giving me credit?

My question is that what should I do now? Should I send my article to a reputable journal now? What should be the process? What if it is flagged for fraud by that journal? What are my options?

Any help would be appreciated.

  • 11
    Is your paper accepted for publication? Did you send the camera ready version? If not, you can always retract the paper. Do it as soon as possible
    – Alexandros
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 18:51
  • 9
    Do as @aeismail says. Withdraw NOW.
    – Alexandros
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 19:24
  • 6
    Well just do not pay. They will throw your paper in the garbage can. Don't be afraid of "plagiarism" (this makes me smile): journals with fees, (unless few top journals) mostly are just after the fee, and the review is just a "formality".
    – Pam
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 12:12
  • 2
    I don't understand all these suggestions about withdrawing the paper "NOW!1!1!1!1!". If just asking to withdraw is enough, then that journal isn't really as bad as it seems. If however it is so bad, then just asking will yield no results. Either way, it's pointless.
    – o0'.
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 20:48
  • 1
    How does a journal from Beall's list gets to have a 'top impact factor' in your field? Assuming you are talking about the legitimate IF.
    – Cape Code
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 12:34

3 Answers 3


If the paper has not yet been accepted for publication, you are free to withdraw the paper from consideration. Depending on the policies of the journal to which you submit the article, you may need to disclose the prior submission, and explain why you withdrew the publication from consideration.

Unfortunately, there's little you can do to stop the publishers of the first journal from doing something unsavory with your article. You will need to exercise vigilance in monitoring the work in this area to ensure that the paper isn't mishandled or worse. Be sure to maintain records of all of the correspondence you have had with the journal—and make sure of all it is documentable—phone calls won't suffice here.

However, if all the journal has is a PDF of your original article, it makes it a lot harder to do anything with it: it is tedious work to convert it into the template that most publishers use without significant effort. Thus, without the original graphics and text files, it will be difficult for them to "transmit" the paper elsewhere.

  • They have sent me a mail of acknowledgment of article submission but it does not mention title of my paper.
    – awatan
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 19:12
  • 9
    At this stage, just withdraw the paper from consideration by the journal.
    – aeismail
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 19:14
  • and as far as documentation goes, my article was accepted in an IEEE associated conference earlier this year but I was not able to present it due to travel issues. I have their acceptance mail with me. Would that be good enough proof if some thing bad happens to my article?
    – awatan
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 19:22
  • 2
    @JewelThief In case of being plagiarised, they can testify you submitted it to them earlier.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 20:49
  • @JewelThief, why are you submitting the same paper to a conference and a journal? That can be considered duplicate publication. Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 21:38

aesmail's post is right on. In addition, I would recommend creating some Google Alerts for some unique sentences or phrases from your article as well. Use quotes around the whole text in each query. Make sure that the ones you pick are unique to your work by finding query strings that are exactly from your work and return no results on Google now. That way, if they do make use of your words, you have a chance of finding out when it happens. You might have to make several of these, but if you use some key passages, you've got a good chance of catching them if they do.

  • Thanks for pointing this out. I had this in mind, but forgot to mention it.
    – aeismail
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 19:13

I would like to add that a predatory journal is not always and necessarily a bad journal. All reputable publishers have low impact factor journals in their house, and some non reputable publishers may have good journals.

I've even heard stories for publishers from that list to be eventually removed from the list.

I don't see the fear on plagiarism very rational, as all papers are public in one way or another, so if someone wants to plagiarise, they don't need access to your paper. (So, you can withdraw it from the app and submit it asap somewhere else).

My main concern would be to connect my (first) work with a bad journal and the chance they publish it regardless you pay/withdraw or not. But before you panick, make sure how well this journal stands. If you found it as among the top impact factor ones in your field, it cannot be that bad. Check SJR and Scopus. Also, consult your supervisor or a colleague who can propose you a journal.

  • 2
    Low impact factor does by far not equal predatory. Some journals may be wrongly labeled as predatory, but those who really are predatory are bad per definition – they only exist to take the authors’ money. — If you found it as among the top impact factor ones in your field, it cannot be that bad. – You know that predatory journals tend to pass other (bogus) metrics as an impact factor, do you?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 14:29
  • @Wrzlprmft They might tend to pass other metrics as an impact factor, but it is fairly easy to check the official lists of THE impact factor and other trustworthy metrics. So, my answer for me is still valid. If these metrics are high, then it can't be that bad. If you want to discuss how valid IF and all other reputable metrics are, that's another (good) discussion.
    – BioGeo
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 19:25
  • If these metrics are high, then it can't be that bad. – Sure, but do you really assume that when the asker was talking the impact factor of the journal, they were actually talking about the impact factor?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 19:58
  • @Wrzlprmft In retrospect, it's possible that he didn't mean that. But I think anyone who is at the point of publishing a paper has either the experience or someone to ask on where to look for the high impact factor journals. And maybe (I haven't checked) Google (scholar) would be one of these places.
    – BioGeo
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 21:42
  • 1
    @Wrzlprmft Predatory publishers thrive because when you apply for a job or a grant, few read your papers. They check the papers you pinpoint and the number of publcations. That's where these publishers step on and that's why people choose them. Not because they don't know. Of course there might be a few accidentally doing it, like the OP in this question, but most of the people who are in academia for a while select them only to increase faster their publication list.
    – BioGeo
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 10:42

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