I submitted my research paper in journal X on 7th July, 2014. Journal sent me one thanks email immediately. After that I waited for one month for any response from editor but nothing came from editor side.

Than I submitted my paper in other journal Y. My paper was accepted in that Journal and sent for review from editor side.

At 30 August, 2014 I received one acceptance email from the editor or journal X that my paper has accepted and I was asked to submit publication fee of 90$. But I could not reply this email due to busy schedule and I was also not interested to publish my paper in journal X. After that I could not receive any email or revision or anything from this journal X.

I continued to work with journal Y, modify paper according to reviewer comments, sign copyright agreement and now paper is in publication phase.

Yesterday, by chance I open my Google scholar account and find paper that was published in journal X to whom I was not interested and who was demanding 90$. When I checked the online paper, I was astonished that the journal published my paper in its July issue and date of publication was 1st July, even I send this paper on 7th July and journal X notify me about acceptance and fee payment on 30th August.

How its happened that Journal X published my paper without my consent and published it in back dates. Now what I should do because the same paper is in final publication phase in journal Y to whom I have signed copyright agreement also. Please guide me tell me any forum to raise voice against that journal X. Because I send many emails to editor of journal X but receiving no reply from editor side. Any penalty or any other thing which I can do.

  • 18
    I am not too sure Journal X is really wrong except that they had early submission date. You submitted your paper to them. They accepted it. You did not raise objection. Then they published it. It seems to me they did nothing wrong.
    – Nobody
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 9:54
  • 12
    Journal X accepted paper but did not get my consent or sign any agreement. They contact me on 30th august for acceptance but published it on 1st july without my consent or even informing me. Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 9:57
  • 61
    You made a mistake when you submitted the paper to Y without telling both X and Y that you already submitted it to X..
    – Nobody
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 10:02
  • 55
    Most journals do not reply in one month. I have the feeling that both journals are probably of low quality or scam journals. Either way, as @scaaahu comments you made a dual submission, which is a major mistake in Academia. And what is that: "I could not reply this email due to busy schedule", you did not reply to the journal you have submitted your work to? This is plain silly.
    – Alexandros
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 10:32
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    I'd like to amplify the apparent skectchiness of Journal X. If they did not have a copyright transfer agreement from you in writing, then at least in the US, they are in violation of the law and do not have the right to publish your article.
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 13:01

4 Answers 4


The fault here is yours.

You should never have the same paper be submitted in two different journals at the same time. This is an absolute rule that protects both you as an author and the journal as the publisher from duplication of effort, as well as avoiding situations like this.

If you had wanted to stop the publication in journal X, then you should have sent them a letter clearly retracting your submission. This would have ended the process at journal X, and allowed you to submit the paper to journal Y with a clear conscience.

Now, however, since the paper has been published by journal X, you are stuck. If journal Y publishes your paper, you will have the same article published in two different journals, which is also a violation of ethical standards, and could lead to both copies being retracted by the publisher. So, unfortunately, you are stuck paying the fees to the journal X, and the work you've done to improve the paper with journal Y is now "lost" to the literature.

As has also been pointed out, journal X appears to be quite sketchy, and I would avoid any future contact or involvement with them. But for now, consider this a lesson learned for the future.

  • 19
    "which is also a violation of ethical standards, and could lead to both copies being retracted by the publisher" - and not only that. Note how the OP pointed out to have "sign[ed] copyright agreement" for journal Y. If that agreement includes a clause about exclusive publication rights for journal Y, the publisher of journal Y would legally be in a position to sue journal X for copyright infringement, which (given the voluntary unretracted submission to journal X) might very well be passed on to the OP. Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 13:01
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    (The lack of a signed copyright agreement between the OP and journal X weakens the position of journal X, but the situation could well be in a realm where it is up to a court to judge whether the OP is, either intentionally or negligently, responsible for the copyright violation.) Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 13:03
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    @O.R.Mapper Somehow, if at least one of X,Y is a scam journal, the OP can still easily claim that one of them broke the policies, not the OP. However, this is again highly non-ethical.
    – yo'
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 19:09
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    I don't think it is clear that the OP is obligated to pay the fee. This may be the case, if the terms of submission specify this. But otherwise, the OP might not be obligated to pay. (If, for example, the journal is one which does not even tell you it charges until it 'decides' to accept your paper and only then tries to get money. Although I don't know why X would have published in that case. But they may be both sketchy and disorganised.)
    – cfr
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 22:49
  • Pretty much this, you published in X, send a letter/email to Y explained your mistake and ask for retraction.
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 20:25

I am sorry to say that you have ended up in a tricky situation totally on your own, and apparent lack of understanding of publishing. What you need to do? On the face of it the paper is accepted for publication in X and you need to withdraw the paper from Y.

Your description contains so many twists where you have seemingly dug yourself deeper that your best outcome is to learn from the mistakes and go on.

Some pointers:

  • You should never send papers to a journal where you really do not want to publish, or, I do not see the point of sending papers to a journal where you do not wish to publish

  • You should never send papers to more than one journal at a time. If the first choice rejects your paper, it is ok to pass it onto another

  • If you send a paper to a journal that charges for publication, there is no excuse not to follow up on those charges. Yo have essentially agreed to paying by submitting.

  • Your own time crunches is solely your problem. If you cannot answer E-mails or other correspondence in time, the world will not stop and wait for you.

So regardless of how you dislike journal X you have put yourself in a situation where you may have to accept the fact that the paper is with X and because of that Y should not be able to publish it.

  • 21
    +1 for ..If you cannot answer E-mails or other correspondence in time, the world will not stop and wait for you
    – Alexandros
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 13:11

You ask what to do with journal X, but I think it is more important to do the correct thing with journal Y first.

You should reread the copyright agreement that you signed for journal Y and see if you misrepresented the status of your work. (Typically when one signs these agreements one is representing that the work in question has not been published before and is not under submission at any other journal.) If so, you should immediately inform journal Y of your mistake and of the true publication status of your work!


I can't believe how everyone is blaming the OP.

Since you clearly did not sign an agreement with the journal X, I think you should talk to the lawyer and sue them. Laws may change from country to country regarding this, however it seems quite illegal to me that they demand $90 from you for something you did not agree for.

Does your university have a legal department to deal with such cases?

EDIT: I clearly understand that it's OP's fault to submit into 2 journals. However I clearly see 2 distinct issues here: 1. The OP unethically submitted to 2 journals. 2. Unethical Journal X supposedly published without the OP's agreement, as OP himself stated.

  • 26
    The journal may have an automatic copyright transfer clause, which says that submission of an article for review constitutes agreement to publish. Both journals almost certainly have a policy that prohibits dual submission, which the OP has violated. It's certainly not a straightforward legal battle, and it's one the OP may not have the resources for.
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 17:37
  • @ff524, good point, but I'm assuming that there is still some space for the OP to battle since there was no payment made, and the last agreement was not signed. It's however not a clear case, and involvement of the university would help a lot.
    – Elchin
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 17:43
  • 16
    Whether or not the journals are also predatory is beside the point. Dual submission is pretty much always considered unethical in academia, besides generally being explicitly against policy in journals.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 17:57
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    @Elchin: You can't separate the two problems here; the fact is that the unethical behavior of journal X does not excuse the unethical behavior of the OP.
    – aeismail
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 19:17
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    @Elchin: That's a bad analogy. The facts are that the OP submitted the same paper to a second journal without retracting it from the first. That is against the policies of pretty much every journal. The fact that the first journal is sketchy isn't an excuse; the second journal would be well within its rights to not publish the article.
    – aeismail
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 21:16

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