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It has been asked before if it is ethical to withdraw from one journal, from which a paper has been accepted, and resubmit to another better journal. I believe that the situation here is a little bit different.

I submitted an article to a Computer Science conference in which the organizers stated that the proceedings were going to be published with publisher X, that is indexed by Scopus and Scimago. I personally checked up if that publisher was on those indexing sites, and it was true; so far so good. So I submit a research paper to that conference that got accepted and in the acceptance letter they put again that paper will be put on the proceedings published with publisher X.

A few days after my notification letter, I checked up again at the site and saw that "misteriously" they have taken away the note saying that they will publishing with publisher X, to put that they will be publishing with another publisher X. When I checked it up I saw that the publisher Y is not indexed on Scopus, or Scimago, but only by Google Scholar, DBLP, EBSCO, DOAJ, and ProQuest.

I have also seen in the webpage that publisher X has put the following message on their news site:

Please be aware that there are conferences claiming to be associated with X, despite having no relationship with us whatsoever. X attaches the utmost importance to standard and quality of publications. If you are aware of any such conferences, or suspect their authenticity, please contact us at xxxxxxx.

Personally I feel like being cheated. I mean, I have spent time and financial resources for trying to reach the deadline, and now this conference has just changed the rules without giving a notification to anybody.

Long story short, I have seen other conferences that are really sponsored by publisher X; and the question that I have is if I should resubmit my research paper to these other venues? I have still not paid for the registration part, I only got the acceptance letter. Also one funny thing is that this conference put a document of copyright transfer, which was the format of publisher X, but since publisher X has informed that they do not have any relationship with this conference I did not sign any document.

In the conference site they have put the following (I put it here for clarification purposes):

To be published in the XXXX Conference Proceedings and submitted to X, an author of an accepted paper is required to register for the conference at the full (member or non-member) rate and the paper must be presented by an author of that paper at the conference unless the Workshop Chair grants permission for a substitute presenter.

Actually publisher X has put a list of conferences that are misusing their name (this was recently posted a few days ago), and that conference is pointed out in that list.

  • Would you first withdraw the paper from the conference which has accepted it? – Patricia Shanahan Mar 5 '15 at 15:24
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    Have you signed a copyright transfer? If so, you may not have the option to publish elsewhere. – Nate Eldredge Mar 5 '15 at 16:06
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    interesting question @NateEldredge, the copyright transfer belonged to the original X publisher, but since they have removed it I have not signed anything – Layla Mar 5 '15 at 16:08
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    Why don't you follow the good advice you have received on this website? On another previous question, you got the following advice: "If you do not know about a conference, do not send your paper there" (me) "highly generic CS conferences tend not to be of very high quality" (Dave Clarke) and "Do you know who any of these people are? Do you know anything about the places where they work? Have you ever cited a paper from this conference? Have you ever read a paper from this conference? Has your advisor ever published at this conference? Has your advisor ever heard of this conference?" (JeffE) – Alexandros Mar 5 '15 at 16:46
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    @Layla. No high-profile or even good CS conference has to advertise any of those things, because they are already implied by the conference value in the community. VLDB or SODA will never say "Indexed by Scopus or Scimago" because all the people submitting there already know the value of this conference. I receive tons of emails about conferences "indexed by Scopus or Scimago" and they all end up in my spam mail folder. You should probably do the same. – Alexandros Mar 5 '15 at 17:05
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At this point I think you need to get in touch with publisher X directly and ask them what's going on with this conference.

You mention the note on their web page that conferences may be using their name without their consent, and it does seem likely that this conference may be one of those, but you need to be absolutely sure. Ask X explicitly if they are, or ever were, intending to publish the proceedings of this conference.

Then find out what the status of the copyright transfer is. Maybe X really does have it and, in light of the situation, would be willing to transfer it back to you. Maybe they already transferred it to someone else (eg the new publisher Y). Maybe this was another instance of the conference misusing X's name and they know nothing about it. In the latter case, you might be able to claim the transfer is void because it was fraudulent; but ideally you would talk to a lawyer before doing anything further.

  • Talking to a lawyer seems like serious overkill for dealing with a shady publisher, who are probably operating out of somebody's back room in a random distant country. Just get everything on record (so if you ever do need a lawyer, you've got the material they'll need) and walk away. As the George Bernard Shaw quote goes: "Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." – jakebeal Mar 5 '15 at 16:40
  • @jakebeal: You're probably right, but I wanted to be conservative. If I'd signed something that was apparently a valid copyright transfer, I'd hesitate before turning around and doing something that obviously violates it (e.g. publishing elsewhere). – Nate Eldredge Mar 5 '15 at 16:41
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If your paper was submitted to a scam publication venue, because that scam venue had willfully misrepresented itself as a legitimate venue, then it is perfectly reasonable for you to withdraw your paper and resubmit it to a legitimate venue instead.

Actually doing so, however, may pose some challenges, so I would recommend the following procedure:

  1. Get in touch with X and confirm that you really are being scammed, and that it's not just incompetent conference staff.
  2. Assuming you are being scammed, contact the scammers and withdraw your publication, cc'ing the contact at X who has confirmed the scam.
  3. The scammers will likely fail to respect your request for withdrawal, likely publishing without your consent. You can't do anything about this, because they are fundamentally dishonest, and you don't have the resources to fight them. X might choose to do so, however.
  4. Submit your paper to a legitimate venue, and get it properly published.

Now, if the scammers publish your paper without your consent before your paper is reviewed, there is the possibility that somebody might notice it and think that you are self-plagiarizing. It's not clear to me whether it's better to address this head-on with a note in your cover letter, or whether to wait until it comes up (assuming that the reviewers will discount a fraudulent site). I suspect that it is unlikely to come up, but you should decide whether you would prefer to speak about it in advance or whether you want to wait and respond if necessary.

  • I'd be less concerned about the reviewers noticing pre-publication than I would be about people at a site like pubpeer.com accusing you of self-plagiarism after the fact. – Corvus Mar 5 '15 at 16:19
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    @jakebeal, I did contact the publisher and they reply to me stating that they do not have any relationship with that conference. They have sent a letter to this conference, and now the have removed publisher´s X logo from its site. – Layla Mar 5 '15 at 16:34
  • @Layla Then you've already done step 1. Now withdraw your paper and get it somewhere legitimate... – jakebeal Mar 5 '15 at 16:37

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