I had sent my manuscript mistakenly to two different journals and both journals are ready to publish (not yet published) my work which is not possible. So, after knowing their impact factor I requested one of the journals to withdraw my paper. They had just sent me the review of my paper and for withdrawal they are demanding $500 as a penalty. It is difficult for me to decide what to do.

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    You made a BIG mistake by sending your manuscript to two different journals. This is a NO-NO. Have you considered withdrawing the paper from the other journal?
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 9:50
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    I had send my manuscript mistakenly to two different journals How?!!!
    – enthu
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 9:51
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    They're demanding $500 as a penalty??? For what? Would they pay you a penalty for refusing your paper? Or if you were the reviewer and gave a positive review but they still rejected the paper? I don't think you are obliged to pay something like that and are good off just ignoring them. Of course, then you'll probably be "blacklisted" in that particular journal and may have a hard time getting published there in the future. But that kind of practice would have me seriously considering if I would want ever to cooperate with them again. Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 10:12
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    To elaborate on @EnthusiasticStudent’s comment: When publishing to most regular journals, you have to explicitly state that you did not submit to another journal and you usually receive at least some communication before your paper gets accepted. If you actually managed to honestly mistakenly submitted to two journals, at least one of the journals is likely to be predatory; otherwise you are missing out some details here. Also, the only publishers I could find with an admittedly brief search that do demand a penalty for withdrawal look rather shady to me at a quick glance.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 10:46
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    @EnthusiasticStudent I suspect that "I sent my manuscript mistakenly" means "I sent it and now realise this was a mistake" rather than "I sent it accidentally". Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 12:44

2 Answers 2


There is wrong on every side of this situation.

First, a journal demanding money for withdrawing a paper is suspicious in the extreme. I have never in my life heard of such a practice from a legitimate journal, which means that you were probably duped into submitting to a predatory (junk) publisher. If this is the case, you should definitely withdraw the paper and refuse to pay the money, but they may not let you: a dishonest publisher may simply publish your paper without your consent and send you a bill. If this happens, you can try to fight it, but you may end up needing to withdraw from the other journal instead and simply write off the paper and/or the $500 as a learning experience.

And what will you have learned?

  1. Never dual submit a paper: it is scientifically dishonest, wastes everybody's time, and seriously annoys any legitimate journal.
  2. Never submit a paper to a journal that you haven't thoroughly investigated to determine that it is not a shady fly-by-night predatory publisher.
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    About the fight: commercial publisher claim that, among other thing, their role is to take care of legal issues regarding the papers they submit. If the mistake is explained to the journal chosen by Shravan, and if the journal accepts to forgive the mistake of dual submission and publishes the paper, then the publisher might take legal action against the other publisher. Since publishing without signed copyright transfer agreement or any other legal document from the author blatantly breaks the rules on intellectual property, such a legal action has good chance to succeed. Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 8:06

As already stated in a comment, sending the same paper to two journals is just plain wrong and you are likely violating the journal agreements you agreed to when submitting them. So never ever do this again!

As for picking the journal with highest impact, well that seems like a fair choice but I wonder what the journal editors would say if they knew the manuscript was under consideration also in a second journal. Usually this is a specific question to which you state "the manuscript is not under consideration elsewhere" when you submit. So my guess is that your paper would be refused if they knew and I think you should let them know. Perhaps you did this out of ignorance but I think you should come out and explain your mistake, it is only fair and then your case may also receive a fair treatment.

As for the $500 penalty, you need to check what yo actually agreed to and what the journal states as rules for manuscripts. Clearly your manuscript has taken up a lot of resources unnecessarily. Even though I do not sympathize with your actions, there is an open question based on what the journal asks you to pay. Unless they have this in a clear statement or agreement I cannot see it as a valid request and you likely do not have to pay. However, you may of course become "known" to the journal editors which could harm future submissions to the same journal.

So my advice is, come out clean. Explain to both journals, and by cc to the other, what you have done and make sure you explain why you managed to do such a faux pas. Let the editors decide the outcome, your right to decide has long passed. By coming clean the editors may see leniently on the matter and your "choice".

Editor's can turn to Cope to get feedback on cases such as the one posted above. At COPE's (Committee On Publication Ethics) site it is possible to find their recommendations in similar cases. One that struck me as reasonably similar is the one linked to here, but do look around at their cases for additional impressions of where editors stand on multiple submissions and why being upfront about the issue can be a good idea.

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    Per your "About me", you are also an editor-in-chief, given the circumstances, how would you proceed if you received such an email? Presuming, of course, that no malicious intent of the author is stated in the email and that yours is the journal that the author intends to publish in (i.e. not the one the paper was withdrawn from). Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 11:54
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    If he just explains the situation to both journals, I can't see any outcome other than both of them refusing the publication… (not implying this is a good or bad thing, but it should definitely be pointed out clearly)
    – o0'.
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 16:07
  • thank u all but i didn't getting what to do finally...i can not pay such a huge amt...m a student...and editor in chief demanding my reply quickly within a 24-48 hrs...and he warned me "How can submit same article in different Journals, we will take action against you and inform to your College regarding this"
    – shravan
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 19:07
  • and the authors guidelines are here... Pre-Review: The author(s) can withdraw their papers at this step without paying any charges and/or posing compelling reasons. Peer-Review: The authors must have compelling reasons and pay 500 US$ as the withdrawal penalty. Review-Final Decision: The authors must have compelling reasons and pay 500 US$ as the withdrawal penalty. Review-Final Decision: The authors must have compelling reasons and pay 500 US$ as the withdrawal penalty.Post-Publication: Withdrawing at this step is not possible at all.
    – shravan
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 19:22
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    @shravan: I see on the journal web page that submission is be e-mail, is that correct? If you submitted by e-mail without attaching a signed document saying that you agreed to their terms, I very much doubt that really you have to pay, and I believe they can take any legal action against you. I you had submitted through a web form, things could be worse because you could have checked a box that implied you agreed with their terms. You say they threat to do is to inform your institution, probably your best defense strategy is to come clean also with your institution. Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 8:15

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