I have received the acceptance of my paper from Editor board. However, the print charges is much higher than I expected. My original manuscript contained only 12 pages but the proof (final version), which was sent to me contains 24 pages. So the print charges are doubled.

Now I want to withdraw this paper. Is it ethical/acceptable/legal?

  • 4
    To be clear, did the increase in length stem from an increase in the content of the paper during peer review, or from changes in the formatting by the publisher? If the latter, what information did the publisher provide about the page charges? If they were thorough, they would have provided sufficient guidelines to get a good approximation of the printing charges. If they did and you didn't read them, then it's mostly your fault at this stage; if they didn't then they were being fairly unprofessional.
    – E.P.
    Dec 19, 2015 at 1:46
  • 1
    Related to @E.P.'s comment, if it was from formatting, did they provide a template for you to pre-format your paper in the journal format? (This is common for journals that take LaTeX submissions.)
    – Kimball
    Dec 19, 2015 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


You can withdraw the paper.

That said, it is expected that you are informed about the rules before you submit. Unless those prices/editing practices were hidden upon submission, it would not be professional to have your paper reviewed by 2-3 experts, evaluated by an editor, perhaps multiple times, and then withdrawn because you do not agree with the publication policies.

Your particular case makes me think that your submission was within the declared costs, and that the editing process made it longer than required.

What I can recommend to you is to explain your situation to the editor and to the publishing staff. You might obtain a fee waiver, or a discount.

  • 4
    Agreed on talking to the editor. Most (legitimate) journals which have publishing fees will have a waver program where authors with demonstrable financial limitations - particularly ones from developing countries - are able to publish at a reduced cost.
    – R.M.
    Dec 19, 2015 at 0:22

The question is whether you could reasonably know that the editing process extended the length of the paper. A factor of two is drastic.

I personally would check (on the web) whether people have complained about such practices of that journal before (i.e. whether it is something they play regularly) or whether the particular structure of your manuscript is especially prone to expand.

If you are a postdoc or a PhD student, you might argue that you expected a certain charge +- some corrections, but that you cannot possibly afford a complete doubling of the cost. As mentioned in the other answer, check that this is not something you could have known before, just to make sure. Nevertheless, if you indeed did not have access to their formatting styles prior to submission, I would consider it questionable practice by the journal if does not permit you to approximately estimate the cost prior to the whole process.

Assuming you could have not reasonably estimated that the page number is going to double, I do not see a problem to ask for a waiver of the difference to the expected cost or, if that's not possible, to withdraw.

  • 1
    Scientific publishing has a profitability margin - it is said - which competes with one achievable by criminal activity. To be fair, this sounds like a fallacy. I also have the same number of arms as most convicted felons, but that doesn't make me a criminal. We have plenty of valid arguments against publishers, so let us not resort to invalid ones. :) Dec 19, 2015 at 7:22
  • You are right: it is a polemic. However: being editor/referee/author in quite a few venues/journals, I can say that while there are journals that provide professional quality service for which the cost is justified, there are outlets (even with so-called "reputable" publishers), where virtually everything is done by unpaid honour-based scientists, and the journal still costs a lot of money. Plus dodgy/unethical practices have been ramping up lately, and even in reputable outlets. Journals' high profitability may be just honest business; or it may due to us scientists being easy chumps. Dec 19, 2015 at 7:57
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    I don't object to being polemic with publishers: I am myself, and I agree completely with you. I object to using invalid arguments against them. Dec 19, 2015 at 8:19
  • Point taken. Perhaps I should have said that the high profitability of certain publishers (we do not know whether this is the case here) is difficult to explain with sound and ethical procedures (in fact, cases are known where they don't), and that therefore the OP should be wary whether the journal may be attempting unsound dealings with authors. I have never ever seen page charges doubling, so this flagged my alarms. But perhaps the OP used 10pt, single-lined text filled to tight margins and the journal has a very loose style. Dec 19, 2015 at 8:46
  • I have modified my polemics at the end of my answer; thank you, Federico, for helping to moderate my response. Dec 19, 2015 at 8:52

You can absolutely withdraw the paper. Predatory pricing is wrong; paying to publish is wrong. You should not be charged for producing academic content. The readers should be willing to pay if your work is worth reading, and the review process should have made certain that it was worth reading.

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