one may send an article to a journal and the journal accepted it. However, the author do not want to publish his article on this journal for some reason and as soon as the author get message from the journal notified to withdraw the article. Is that possible for the journal to publish after the author announced them not to publish (withdraw)?

  • 5
    "However, the author do not want to publish his article on this journal for some reason". Then why he send it there in the first place?
    – Alexandros
    May 23, 2016 at 12:53
  • @Alexandros: I can think of some reasons, e.g., there are some courses which require submitting your course papers to a journal (and yes, this is very bad and should not be done). Nonetheless, this question is unanswerable without further details. What are the reasons? And what exactly means possible?
    – Wrzlprmft
    May 23, 2016 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


In US (and probably many other places), unless the authors have signed a copyright transfer agreement, the journal does not have a legal right to publish the article since they do not own the copyright to the material. If the journal required the copyright transfer/assignment as part of submission process, and the authors all signed it, then the journal has the right to publish it. It would be impolite to do so after a request for retraction, but there's a difference between what's polite and what's legal.

  • @ff524, ask your or your institution's attorney. It shouldn't be enforceable, IMO, and I know of no instances of anyone being taken to court to enforce such an agreement. US law requires explicit written transfers as far as I know, which this also appears not to be. That being said, an automatic license (which that is not) might be more enforceable since the author would retain the copyright, and a license is really all the publisher needs.
    – Bill Barth
    May 23, 2016 at 15:25

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