At the launch event last month for the InterAcademy Partnership’s (IAP) recently released report on combatting predatory academic journals and conferences, an all too familiar question was posted to the virtual session’s chat by an attendee:
… I made this mistake once and I published a paper in one of these journals … now it does not appear online on searching … how can I withdraw this paper and republish it in a trusted journal??
#SpoilerAlert. The awful conclusion of this blog post is that the odds and prospects don’t look good if you have inadvertently published with a questionable publisher/predatory publisher (or if you are suffering belatedly from buyer’s remorse). The moral of the story is to carefully check the bonafides of a publisher before submitting a paper to them.
Act I: Setup
‘… I made this mistake once and I published a paper in one of these journals …’
The ‘mistake’ made (or in our drama, the ‘inciting incident’) was unknowingly submitting work to and publishing it in a predatory journal. This can and does happen innocently and somewhat easily to unsuspecting researchers, most often students and early career researchers.