You received a flattering invitation from a publisher to publish your work.  You have not published much so you are delighted to have the chance of another paper being published.  This will look good on your CV.   So, you submit your manuscript and await to hear the outcome of the review.  You expect the peer-review process to take at least six to eight weeks, but you are happy when it comes back very quickly, without any corrections. You receive an encouraging email to say the paper will be published on payment of the article processing charge of $600 or higher.  You pay the fee and wait for confirmation of publication.  Finally, news arrives to say the work has been published and the citation is provided with a link to the published article.  This is great news!    

A few months later, by chance or by someone’s comments about the publisher, you find out that the publisher is not an accredited or reputable publisher.  In fact, you are referred to a list of blacklisted or predatory publishers, e.g., Stop Predatory Journals, Retraction Watch and others. (See Additional Reading below). 

This is very disappointing as you find out that you will lose out on citations, as well as any research incentive funds that may be available for publication in accredited journals.  You will also not receive any assistance or refund on the fee you paid to the publisher.   

What do you do now? 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to withdraw a paper once it has been published.  In essence, the paper is lost to you.  You will not be cited by reputable researchers, your h-index will be negatively affected, and your work, although of a high standard, will be devalued or disregarded because the journal or publisher itself is categorised as unscrupulous, questionable, or predatory. 

How will it affect your CV, chances for new positions or promotions, etc?   

Unfortunately, it will not look good on your CV. However, do not remove or omit it from your CV.  Potential employers or interviewers for promotion can search the Web and find all your online publications, even the ones published in predatory or questionable publications.  To avoid embarrassment, should they ask you why the article is not included in your CV, rather include it under a separate heading.  Include all your works published in reputable journals or books under “Publications” and then include those published in predatory or questionable publications under the heading “Other Publications”.   If for any reason you published in an accredited journal a few years ago, and the journal has since been removed from current accredited lists because of plagiarism, poor quality, or predatory practices, then you should include it under “Publications” but in brackets state that at the time of publication (underline the date), the work was included in an accredited list, e.g. Scopus, ISI or another relevant accredited list.     

Additional Reading: 

Stop Predatory Journals
Retraction Watch

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash