How to Withdraw Research Paper from a Journal?

Withdraw research Paper from journal

Publishing a research paper is a momentous occasion for any academic or researcher. It represents the culmination of months or even years of hard work, data collection, and analysis. However, even after a paper has been accepted and published in a reputable journal, circumstances may arise that prompt an author or group of authors to reconsider their decision to publish. Here the authors may decide to withdraw research paper from journal.

In this blog post, we will explore the process of withdrawing or retracting a research paper from a journal, including the reasons why authors might choose to do so, the steps involved in requesting a withdrawal or retraction, and the potential consequences of such a decision.

Please note, if only one author decides to withdraw then he/she can withdraw his/her name from the research paper. Though this option is a bit complicated, still the author has the choice to come out of the published work, Please refer to my blog post on 4 Easy Steps to Withdraw Author Name from a Research Paper for further details.

We will also discuss alternatives to withdrawing a paper and address some common questions and concerns that authors may have about the process. Whether you are a seasoned researcher or a new academic, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical advice for navigating the complex world of academic publishing.

Introduction

Withdrawal of a research paper from a journal refers to the process of formally requesting the journal to remove the paper from their publication process, whether it has been accepted or not. This means that the paper will not be published in the journal, and it will no longer be available for readers to access.

There are various reasons why a researcher might want to withdraw their paper. One common reason is the discovery of errors in the paper, such as inaccuracies in the data, methodology, or analysis. These errors could range from minor mistakes to more serious issues that affect the validity of the paper.

Another reason for withdrawing a paper is ethical concerns. For example, the paper may have been submitted without the knowledge or consent of all authors or may have been found to contain plagiarized content. In such cases, withdrawing the paper is an ethical responsibility of the authors to ensure that the integrity of the research and the journal is maintained.

Other reasons for withdrawing could include changes in the research focus or direction, a lack of interest in pursuing publication, or the journal not meeting the author’s expectations or requirements.

It’s important to note that withdrawing a paper can have consequences and should not be taken lightly. Therefore, careful consideration of the reasons and alternatives for withdrawing a paper should be made before making a request to the journal.

Whether Withdrawing a Research Paper from Conference and Journal Differ?

Withdrawing a research paper from a journal and withdrawing a research paper from a conference are different processes.

Withdrawing a research paper from a conference typically involves notifying the conference organizers that you will no longer be presenting your paper at the conference. This can be done for various reasons, such as a scheduling conflict, a change in research focus, or a decision to submit the paper to a different conference.

On the other hand, withdrawing a research paper from a journal involves removing the paper from the journal’s publication process. This can be done for various reasons, such as discovering errors in the research, concerns about the validity or ethics of the research, or a decision to submit the paper to a different journal.

While the processes may be different, it is important to carefully consider the decision to withdraw a paper from either a journal or a conference, as it can have implications for future research opportunities and professional relationships.

I have written a detailed blog post on How can I Withdraw my Research Paper from the Conference?.

What is the Difference Between the Withdrawal and Retraction of a Research Paper?

Withdrawal and retraction are two different ways to remove a published paper from a journal, but they have different implications.

Withdrawal refers to the removal of a paper that has not yet been published or has been accepted for publication but not yet released online or in print. The author or the journal can request the withdrawal of the paper for various reasons, such as a discovery of errors, ethical concerns, or a change in the author’s research focus. If the paper is withdrawn, it will not be published in the journal, and it will not be part of the journal’s official record.

Retraction, on the other hand, refers to the removal of a paper that has already been published in the journal, either online or in print. A retraction notice is typically published in the journal to alert readers to the fact that the paper has been removed and why.

Retraction is usually considered when there is a serious problem with the paper, such as data fabrication or plagiarism, or when errors or misconduct are discovered that significantly affect the results or conclusions of the paper. Retracted papers remain part of the journal’s official record, but they are marked as retracted.

Here is a table summarizing the key differences between a journal withdrawal and a journal retraction:

ParameterJournal WithdrawalJournal Retraction
DefinitionRemoval of a manuscript from the publication process before it has been publishedRemoval of a manuscript from the publication process after it has been published
Who initiatesAuthor or publisherJournal editor
Reason for actionErrors, ethical concerns, or other issues that make publication inappropriateSerious ethical violations, fraudulent research, or major errors that significantly undermine the validity of the findings
Timing of actionBefore publicationAfter publication
Visibility of actionGenerally not publicly disclosedPublicly disclosed with an explanation of the reason for the retraction
Availability of articleRemoved from the journal’s website and database before publicationMay remain in the journal’s archives with a notice of retraction
Effect on authorGenerally no formal sanctionsMay result in damaged reputation or inability to publish in certain journals or institutions
Effect on readershipLimited impactCan cause confusion and undermine trust in the journal or the scientific process
Effect on citationsMinimal impact, as the manuscript was never publishedSignificant impact, as the article is no longer considered valid and should not be cited

It is important to note that the exact details of a journal’s policies on withdrawals and retractions may vary, and authors should always consult the journal’s guidelines or contact the editor for specific guidance on these matters.

Steps to Withdraw your Research Paper from the Journal

Whether all Authors have to make a Request for Withdrawal?

It is recommended that all authors of a paper agree on the decision to withdraw it from a journal. However, if one or more authors wish to withdraw the paper and the other authors do not agree, the situation can become more complicated.

In such cases, it is advisable to seek guidance from the journal’s editorial team or seek legal advice, as it may depend on the specific circumstances of the case, such as the publishing agreement and the roles of the authors in the research.

Contact the Editor-in-Chief or Managing Editor of the Journal

The first step in withdrawing a paper is to contact the editor-in-chief or managing editor of the journal. The editor-in-chief or managing editor is usually the person responsible for managing the submission and publication process. You can typically find their contact information on the journal’s website.

Submit a Written Request for a Paper Withdrawal

Once you have contacted the editor-in-chief or managing editor, you will need to submit a written request for withdrawal. The written request should include the title and authors of the paper, as well as a clear and concise reason for the withdrawal. It’s important to be honest and transparent about the reason for the withdrawal, as this will help the journal to make an informed decision and take appropriate action.

How should I Communicate with the Editor if I Decide to Withdraw my Paper?

If you decide to withdraw your paper from a journal, it’s important to communicate with the journal’s editorial team in a professional and timely manner. Here is an example of how to do so:

Dear Editor-in-Chief,                                                                                                                         I am writing to request the withdrawal of my paper titled "Title of the paper" from your journal. The reason for the withdrawal is due to the identification of a significant error in the data analysis.                                             I understand that the paper has been published online but has not yet been assigned to an issue. If it is possible to remove the paper entirely, I would greatly appreciate it.                                                                However, if it has already been assigned to an issue, I request that a formal retraction notice be published in the next issue. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.             Please let me know if there is any additional information or documentation that you need from me.                                                                            Thank you for your understanding.                                           Sincerely,                                                                                                                                                                         [Your Name]

How to Withdraw Research Paper from Poor Quality Journal?

If you have discovered that the journal in which you published your paper is of poor quality or questionable reputation, it is understandable that you may want to withdraw your paper. When communicating with the editor about your decision to withdraw, it is generally recommended that you provide a clear and honest reason for your decision.

You could explain to the editor that you have concerns about the quality or reputation of the journal and that you no longer feel comfortable having your work associated with it. You may also want to mention that you have found another, more reputable journal to which you plan to submit your paper.

It’s important to note that if the journal has already published your paper, it may not be possible to withdraw it entirely. However, you may be able to request that the journal add a notice or comment indicating that you no longer wish to have your work associated with the journal.

It’s also worth considering whether you have any ethical or legal obligations to the journal or its readers, such as if the journal has paid you for the publication or if there are any copyright or licensing agreements in place. If you are unsure about your obligations, you may want to seek advice from a legal or ethical expert before proceeding.

The email template below shows how to write an email to the editor for a research paper withdrawal where the journal is of poor quality

Subject: Request for Withdrawal of Paper Titled [Insert Title] 
Dear Editor, 
I am writing to request the withdrawal of my paper titled [Insert Title], which was recently published in [Insert Journal Name]. 
After much consideration and further research, I have come to the realization that the journal is of poor quality and has a questionable reputation within the academic community.                                                                             Given these concerns, I no longer feel comfortable having my work associated with the journal and would like to request the withdrawal of my paper. I have already found another, more reputable journal to which I plan to submit my paper.              If possible, I would appreciate it if the journal could remove my paper entirely from all online and print versions of the publication. 
If this is not possible, I would request that notice or comment be added to indicate that I no longer wish to have my work associated with the journal. I want to assure you that this decision is not a reflection of the journal's editorial team or the quality of the peer review process. 
I simply believe that it is in the best interest of my research and academic integrity to withdraw my paper from this particular journal. Please let me know if there are any additional steps that I need to take in order to complete the withdrawal process. 
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. 
Sincerely[Your Name]

I have written a detailed blog post on Avoiding Predatory Conferences and Journals: A Step by Step Guide for Researchers. This article will help the researcher to easily identify predatory journals.

Partial Retraction or Correction of a Published Research Paper

It is possible to request a partial retraction or correction of a published paper, rather than a full retraction. This can be a good option if the issues with the paper are limited to specific sections or findings and if the overall conclusions and implications of the research remain valid.

A partial retraction or correction may involve publishing a correction or erratum notice alongside the original paper, in which the errors or issues are identified and corrected. Alternatively, the journal may choose to publish a separate partial retraction notice, in which specific sections or findings of the paper are retracted or corrected.

It’s important to note that a partial retraction or correction should only be considered if the issues with the paper are relatively minor and do not affect the overall validity or reliability of the research. If the issues are more significant or if there are ethical concerns or research misconduct, a full retraction may be necessary.

If you are considering a partial retraction or correction, it’s important to communicate openly with the journal’s editorial team and to follow their guidelines and procedures for making such requests. This can help ensure that the correction or retraction is handled appropriately and that the overall integrity and credibility of the research are maintained.

Here’s an example email request for a partial retraction or correction of a published research paper:

Subject: Request for Partial Retraction or Correction of [Paper Title]  
Dear [Editor's Name],                                                               I am writing to request a partial retraction or correction of the published paper titled [Paper Title], which was published in [Journal Name] on [Publication Date]. The reason for this request is to address some errors in specific sections or findings of the paper, while maintaining the validity of the overall research.   After reviewing the paper, I have identified the following errors that require correction: [List the specific sections or findings of the paper that require correction or retraction].                                                          I would like to request that the journal publish a correction or erratum notice alongside the original paper, in which the errors or issues are identified and corrected.                                                              Alternatively, I suggest publishing a separate partial retraction notice, in which specific sections or findings of the paper are retracted or corrected. I understand that partial retraction or correction should only be considered if the issues with the paper are minor and do not affect the overall validity or reliability of the research. 
I believe that the corrections or retractions I am proposing to meet this criterion and will help to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the research.             Please let me know if there is any further information or documentation required to support this request.                                                                I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you soon. hank you for your time and consideration.                                  Sincerely,                                                                        [Your Name]

Removal of Withdrawn Research Paper from online Databases and Search Engines

The time it takes for a withdrawn or retracted paper to be removed from online databases (Scopus, Web of Science) and search engines can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the specific database or search engine, the policies of the publisher and journal, and the reason for the withdrawal or retraction.

In general, once a paper has been withdrawn or retracted, it is typically removed from the journal’s website and any associated databases or indexes as soon as possible. However, it may take some time for the changes to propagate to all relevant databases and search engines, and there is no guarantee that the paper will be completely removed from all sources.

It’s also important to note that even if a paper is removed from online databases and search engines, it may still be accessible through other means, such as printed copies or archived versions of the journal.

If you are concerned about the visibility of a withdrawn or retracted paper, it’s important to communicate with the journal’s editorial team and any relevant databases or search engines to ensure that the paper is removed as quickly and completely as possible.

If the Journal Editor Rejects the Request for Withdrawal?

If the journal editor rejects the request for withdrawal, it is important to carefully review the terms of the publishing agreement and any relevant policies of the journal. If the agreement or policies do not provide a clear path forward for withdrawal, you may want to consider seeking the advice of a legal professional or your institution’s research ethics committee.

However, before taking any legal or formal action, it is recommended to try and negotiate with the editor and the journal’s editorial team to come to a mutually acceptable solution. You may want to provide additional evidence or reasoning to support your request for withdrawal and address any concerns or objections raised by the editor.

Research Paper Withdrawal Limitations

If the paper has already been published online or in print, it may not be possible to withdraw it entirely. In such cases, the journal may be able to issue a correction or retraction of the paper, but the original version will still be available for readers to access.

Consequences of Withdrawing a Research Paper from Journal

Withdrawing a paper could have a negative impact on your reputation in the academic community, as well as on future opportunities for publication. Therefore, you should carefully consider the decision to withdraw a paper and explore alternative options, such as publishing a correction or erratum, before making a final decision.

If the Journal Editor Rejects the Request for Withdrawal?

If the journal editor rejects the request for withdrawal, it is important to carefully review the terms of the publishing agreement and any relevant policies of the journal. If the agreement or policies do not provide a clear path forward for withdrawal, you may want to consider seeking the advice of a legal professional or your institution’s research ethics committee.

However, before taking any legal or formal action, it is recommended to try and negotiate with the editor and the journal’s editorial team to come to a mutually acceptable solution. You may want to provide additional evidence or reasoning to support your request for withdrawal and address any concerns or objections raised by the editor.

Can I Resubmit my Work to Another Journal?

You can resubmit your work to another journal after withdrawing it from an existing journal, provided that you have followed the appropriate guidelines and have not signed any exclusivity agreements with the previous journal.

Before resubmitting your work, it is important to carefully consider the reasons for withdrawing it from the previous journal and to address any issues that may have led to the withdrawal. This may involve making corrections or revisions to the manuscript, seeking input from colleagues or mentors, or addressing any ethical concerns that may have arisen.

When submitting to a new journal, it is important to carefully review the journal’s policies and guidelines, as well as any feedback from reviewers or editors, to ensure that your work meets the journal’s standards and expectations. It is also important to be transparent about any previous submissions or publications related to the work, including any previous withdrawals or retractions.

Here is an example cover letter that you can use as a starting point for submitting your revised manuscript to a new journal after withdrawing it from a previous journal:

Dear [Editor’s Name],                                                                                                                                          I am writing to submit my manuscript, titled [Title of Manuscript], for consideration for publication in [Journal Name]. I previously submitted this manuscript to [Previous Journal Name], but have withdrawn it in order to make revisions based on feedback from reviewers.                                                                         The manuscript has been revised to address the issues identified by the reviewers, and I believe it is now a stronger and more compelling piece of work. Specifically, I have [briefly summarize the revisions you have made to the manuscript]. I am excited about the possibility of publishing this work in [Journal Name] and believe it is well-suited for your readership.                                                                                                      I have carefully reviewed your journal’s policies and guidelines and believe that this manuscript is a good fit for your publication. Please note that this manuscript was previously submitted to [Previous Journal Name], but has been withdrawn and has not been published in any form.                                                     I have not signed any exclusivity agreements with the previous journal and have taken steps to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest or ethical concerns related to this submission.Thank you for your consideration of this manuscript. I look forward to hearing from you soon.                                                Sincerely,                                                                                                                                                     [Your Name]

While resubmitting your work please verify the following:

a. The journal should not be predatory. To verify that please visit my article on Avoiding Predatory Conferences and Journals: A Step by Step Guide for Researchers

b. Check for a good-quality journal. Please visit my article on 08 Reliable Steps to find Good Journals for your Research Paper Publication . This article will help you identify good-quality journal.

Conclusion

Withdrawing a paper from a journal should be done only after careful consideration and discussion with mentors or colleagues. Withdrawing a paper should be considered as a last resort, and alternative options should be considered before making the decision.

If the decision to withdraw is made, it is important to follow the proper procedures and communicate effectively with the journal’s editorial team. Additionally, there are alternative options to consider, such as publishing corrections or errata, before withdrawing or retracting a paper.

Ultimately, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of scientific research should be the top priority, and taking the necessary steps to correct errors or address ethical concerns is crucial for maintaining the credibility of the scientific community.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]