My colleague’s article was translated by another person and republished in the translated language but with double authors; he himself as principle author and the one who has translated the article. By the way, it might be plagiarism for the principle author, as he published the same article twice but not a plagiarism for the person who translated and published once?

My colleague presented two separate posters, one at a domestic conference and another at an international conference, based on the work both of us have been collaborating for past 1.5 years.

Before submitting the abstract or the poster, they did not seek my approval. In fact, I was not aware of this until recently.

In the poster, they put themselves first in the author list and me as second. Apart from the fact that poster submission was not disclosed, the authorship order was not explicitly discussed.

In the poster, they included an elaborate set of their contact information, even (non-traditional in academic publishing) details such as tweet handle and other auxiliary information, when clearly there was space to include the rest of the authors information.

I am offended by this. I am not sure what the universally accepted academic code of conduct in such instances is?


We cannot reproduce very good simulation results of our paper and the person who was responsible for writing the code and running the simulations does not have the code anymore and cannot explain how the results were obtained. How should we deal with potential data falsification?

Long version

I co-authored a paper that included some Monte Carlo simulations. One of the coauthors was responsible for the simulations, allegedly wrote the code and gave us the results of the simulations. Later on, I wanted to reuse the code for another project. He reluctantly sent me the code after a long delay. However, the code did not generate the results that we reported in the paper. He said that he lost the code that he used to generate the results of the paper. The code that he sent me is some code that he used at some point of writing the code for the paper, but might not be the final one. He could not explain how the results of the paper were obtained.

We were also working on another project with the same person. He was also responsible for simulations of that project. He again lost the code and could not explain how the results were obtained. The paper of the second project was rejected by the journal and we are going to be able to rerun the simulations and report the correct results.

I suspect that this person just falsified the results.

We are thinking about removing this person from the project and removing this person from the list of authors when we resubmit that paper. Even though the person cannot explain how the results were obtain, there is still a chance that he somehow made some mistake that led to very good results. However, I think it is unlikely. Removing this person from the list of the authors would probably affect his career in a bad way so I would not want to do that without enough evidence. However, I do not think that we can continue working with this person because he lost our trust.

What should we do? How should we deal with this potential data falsification by a coauthor?

My co-author and I (both PhD students in a university) have been working on a large-scale simulation project for the last 1.5 years. This is what we agree upon.

  1. I came up with the idea.
  2. We took an existing open-source code (under MIT license), forked it, modified it suitably according to our needs, fixed some bugs improving and enhancing it in many ways. The split of contribution to this aspect is fuzzy here. We gave our contributions back to that project which has been accepted and our names acknowledged as contributors in the readme.MD file in the project’s github repository. My co-author is listed first among the 2 contributors and I did not have any objection to that.
  3. Having made the existing code good enough for our purposes, we started the stage of adding new codes. Set up of the simulation infrastructure was mostly done by me. Say 65% to 35% split with my co-author. I explored a lot of possibilites and techniques.
  4. I came up with the idea of application of an existing method into this project to speed-up the code. This worked and was successful. 100% my contribution as both agreed. It provided the speed, but was not “strictly” necessary. But is a practical addition, otherwise results would not arrive in reasonable time.
  5. I derived 80% of the equations in the paper, including a few critical ones.

At this stage, we had a written (email) agreement on the authorship, and I was agreed as the first author with my colleague as the second author.

Now, some problems happened.

  • Due to a set of official circumstances (pre-planned mobility for another project at another university), I had to temporarily leave the project for 40 days. I required visas for this country, whose paperwork set me back by another 15 days or so. It was not explicitly agreed with the co-author what that would mean to the authorship or the work split or any other aspects of the work. The mobility money would have expired if I did not take it and our common (and sole) supervisor knew this, and still approved my trip.

  • My colleague continued to work on the project, which already had a definite framework in place prior to my temporary absence.

  • Hoewever, the colleague started facing several numerical issues and convergence failures. Although the code infrastructure and numerical methods remained the same, they had to tweak a lot of numerical parameters to obtain the result. This took a considerable time.
  • My colleague started writing the draft of the paper. I typed all the new equations in the main text of the paper (about 25). My colleague typed standard equations that go into the appendix.
  • Now, this is where it gets more confusing. My colleague typed 80% of the text of the paper.
  • They also interpreted the results.
  • For figures in the paper, I did 2 illustrations (artwork), one of them a full-page flow diagram of the entire methodology. The other is the graphical abstract of the paper.

A dispute came about just before submission. However, we decided to retain the status quo of the authorship order as agreed originally. The submission got rejected.

I put in the groundwork for an alternate journal suitable for the manuscript, which was reviewed by this co-author. I did a complete re-factoring of the manuscript over a period of two weeks. We submitted this refactored version to the second journal keeping authorship order intact.

The second submission underwent peer-review, and came back with “major revision requested”, one of which involved simulation of the model with a major change in a critical parameter (that changes the results substantially).

Our supervisor allocated this task to me, which took exactly 2 weeks to complete. One of the comments by the peer-reviewers was to shorten the length of the paper drastically. This time, our supervisor did all the refactoring, and now we have the revised manuscript with updated results and rebuttal statement.

However, my co-author stepped in on Friday (8 days before re-submission deadline) and claimed that he should be the first author.

Our supervisor is caught in a dilemma, as there is no clear way to demarcate and judge this. Our supervisor requested both of us to go through our university’s arbiter who will interview us independently for 1 hour each.

It should also be mentioned that I gave up first authorship to the co-author to a couple of small conferences and poster presentation. Without my express verbal or written permission, my co-author presented two posters (which they created themselves) with their name as the first name and mine as second, and they had the travel money for the same. I was silently okay with this, as our work gets more publicity.

Clearly, I feel entitled to first authorship for this journal. I wonder if the community agrees and if so, how may I present the case?

In my field (economics), there are many co-authored papers. People are even writing some chapters of their PhD thesis with other colleagues.

I know that single-authored papers are more appreciated when you are a Ph.D. student and when you are in the job market.

Until now, I always prefered writing my papers alone. This is not because I did not want to interact with people but I did not really want to be dependant on other people during my Ph.D. (I know that some projects take so much time to be accomplished since everybody has its own research agenda.)

I wonder if writing papers (or chapters of a Ph.D. thesis) always alone is a bad sign on a CV? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Some time ago a professor gave me a small mathematics problem for independent research. While doing reading for this problem I found a substantially different but not unrelated problem mentioned in one of the professor’s papers. I did this problem instead.

I would have thought that this means that I picked the problem myself from a paper suggested by the professor, but the professor says that s/he “gave” the problem to me because that’s how people see it in Mathematics. This sounds strange to me, and if that’s what the professor wants, fine. But I’m wondering if this really is normal in Mathematics.

A first and corresponding author has submitted a co-authored manuscript after having circulated a near-final draft. She has freely accepted some comments of her colleagues’ and rebutted others, but only shared the final version after submission. This is despite some co-authors specifically asked to view the very last version once more before the submission.

The manuscript is for a normal issue of a peer-reviewed journal. The referees’ comments have been dealt with. All kinks concerning methodology, results and conclusions had already been ironed out. The remaining comments were of linguistic/stylistic/presentational nature alone and improved the readability of the paper appreciably. For example: removing repetitions, streamlining the content, splitting paragraphs into block of homogeneous content, and so forth. Let’s regard these intervention as important for the standing of the paper. In other situations, ‘heavier’ matters of content might have been at stake.

The reasons for not circulating the final version are a self-imposed deadline, tied up to office holidays, and the reasoning that the time for applying linguistic changes is over. This latter point is immediately questionable since the bulk of polishing takes place at the end of writing, almost by definition.

Within the authors’ team, two lines of thought emerge as to whether the first author ought to share the final manuscript before definitive submission. Some say that the first author has the authority of moving on; others say that the first author should not submit without giving her colleagues the possibility of seeing what happened of the last remarks.

The journal’s authorship guidelines are curt. Quoting the most relevant ones, these boil down to the following:

  • to be such, all authors must meet all of the following requirements a) providing substantial contributions b) drafting or revising the work c) giving final approval of the version to be submitted for publication;
  • the responsibility of the corresponding author is to dialogue with the co-authors and act on their behalf

There is an interesting paradox in this formulation. A fist author will invariably act on behalf of people who have approved the manuscript, whether all collaborators have been asked or not. Those who do not approve are, or may fear to become, no co-authors. The first author can easily find leeway to disregard some collaborators, and move on with the submission with a malformed sense of entitlement. Co-authors may easily lose the aegis of the first author.

Say. The colleagues who demand a last glance at the final manuscript may face a rejection in the line of “co-authors only suggest, first author decides”. This could be rebutted with something like “the first author is not fully acting on our behalf, though”. Then, the challenge could be “you are missing the point on the way it works; do you really want to be co-authors?”. The first author thanks and submits, some co-authors only see the show.
Further discussion is deterred by the fact that, once the manuscript has been submitted, the situation can only be reversed by summoning up the editor. This step might be felt as overly confrontational, and the authorship guidelines above may not help the editor much either.

My question is: does the first/corresponding author have an obligation not to proceed with submission of a manuscript before having given all co-authors the final say to what will be submitted?

I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science which requires me to have three members on my graduate committee.

Last August one of the committee members asked me to work on a project for him as part of my graduate work. However, the work was not enough for a thesis, I would need to switch from thesis-track to project-track, which I am not interested in doing, and the topic wasn’t what I would like to work on full-time for my research.

My major professor suggested I work on the project for a shot at getting a publication under my belt for the work I will have done. Because of this I accepted the proposal and put a ton of time into the project on top of my research and course load. Recently, the research was funded and a poster was made to present the research. Lo and behold, I was not listed as an author on the poster with the professors despite my countless hours slaving away.

There have been no publications yet, so I don’t know if I will be listed as an author on the actual paper but, being new to this, I would like to be sure I’m not being taken advantage of. I’ve got enough things to take care of outside of the project and was expecting some sort of payoff if the research had gotten this far.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the opportunity. I’m still assisting with the research and would like to continue to assist the professor with hopes of at least getting a good letter of recommendation for a PhD program but, if the general opinion is I’m being taken advantage of I would like to know to perhaps confront the faculty member.

My supervisor, two other students (C and G) and I were invited to write a paper for a journal. The paper was about a project in which we were all involved.

(C) though, never engaged into any writing activity, even after multiple messages from us. When I asked (C) if he still wanted to be an author, clearly expecting either no answer or an honest “no”, (C) replied saying he knew he didn’t do much for the paper, but volunteering to proof read and review the final draft. I sent the document to him but we never heard back.

It was decided that (C) didn’t do enough to be granted authorship and we submitted without him, but due to a misunderstanding no-one notified him that he had been removed.

Because of this, (C) is now accusing us of having plagiarized his work and of scientific misconduct and fraud, and requests that the article is retracted.

(G) and I still agree that (C) should not have been granted authorship and can produce all the evidence we have to show that (C) didn’t contribute to anything substantial in the paper and is not worth authorship (emails, previous publications, etc). (C) continues to threaten to report us to the university for fraud (it is not clear if he plans to report the supervisor as well).

I am confident of my good standing but at the same time I am afraid this dispute could spiral out of control.

What could I do to defend myself in case (C) reports us? Should I get in touch with the editors and explain the situation?

I have discovered that a co-author has submitted a book chapter to a major publisher omitting my name of co-author list without me knowing. I was included in the first submissions, but corresponding author made an executive decision to not include me, based on unknown grounds. I have substantially and creatively contributed to the work, in design, datacollection and analysis. What are my options now to get credit where credit is due? technically it is plagiarism, I think.