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I am writing this on behalf of a friend of mine.

Two years ago, my friend worked in a research institute in Canada. He collaborated with a colleague and someone else who heard of their collaboration decides that his work can also benefit from this collaboration. This third person contacted my friend and my friend supplied the material, initiated contact with some other group which had more experience in this matter, started the labwork and taught him how to continue the labwork in his absence. Before this work matured enough for publication, he started working for another research institute in another country.

However, today, he found out that the work is submitted for publication, yet his name was not in the list of coauthors. He spoke to the listed coauthors and they all agree that his contributions should have granted him a spot among the coauthors.

My friend says that he had a hard time to deal with this colleague. Apparently, he has the habit of ignoring verbal exchanges when it suits him and he is only afraid of his supervisor, who is not easy to reach.

It is always possible to include new authors during the revision process and it is usually possible to include new authors after the publication is accepted but not yet published. However, once it is published, it cannot be changed.

The options of my friend is:

  • Contacting the supervisor
  • Writing an e-mail to the primary author with all the coathors CCed, stating his contributions
  • Contacting the editors to delay processing of the paper

Are any other options possible? Is it too hostile to contact the editors?

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  • 1
    Contact the editor, but that is a final deal...
    – Solar Mike
    May 3 '20 at 14:56
  • 2
    @joeqwerty I don't think I have to convince you about anything and even if I am lying it shouldn't affect the way you answer the question. But my friend has the support of all coauthors apart from the other guy's supervisor who is also a coauthor, numerous e-mails recording his supply of the material and contact with the other group and if it comes to testimony, testimony of the original colleague mentioned in the first paragraph.
    – C.Koca
    May 3 '20 at 17:40
  • 13
    I think this question is more suitable for, and might get better answers at, Academia. I've seen few similar questions there recently.
    – mustaccio
    May 3 '20 at 17:53
  • 4
    @joeqwerty It looks pretty clear to me, I hope I understand correctly: F(riend) works with a (G)roup of people, T(hird) party joins the group and ends up writing F out of the author list. G didn't pay attention, so the paper ends with T as corresponding author and F excluded. I as F probably would write to the author list G, including T and T's supervisor, a polite, but clear email that you noticed that the paper was submitted, but F was omitted by mistake. This leaves enough of a "save face" for T to back off, but signals that F is not going to let that go. This combines Earnest's steps 1&2. May 3 '20 at 20:54
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because it would be more suited to the Academia channel academia.stackexchange.com
    – PeteCon
    May 4 '20 at 3:13
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I would use options 2, 1, 3 in that order, with perhaps three days in between each step. On every email, copy all the authors and the supervisor, and mention the steps you will take next. At each step, attempt a phone call to follow up on the afternoon of the morning you sent the email. Good luck to your friend!

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