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Following on from my previous question, can the authors/acknowledgements section of a (review) paper be edited once the paper is submitted? Specially adding on people to the authors/acknowledgements.

If yes, how should this be done? I'm assuming it requires the permission of the people already listed as authors on the paper?

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    Please clearify whether the paper is PUBLISHED or SUBMITTED. Your title says "published" but the text reads "submitted". – J-Kun Jan 23 '18 at 19:31
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Generally speaking, adding to the authors or acknowledgements after publication would be very unusual.

  • I can imagine it might happen for acknowledgements ("terrible oversight, very embarrassing, we didn't mention XY, please could you change..."), but even then, it would not be surprising if the journal says no.

  • However, I am finding it very hard to imagine it happening for authors. The editor will ask - if this person had already contributed enough to be an author, why weren't they listed earlier? And if they hadn't contributed enough at the time, why are you trying to make them an author? I can't think of a good answer to either of those without imagining a very unusual set of circumstances.

After submission but before publication, however, things are a little more flexible.

  • It should not usually be a problem to add to the acknowledgements during the submission process - note the enormous number of papers that acknowledge the help of the peer reviewers, which of course couldn't have been known at the time of submission! Many publishers even explicitly recommend that you do not include acknowledgements in the submitted paper, as this can be a problem for double-blind peer review.

  • Adding an author at this point would still be pretty unusual. You might be able to persuade an editor that there was a simple administrative error that meant you missed off an author from the original submission, but this would still be seen as quite strange; in theory everyone who contributed to a paper enough to be an author should have seen it before submission and been able to notice that their name was missing.

    The one plausible circumstance I can think of where it would be reasonable to add an author is if the paper has changed and they have contributed an appropriate amount to the new version of the paper. For example, perhaps the reviewers concluded that your work needed some particularly specialised statistical analysis, so you went off, found a statistician with the relevant expertise, and incorporated their work into the revised paper. The statistician has now done enough work to be considered an author, so you add them to the authors list (and explain very clearly to the editor why you've done this, because they will ask those questions above...).

Finally, minor clerical changes should usually be fine before publication - changing a name because you've written Jane D. Smith rather than J. Diana Smith, etc. After publication, this comes down to journal policies - some will permit it, some have a hard line against it, some are vague.

  • I think this understands how common this is. I have certainly seen enough "oops, we forgot this author" corrections that, while it doesn't make me feel great about the paper, it doesn't shock me, either. – AJK Jan 24 '18 at 16:32
  • Understates, I mean – AJK Jan 24 '18 at 20:53
  • @AJK I could see that being the case in physics or other areas where the set of authors can be very large. On a paper with hundreds of authors, and where standards for authorship are calibrated to permit hundreds, it seems almost a statistical inevitability that someone gets left off by mistake. Smaller authorship lists, like is typical with nearly all research mathematics, makes this seem really unlikely. – zibadawa timmy Jan 24 '18 at 20:59
  • @zibadawatimmy - good point. But a lot of research is done in groups larger than math groups! Hypothetical: paper is collaboration between group A and group B, but is primarily written up by A. Student B1 starts, but leaves way before the project is finished. B2 restarts later. Only B2 works closely with group A. Prof. A writes up the paper, including only B2's name. Prof. B doesn't spot the omission because it's been years since B1 was in the lab; B2 doesn't spot it because she thinks that work was done by someone else already credited (B3). Once paper published, B1 wants credit/correction! – AJK Jan 24 '18 at 21:12
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Generally, you cannot change anything after publication. At that point the hardcopies might already be printed, the electronic versions will already have been distributed, and so on. If you must make changes, you'll have to issue an erratum or corrigendum - see the journal's website on their policies for this.

After acceptance but before publication (as well as after submission but before acceptance), then it's still possible to change. The difference between the two scenarios is that after acceptance you're probably liaising with the publisher, while before it you're probably liaising with the editorial board of the journal. However practically speaking there should be little difference: both are likely to accept acknowledgements changes without much thought, while requesting an explanation for author changes.

To change the acknowledgements after acceptance, just request the extra text when the publisher shows you the proofs. To change it before acceptance, do it if the manuscript receives a decision of 'revise', with a small note on the change in the response to reviewers. If your paper is accepted without revisions, then just change it during the proofs stage. Changing authors is similar, but be ready with an explanation. You might also be asked for a letter signed by all other co-authors, per Mark's answer.

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Yes, authors can be added after submission but before publication. Yes, additional people can be acknowledged after submission but before publication. Moving somebody from author to acknowledgements or vice versa after submission but before publication might raise a red flag with the editor where you have to explain the rationale but might not as well.

After publication any edits require a formal correction to be issued, see for example, pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/ma102771k

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Generally, yes. For details, check the author guidelines of the respective journal.

As long as the paper is under review, it should be fairly easy to add someone to the acknowledgements: just do it. Adding an author is possible, however, might require you (the corresponding author) to contact the editor, explain the situations, and possibly submit a letter signed by all authors that they approve the changes.

Once the paper is published, you would have to submit a correction. Again, adding (or removing) an author will require approval of all authors as well as an explanation. You might have to convince the editor that you are not just adding someone you like, but that this person actually contributed. The same can work for adding someone to the acknowledgements, however, it might be seen as insignificant, and therefore not get accepted.

  • I do not agree with your answer since it is based on several assumptions. "Generally" this is not true. I have come across several conferences which explicitely state that no changes to the authors can be made after submission (not even talking about after publication). – J-Kun Jan 23 '18 at 19:46
  • @J-Kun The question was about journal papers, so is my answer. – Mark Jan 23 '18 at 19:48
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    The question just says "paper" and does not mention any journal so far. – J-Kun Jan 23 '18 at 19:51
  • For clarification, the paper is for a journal (not a conference). Thanks – Anonymous Jan 23 '18 at 21:14

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