Some time ago I was approached by a fellow researcher that had an idea on an earlier work of mine. We started a collaboration and as a result we submitted a manuscript in a prestigious journal. Recently, I stumbled on a publication of my coauthor in which he had used almost verbatim a large part of our common submission (a page long). These parts include results which were entirely mine. I am really disappointed and I am not sure how to proceed with this.

  • Do you have any record that the results were yours first - lab books, etc?
    – arboviral
    Mar 14, 2018 at 8:58
  • Contact the editor? Or contact the collaborator? Or both... Have you already published that material in any form?
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 14, 2018 at 8:58
  • @arboviral We worked on the manuscript through dropbox. I think there is a history of versions in there wherein my edited versions might appear.
    – CTNT
    Mar 14, 2018 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


The submitted manuscript is proof enough that you also have worked on the results he published alone. You have authorship rights over all the content of the manuscript, do not worry searching for proofs that you have worked on those particular lines.

You should contact your collaborator and ask for a retraction of the article. If he disagree with that, you should contact the editor and send proofs that the results were submitted before in another journal, which breaks one of the rules your collaborator accepted when submitting to this journal: "The manuscript/results shall not be/were not submitted anywhere else.".

This is very serious because if the editor handling your manuscript find the other publication with the same results he will reject the manuscript and, worse, your co-author could be accused of self-plagiarism.

  • I do not think that I can be accused for self-plagiarism since the date of submission of the published paper is several months later than our joint submission. How could I know this? I should also state that his results could stand independently if he only referenced our joint work and omitted the related proofs.
    – CTNT
    Mar 14, 2018 at 10:21
  • 2
    You are right. You could not be accused of self-plagiarism, but your coauthor could. You can state that of course and you should send to the editor which parts of the manuscript are from your joint work. However, probably there will be no way to save your collaborator publication, because it was accepted for publication as it was. If a large part of the manuscript and results changed, the only solution is retracting the whole paper and submitting again for peer review. But if I was the editor I would not accept manuscripts from your collaborator anymore due to ethical misbehaviour.
    – The Doctor
    Mar 14, 2018 at 10:31
  • 1
    It seems rather serious. You could be be involved in plagiarism via self plagiarism. Just to give you the idea, in reality it will be clear that the other one did self plagiarism and submitted the same (in part) twice. Fix it!
    – Alchimista
    Mar 15, 2018 at 13:52
  • 1
    Not to say that of course the other stole your work.
    – Alchimista
    Mar 15, 2018 at 13:54

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