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My professor and I have an accepted paper in a journal. The journal will publish it online very soon. However, I have decided to leave my current school and continue my education somewhere else. My question: is there any possibility that journal editors will remove my name if my professor asks them to do so?

Thank you

  • 3
    Check the journal guidelines, usually it's not possible unless all authors (including you) agree to this. – Mark May 4 '18 at 16:39
  • What field is this? – MHL May 4 '18 at 16:52
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    Did your professor told you he considered removing your name? – Basile Starynkevitch May 4 '18 at 17:08
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It's unlikely that the editors would do that on their own (how would they even know that you're leaving your current institution?)

If your professor asks the editors to remove your name, that would/should at least trigger some checks by the editors about whether you agree with the removal.

Additionally, some journals have policies against modifying the authors' list at various stages: some immediately after submission, some after acceptance.

Such a move by your professor should probably be considered unethical, but it is not what you asked.

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    In my experience, it should be "Some journals have policies against modifying the authors' list after initial submission" (see for example Nature: Any changes to the author list after submission, such as a change in the order of the authors, or the deletion or addition of authors, needs to be approved by every author. nature.com/authors/policies/authorship.html) [Nature is only used as an example as a broad, generally respected journal - I do not want to create the impression that I have any experience with publishing in Nature] – Mark May 4 '18 at 17:37
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No, the journal editors cannot do this unilaterally based on the say-so of one of the authors.

Removing an author after the paper has been accepted creates an enormous set of ethical issues that have to be addressed:

  • Why was the author being removed after the paper has been accepted?
  • is this being done voluntarily, or was it forced?
  • if one of the authors is being removed, why should the journal trust that the results are being reported accurately, and that the authors are acting ethically?

There is far more for the faculty member to lose than gain by asking that someone be removed as an author. The most likely result is that the paper would be withdrawn and the submission process would have to start all over again s9mewhere else. It’s not worth the trouble.

But so long as you are not leaving on adversarial terms, this really shouldn’t be an issue.

  • "If one of the authors is being removed, why should the journal trust that the results are being reported accurately, and that the authors are acting ethically?" Uhm, because presumably they judged the paper on its own merits, rather than because whether the authors seemed trustable? – Mehrdad May 5 '18 at 2:12
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    "And acting ethically" by removing an author without explanation? The problem is once you ask for the retraction of an author, that calls everything into question, regardless of everything else that has transpired to that point. – aeismail May 5 '18 at 3:01
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    @Mehrdad It doesn't matter how important the results in a paper are, if the list of authors does not actually match the real authors of the paper then it should not be published. The list of situations in which the real list of authors changes after acceptance must be nearly empty (I'd think empty, but that could be lack of imagination on my part). – Jessica B May 5 '18 at 6:48

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