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.

  • 6
    I would verify that this was done on purpose first
    – Collin
    May 8, 2018 at 19:30
  • how does it change the facts?
    – Caro
    May 8, 2018 at 20:15
  • Well, if it's just a mistake a simple correction will solve the problem. If it wasn't everything will get complicated.
    – user64845
    May 10, 2018 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


It may or may not technically be plagiarism, but it’s definitely fraud if it was done without your consent. Papers and book chapters can be retracted for such infractions.

If this has indeed happened, then your next step—assuming you've reached an impasse with your co-authors—should be to contact the editor and publisher of the book, laying out your case with the appropriate documentary evidence included in its entirety. Make sure they have enough information that they’re not going on a “fishing expedition.” There should be clear correspondence—emails showing the work and production of the article with your participation, and so on.

  • 8
    And, never work with that person again...
    – Jon Custer
    May 8, 2018 at 19:20
  • 1
    If you do as the above answer says, you could possibly put the entire publication on hold until your issue has been resolved , that will derail the reputation of the bad guy the next time he goes to a famous publisher ! May 8, 2018 at 19:22
  • I'm curious, why do you say it's not technically plagiarism? It certainly seems like wrongful appropriation and misrepresentation of another author's work to me.
    – Anyon
    May 8, 2018 at 21:41
  • 1
    @Anyon There isn’t enough to say if it’s plagiarism, especially if results and decisions were shared with the other authors. But what has been done is absolutely unethical. If I were writing the editor, though, I’d lead with “My co-author removed my name without my consent,” not a plagiarism accusation, which would be confusing.
    – aeismail
    May 8, 2018 at 22:21
  • 1
    @TheDoctor: I was assuming an impasse had been reached. I've made that explicit. But the obvious issue is that if the OP changes the other authors' minds, there will be a major issue raised at the journal—why was the author added all of a sudden?
    – aeismail
    May 10, 2018 at 0:00

It's easy for people to make stupid mistakes, especially if they had to write the author list in a new form. (Harder to accidentally delete one name from a pre-existing list, though.) I recently got an email from coauthors saying, "Oops, we forgot to put your name on the most recent submission," after being on a prior conference submission. They promised to make it right on the next phase of the project.

The absolutely first thing to do is to approach the corresponding author directly about this mistake, and politely ask them to correct it in the current draft (or with the editor and publisher, if it's that far along). They will either do so or give you more information. Even if it was somehow intentional, treating it like a mistake allows them to change course but still save face.

Before you approach them about this, be prepared to escalate the issue as aeismail suggests. If they refuse to add you back on, then contact the editor and publisher. You can also add, "The corresponding author claimed X when I asked about this today, but clearly the emails enclosed show !X." That is, if the other person is acting in bad faith, then they might try to talk with the editor and publisher before you do; and there is some benefit to being able to tell the story of a conflict first.

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