I performed part of my PhD thesis in a lab outside my university. After deciding to publish the result, the head of the lab did not give me the permission to publish it. He wanted to be the coauthor, himself and one of his students. But they did not have substantial contribution to the project. They allowed me to use their lab and their materials. he blocked my work totally. I do not have permission to publish the results just because I do not want to give credit to them since they did not contribute to my work. According to ICJME, technical help does not make eligibility to be the coauthor. Their lab knew these standards and accept them. However, the problem is that I cannot prove that their help was not that much to make them eligible to be coauthors. Even my supervisor believes that I should consider them as coauthors because he thinks that they helped me during my stay in their lab. Also, he thinks, like many other people, that it is a custom to consider the head of the lab as a coauthor. Does anyone have suggestions for me? How can I unblock my work?
Sorry, I don't think you can do much at this point. These things should be negotiated before any resources are shared. Nothing is free, and different people may expect different forms of gratification- reciprocation, acknowledgement, authorship. You are entitled to having your opinions about this, and the correct time to voice them is at the beginning of the labwork/collaboration.
It is possible that your advisor has a prior understanding with this lab that you are not aware of. If this is not so, share your misgivings with your advisor and seek to learn his/her reasons for conceding authorship. With that knowledge, you can avoid such a situation next time.
This time, 'unblock' by giving credit.
This is definitely something that should have been discussed, and agreed upon prior to entering their lab. However, the past can't be changed, so finding a way to move forward is prudent at this stage.
- You want to publish your results
- You will be first author.
- You used the facilities of the lab you were visiting which are maintained by the head of the lab and potentially another of his/her students.
- The head of the lab is customarily (but not always) last author.
- Perhaps there is room for negotiation; add the head of the lab, but not his/her student.
- Learn from this experience and be clear, IN WRITING, about publication intentions in situations when you are visiting another researcher's lab.
At this stage it really does seem you have two options.
- add them as authors (or the compromise mentioned above) or;
- don't publish.
In general, it is impossible to prove a negative. However, the lab with which you worked may be able to show that what they did meets the requirements for co-authorship.
But I would consider the issue from the following perspective: everyone else—including your own supervisor—is saying that you should consider them as coauthors. Given that they are more experienced than you are when it comes to publishing, it would be reasonable to follow their advice.
The most important thing for you right now is that you are the first author on the paper. If you believe that there was no value added by working in that lab, as someone suggested in the comments, then you can demonstrate that by excising what you did with them from the paper and seeing if it's still viable. If you can do that, then you can just go ahead and submit the paper without their contribution or permission. If you can't, then perhaps you should reconsider what is possible and reasonable.
(One final thing to note: the ICMJE guidelines are recommendations, not rules.)