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I am a PhD student about to graduate (finished defense/Viva, pending final thesis corrections and final upload before conferral of degree).

I am a co-author on a manuscript for a journal article. There are 5 other authors on this manuscript. I wrote some chunks of text and created a few figures of the manuscript.

Our initial manuscript submission to a journal (Elsevier is the publisher) came back after peer review requiring us to do major corrections. The first named author on the manuscript and my two supervisors undertook the majority of this task. For the manuscript writing aspect, I also contributed a revised figure and couple of paragraphs of text for the pending resubmission (I also did other tasks to address peer-review comments such as doing long-running simulations with different parameters etc).

Right from the beginning, the manuscript was written in LaTeX. I had also written some of the LaTeX code (for a couple of sections of the initial manuscript submission which came back after peer-review requiring major corrections). In fact, the first named author and myself were using git and a shared github private repo for pulling/pushing our TeX source code as we were working on the draft of the manuscript. However, post peer-review, the first named author took upon the manuscript re-writing task for resubmission entirely to themselves, and stopped pulling/pushing TeX code on our shared github repo.

Today, the corresponding author sent me the PDF of the revised manuscript for my comments and approval before resubmission. I requested the LaTeX source code of the revised PDF for my personal archival purposes. However the other authors who worked hard for the re-submission are reluctant to do this. They reasoned to me that a PDF version is sufficient for me to review and offer my comments. My personal thoughts on their behaviour is that they might have strong ownership feelings about the revised manuscript since the rewriting was quite demanding in effort with large changes/rewrites necessary to address peer-reviewers comments.

My question therefore is: "are all authors on a journal manuscript automatically entitled to see all artefacts submitted by the corresponding author to the journal's portal (such as the LaTeX source code, covering letter and other relevant submission materials)?"

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    From what do you expect such "entitlement" to arise? Is there a conflict here? Who is denying you the source? If you have a conflict with your co-authors that is for you to resolve. – Buffy Dec 18 '18 at 12:26
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    @Buffy is your comment fully relevant to my question? To answer your question, no there is no conflict. Just as an additional info, there are a couple of more authors on the manuscript who haven't seen the LaTeX source. I believe my original question has standalone merit. Do all authors on a submitted manuscript have right to access the LaTeX source code? – krishna Dec 18 '18 at 12:33
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    @krishna What exactly do you mean by Do all authors on a submitted manuscript have right to access the LaTeX source code? If you mean access to the LaTeX source code of the camera-ready version prepared by the publisher, then no, not in general, some publishers may make it available, others not. If you mean access to the LaTeX source code written by your co-authors, then this is typically the case, but this probably isn't formally required. – user2768 Dec 18 '18 at 12:52
  • @user2768 No, I don't mean the camera-ready version (thought that was a conference-specific terminology; this is a journal) or any other version incorporating the publisher's in-house typesetting efforts. I am simply referring to the latex source codes that produces the resubmitted PDF. Elsevier's EVISE portal requires the PDF of the manuscript as well as the editable latex source codes to be uploaded by the corresponding author. – krishna Dec 18 '18 at 13:19
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Your collaborator seems unnecessarily protective (or maybe insecure) about the TeX source, and I don't really see what they think they'll gain from it. Hiding some super awesome macros, or ashamed of shoddy TeXing? Take your pick.

That said, if you haven't worked on the source yourself or established things clearly beforehand, well, you probably don't have any automatic legal rights to it. You'll have rights to the end product, the words and the figure - at least until those rights are signed over to the publisher - but not necessarily the source. If a collaboration is to be, you know collaborative, they absolutely should share the code. Yet if they don't, it's not really worth pressing the issue. Just label this colleague as difficult to work with and remember that before considering working on new projects with them.

  • Thank you for your answer. I missed out explicitly stating one detail in my question which I have updated now. That is, I had also written some of the LaTeX code (for a couple of sections of the initial manuscript submission which came back after peer-review requiring major corrections). In fact, the first named author and myself were using git/github for pulling and pushing our edits of the TeX source code as we were working on the manuscript. However, post peer-review, they took upon manuscript re-writing task for resubmission, and stopped pulling/pushing TeX code on our shared github repo. – krishna Dec 18 '18 at 13:50
  • @krishna I see. In my opinion that makes their behavior harder to motivate, but the logic in my answer could apply to the contents of a revision too. However, somewhat unrelated to the question about rights, this makes me wonder if their answer could be a passive aggressive attempt to signal that they became unhappy with you or the collaboration at some point. That'd make it an interpersonal issue, and maybe a different question. – Anyon Dec 18 '18 at 13:55

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