I co-wrote an original short paper with a senior colleague on the history of science. It was submitted some months ago, and was reviewed and rebutted several times before it was finally accepted and is now in print. Its topic is somewhat controversial. During the review process we had to battle to be allowed to 'air' our opinion about one particular issue. To our surprise, a few weeks ago the same editor (with whom we had engaged at length during the review process) then published a short article in the same journal, one quarter of which ALSO mentioned the original topic we had drawn attention to and had indeed battled over. No mention at all of our original published work was made - even though we had published only a few weeks before, and we had had to negotiate in detail in terms of what we said about specific topics. Is this an academic discourtesy? It feels somewhat dishonourable - especially since our work put forward an original, highly-relevant viewpoint and is very recent.

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    Ethically speaking, the editor only "really" became able to consider incorporating your article after it was published. Yes, she knew about the article during the review process, but it would be unethical of her to take advantage of this early access. So if you view it as "an article published a few weeks after ours didn't mention us", it seems unsurprising, since that isn't much time to add mention of new work. It's even possible that the editor had already submitted their article before yours was published, in which case there is no way they could mention yours at all. Dec 30, 2018 at 23:52
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    Thank you for this clarification. What I certainly know is, the editor's article was definitely NOT submitted before ours was as this is documented in the publications themselves - the information about submission is made public, in print, so I know exactly who submitted what, when. We were surprised by the fact that we had been told in the review process that the anonymous human subject we wrote about would not wish to be made the focus of our article …. and yet the editor him/herself (who told us this) then promptly produced an article on just that same topic! Dec 31, 2018 at 0:02
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    Welcome to the world of the kind, altruistic editor and sometimes reviewers... Learn from this and good luck.
    – Solar Mike
    Dec 31, 2018 at 9:37
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    Disregarding the fact that the editor has seen your work, this is a case of another researcher not citing relating work. Maybe take a look at academia.stackexchange.com/questions/49208/…
    – user2768
    Jan 5, 2019 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


If I understand your question and comments correctly, the sequence of events is this:

  1. The editor handles your paper at time X.
  2. The editor submits their own paper, with a submission timestamp after X.
  3. The editor does not cite you.

If this is the case, then the editor should certainly have been aware of your paper at the time that they submitted their own, and thus been able to cite you.

Failing to cite you thus seems likely to be a case of scientific dishonesty. There are, however, certain circumstances where failure to cite might be acceptable, such as:

  • Other papers similar to yours are already cited (e.g., "phenomenon X has been noted a number of times, including [cite, cite, cite]")
  • You are somehow misinterpreting the date stamps

From what you've written, however, it seems unlikely that one of these cases applies, and more likely that you're dealing with a case of dishonesty.

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