There was recently a call for book chapters (to be published by a reputable publisher), I submitted an article and it was accepted.

When I received the proof to review, I noticed that the book editor added references in my article. He basically cited some of his papers.

My question is, does he have the right to do that? And, any suggestions on what I should do?

2 Answers 2


An editor can ask for coherence. He can also throw out the chapter if there are omissions that he thinks are critical. He can, in that vein, request that references be included.

But the responsibility on the article lies with the authors, and so the editor can never modify the content of the article without their approval; he must ask their permission. This falls out side of his "jurisdiction" (exceptions can exist in commercial publication/scriptwriting where the rights on the material may not fully lie with the concrete author).

Imagine the extreme case of the editor quoting some crank papers under the author's name.

In the concrete case, OP should consider:

  1. whether the citations are, content-wise, appropriate and acceptable or not;
  2. if they are acceptable, whether OP wishes to place the matter of the unauthorised addition on the table;
  3. if OP decides to put them on the table, whether they would withdraw the article if the editor's justification is unsatisfactory.

Depending on the responses, OP may consider to

  1. withdraw the article; or
  2. insist on the references being removed; or
  3. accept the references and not work again with this editor in the future; or
  4. accept the references as a welcome addition to the paper.
  • I agree with this answer. The best way to look at the references added is as "suggested answers." Now it's up to the OP to determine whether they agree with these suggestions or not, and to respond appropriately. May 27, 2019 at 0:45

This is not common - nobody, be it editor, publisher or reviewer, should modify the technical contents of a paper without the consent of the author(s). After all it's the authors' name on the article.

I would contact the editor asking for an explanation, failing which if you strongly disapprove of the editor's actions, you could withdraw from the review volume.

  • 3
    I'd guess that it is different for chapters of a book where the whole thing needs coherence. But there are proper and improper edits, of course.
    – Buffy
    May 25, 2019 at 0:14

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