I am a graduate student (biological sciences) and had a collaborator and a co-author who wanted her name removed from the list of authors after she is not satisfied with the revisions made.

Just to give a brief background, I am the project leader and lead author of this work, this co-author is a collaborator, who didn't do much work but helped me get access to the facility (which is also not hers). After a few months of working in the facility, I got unexpected results, which is worthy to be published as short communications.

To make the story short, we submitted the paper, then a revision request from reviewers came. It was major but doable, I addressed all the concerns and responded to the reviewers' comments and made some rebuttals. I send to her for her inputs and perspectives; and she decided to remove her name after feeling unsatisfied of the revisions and wanted more information, which is already out of my work. This is her prerogative to decide, but this decision seemed unhealthy for collaborative work. I'm wondering, should I consider her as a co-author in my future work? Or what should be the best response I should make?

I suspect she doesn't trust the work. She suggest she knows better but it's frustrating she doesn’t give any sensible edits.

  • 2
    You should consult a trusted mentor who is familiar with your manuscript. Maybe your supervisor? Jul 26, 2019 at 5:43
  • "which is already out of my work." I don't understand this part. Why can't you provide the information? Jul 26, 2019 at 5:44
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    You should consider it a major red flag if someone wants to be disassociated from a manuscript like this. It's basically the nuclear option between co-authors.
    – user9482
    Jul 26, 2019 at 7:20
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    didn't do much of work but helped me get access to the facility — Perhaps she wants to withdraw her name because she doesn’t think she contributed enough to deserve coauthorship? Or did she make some other contribution to the paper that you didn’t mention?
    – JeffE
    Jul 26, 2019 at 12:05
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    Have you tried contacting her directly and asking what her thinking is, and how she would like to proceed going forward? Deciding you want your name removed from a paper is not something a normal person would do as Step 1 in responding to a criticism, review, or rebuttal - unless it was really, really bad ("I don't want to be associated with this mess" level). There is so much unknown, from a "minor misunderstanding/mistake/panic" up to "never collaborate with this person again", and it seems like only a direct conversation with the person could help to figure out what is going on.
    – BrianH
    Jul 28, 2019 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


It sounds like she withdrew from the paper, but not from the collaboration. In other words she's saying she doesn't trust the results of the paper enough to have her name attached to it, but not that she doesn't trust you. Therefore it doesn't mean the collaboration is over. Besides, if she contributed to your future work at the level of a co-author, she should at least be approached for co-authorship.

In response to her withdrawing from the paper, the best response is probably talking to the other co-authors, if there are any, about how to answer the reviewers' comments. If the consensus "best way" is unacceptable to her and she wants to withdraw anyway, then c'est la vie.

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    "she doesn't trust the results of the paper enough" You don't know that. Jul 26, 2019 at 5:41
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    I agree with your perspective --that it shouldn't be the reason to end the entire collaboration. However, her attitude towards the concerns, although includes the quality, is she demands more, which I explained why we have limitations on present work. Another co-author agreed to send it to reviewer after weighing the points.
    – xavier
    Jul 26, 2019 at 5:43
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    @Allure then do not include it in your answer. Jul 26, 2019 at 5:44
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    @AnonymousPhysicist how else would I answer the question? There're a lot questions on this site where the details aren't available and one must draw inferences from what's in the question. That's what I did.
    – Allure
    Jul 26, 2019 at 5:46
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    If the question (or your knowledge of the subject) are flawed, do not answer. Gather information instead. Jul 26, 2019 at 7:57

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