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I am writing a paper, need some review. I want to send it to IEEE, without the name of my co-authors. I might get acceptance. I need to know, in that case, will I be allowed to add my co-authors or not?

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    why would you even want to do that ? – Suresh Oct 27 '13 at 18:48
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    Apart from anything else, there’s a good chance that one of your co-authors would be picked to review the paper. Now that would be awkward, wouldn’t it? – Konrad Rudolph Oct 28 '13 at 8:38
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    @KonradRudolph if by awkward you mean “unquestionably unethical”, then I agree :) – F'x Oct 28 '13 at 10:00
  • Sometimes peer-reviewers do more to advance a paper than some of the less-significant co-authors. – gerrit Oct 28 '13 at 11:22
  • @F'x Well I was thinking more from the direction that said coworker gets the review copy and thinks “wait a minute, I know that paper. Why am I not on the author list?” – Konrad Rudolph Oct 28 '13 at 13:51
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I am writing a paper, need some review. I want to send it to IEEE, without the name of my co-authors.

Short answer: Hell no!


Depending on the editorial policies of the venue you submit, they may or may not allow to add co-authors during the review process. Some may even accept you to add co-authors after acceptance of the paper.

However, note that in all cases, it is unethical not to have a correct/honest list of co-authors at time of the first submission. All persons who have made significant scientific (or “intellectual”) contributions to the work should be co-authors in the submitted version of the paper.

“Hiding” co-authors during the first submission, even if you intend to add them at a later point, is a clear ethical violation. It probably also violates the journal's (or conference's) policy, which typically stresses the importance of having an appropriate authors' list (and even sometimes provides criteria for authorship).

The reason that editors may allow you to add authors is for special cases. The main reason why it would be used is when, during revision of the work to address reviewers' comments, someone who wasn't a co-author of the initial manuscript has been brought onto the team. For example, if you asked someone to ran some extra analyses and his contribution warrants authorship of the revised manuscript.

  • I completely agree, but regarding your example of a special case where this would be appropriate: if the revision included significant contribution from a new author, why wasn't the revision submitted with this author's name on it? Still seems unethical to me. – Bitwise Oct 27 '13 at 21:12
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    @Bitwise yes, that's what I mean: if someone contributes to a revised manuscript, his name should be on the revised manuscript (even if he wasn't on the original manuscript) – F'x Oct 27 '13 at 22:34
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I agree with F'x's answer, but let me expand on it a little: intentionally submitting a paper without listing your coauthors is a potentially career-ending mistake. If I caught you doing that at a journal I edit (or as a referee), I would fully inform everyone - your coauthors, department head, university administration, etc. - and I expect it would lead to severe consequences, such as expulsion from grad school or tenure denial. Ethical violations vary in how serious they are, and deliberately omitting coauthors is among the most serious.

Even if you confess and ask for your coauthors to be added, people may not believe you always planned to add them. Instead, some people will suspect that you initially intended to take all the credit but lost your nerve or feared getting caught. You may know that was never your plan, but your word won't mean much when you're already confessing to something unethical.

It will be even worse if you get caught during the process. For example, one of the referees might already be aware of who is involved in this work, or might even be a coauthor. If they turn you in, you'll be in a particularly bad situation.

In either case, your coauthors will likely be furious with you. They presumably don't think the paper is ready to submit (if they do, then you should submit it with their names on it!), and they also don't want it circulated with just your name on it. Regardless of the journal's policies, you'll have to answer to your coauthors.

Even if you manage to salvage your career, this will stay with you forever. In short, don't do it.

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As @F'x and @AnonymousMathematician said, don't do that by any means.

If you feel there is some good reason that @Suresh cannot find then on the basis of that reason you can request a double-blind review.

Due to the way you worded the question, my guess is that you don't have good reasons to do that. You should agree with your co-authors whether you want to send a paper or not before sending it for review.

Besides of the ethical reasons provided, there could be legal consequences, AFAIK you are not the holder of the copyright of what your co-authors did, and if you disclose, publish or attempt to publish some information without their consent then they could start legal actions. If you had their consent, holding their names for the review would be very dodgy and ruin your reputation.

Therefore, to answer the question: "will I be allowed to add my co-authors or not?", the answer is "no", and it doesn't really matter if you try to add them or omit them, this has many chances of backfiring in a dreadful way. Hopefully you didn't send it already, if you did and no review was started then withdraw it asap. If the reviews started, then start to apologize deeply to everybody.

  • You can't "request" a double blind review in most places. It entirely depends on the journal's policy... – Lorem Ipsum Oct 28 '13 at 3:53
  • @yoda please check the link, this is a specific question and answer. If this wasn't specific of IEEE then most probably you cannot "request" a double blind review, but then you can search for venues that do that (upon request or by default). Thank you for the clarification in any case. – Trylks Oct 28 '13 at 5:03
  • @Trylks Even in double blind review processes, we are supposed to mention the collaborators during the submission. It will be just hidden from reviewers. The authors needs to be mentioned because of COI reasons. – orezvani Jul 15 '16 at 5:49
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In general this depends on the conference regulations, so the advice is to check them.

Usually you must put information about all authors before the submission deadline. For instance, here are the rules on EDAS submission system regarding this matter.

You can add other authors later and you can change the order of authors. Note that some conferences do not allow that you add or delete authors after the submission deadline, to prevent that authors try to defeat the conflict-of-interest detection mechanisms by omitting authors.

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