I completed my MS by research under a supervisor. There was considerable delay in completing because my supervisor suddenly lost interest in research midway through my program. I had sent him a research paper for his comments but even after several reminders, he did not show interest in looking at the paper. After graduating from the program, I decided to send it to a journal myself. I sought permission from my supervisor and he was ok with it. Since he had not reviewed it, he said he could send it without including his name as one of the authors. So, I had acknowledged his guidance in the paper in the acknowledgement section. I had sent the paper and now, in the reviewer comments, one of the reviewers has asked about not adding the supervisor's name in the author list (it was listed under minor comments). I'm not sure how to respond to this question. Right now, I'm not exactly on speaking terms with my supervisor. Can anyone please help me?
Just reply with the facts: Explain that your supervisor was offered coauthorship, but has chosen not to be a coauthor of the paper. (If you feel you want to elabore why - e.g. since he felt he did not contribute sufficiently to the paper, or the like - feel free to do so.)
Especially if this is listed under minor comments, take it as such.
In any case, it is generally not up to the referee to judge who should be a coauthor of a paper. What can be demanded is that you offer coauthorships to anyone who made a significant enough contribution to the paper. As long as you did that, you are fine.
Could the wording of your 'acknowledgement' be misunderstood as implying your supervisor's contribution to be commensurate with that of a co-author?
You should take a 2nd look at your acknowledgements section, where you have "acknowledged his guidance". It is possible that the reviewer got the impression, from reading this 'acknowledgement', that your supervisor may have made an author-level contribution.
Without seeing the actual text of your 'acknowledgement', I cannot comment on whether it is clear enough. However, if you have not already done so, you may wish to clarify the 'acknowledgement', for example by saying something like:
- "Although Prof. X was not involved in writing this paper, his/her general guidance helped inspire my research into ..."
- "Whilst Prof. X was not involved directly in the research presented in this paper, he/she played an important role in my development as a researcher in this field."
- "Unfortunately, we could not find the time to collaborate on this research, but I am very grateful to Prof. X for his/her guidance during my Master's studies, which enabled me to pursue this research independently."
- "This paper is inspired by, but separate from, research I had conducted under Prof. X, whose guidance at that time gave great impetus to my development as a researcher. Regrettably, Prof. X was unavailable to collaborate on the research presented in this paper."
[sections in bold denote the sections that clarify Prof. X is not an author; these are illustrative examples, designed to demonstrate that Prof. X's involvement was limited, but presenting his/her guidance in a positive light; before using/adapting any of these examples, please consider carefully whether they describe your situation accurately]