Last year I worked in a research lab in the US. My PI was very abusive so I eventually left for another lab. This individual was always extremely vindictive but I didn't expect that he would use all my work (graphs, tables almost verbatim) without even mentioning my name in the authors list or acknowledgments. One month before I left the lab we had submitted this work in a conference, and I was listed as a SECOND author in the submitted article. I have multiple emails between me and the rest of the lab members where I regularly sent them my data for discussion, reviewing etc. Also I have an email from a former colleague in which she explicitly asks me for my data after I left the lab. I never sent the data to that person at that time because I didn't trust her and I was struggling with my health at that time. They could retrieve them however anyway from my abovementioned emails, common dropbox etc. A new researcher who came to the lab after me, just one month prior to the submission of the article to the journal, ( and had zero involvement in the project before) is listed in the authors list. I am young and new to the whole word of research and academia. Also, I would like to mention that I worked for free in that lab. That professor had promised to help me with my career instead of paying me (I know, what a fool)and instead he used all my work without giving me credit. I don't know how to go about it and if I actually have any chance of getting something out of it. I would appreciate your advice.

  • Have you tried searching this forum? I believe your question has been asked and answered already.
    – user2768
    Oct 28 '20 at 12:13
  • Welcome! I'm sorry you are in such a dire and unpleasant situation. You may want to have a look at academia.stackexchange.com/q/13700/19627 and the linked questions, that are probably a good place to start. Please, edit your question if you believe your situation is wildly different, or as some other specificity, from what's described in those posts.
    – Clément
    Oct 28 '20 at 13:33
  • Thank you for your replies. Does publishing graphs and tables verbatim from my unpublished work constitute plagiarism?
    – estranged
    Oct 28 '20 at 15:17

Creating the graphs and tables for a paper does not necessarily entitle you to authorship (https://publicationethics.org/files/Authorship_DiscussionDocument.pdf). But creating those graphs and tables nearly always requires some other activity that does entitle you to authorship. Your work should be acknowledged at a minimum.

If you are entitled to authorship based on the standards of your field, you may:

  • Request that the professor ask the journal for a correction of the author list.
  • If that fails, request that the journal retract the paper for plagiarism.
  • Thank you for you reply. Two months earlier, when we submitted the article to the conference, I was apparently entitled to be second author. I ran the whole statistical analysis-based on which I created the graphs- and collected data as well. I know he is doing this as retaliation for leaving the lab , some of the people listed as authors did absolutely nothing.
    – estranged
    Oct 29 '20 at 15:07
  • What is the chance of a high profile journal retracting an article for authorship dispute?
    – estranged
    Oct 29 '20 at 17:59
  • @estranged If the journal thinks the author list is wrong and the authors do not agree to correct it, the journal will retract. Oct 29 '20 at 22:17

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