I worked at an institution on a project for 5 years. The type of project I worked on usually results in a single published paper at the end of it. However, I left the institution before the project's end.
I now find out the PI has published the paper (2 years after my departure) with a long list of authors who have spent far less time working on the project than myself.
Upon contacting the PI (lead author), they said that I was out of contact after I left the institution and:
Since publication requires the agreement of all co-authors, we could not add on anyone who we could not contact. As we were preparing the paper, the project manager tried to contact you in various ways, all without success. As a result, we could not add you as a co-author.
Note1: It appears they do not dispute my contribution or authorship!
Note2: I have an email exchange with the project manager 1.5 years before paper submission, and an email exchange with the PI 1 month after paper acceptance which is 7 months before paper publication. In neither of those exchanges the paper submission is mentioned. Nor did I receive any emails regarding the paper from them. I suspect they did not try to contact me at all regarding the paper!
My questions are,
- Can lack of contact be a valid reason not to include the name of an author during submission?
- Can the list of authors be amended now, after publication, to include myself? And how can this be done?
- Is omitting an author considered a 'Scientific misconduct' or 'plagiarism'?
- I am not in academica anymore
- I want my name on the paper as I have spent five years of my life on this project.
- Before I leave I sent every one my gmail account as a forwarding address. And all my subsequent exchanges was and is with the same gmail address.