I need advice. I started working on this project as a phd student, my advisor was the first author. It took a really long time for the project to get ready, and now I’m at another institution. While revising the paper, the first author suddenly stopped communicating. He would respond after several reminders, said he was busy, he had Covid, then long Covid, etc. This made the revision a 2-year process. Finally we got to the point that we were happy with the paper and he was supposed to submit, but 3 months have passed and he hasn’t submitted the paper, nor does he respond to my emails.

I am the second author but I have spent a lot of time on the project and contributed much more to the revision. Should I move on and just assume I never knew this guy or had a project with him? Can I submit the paper if he doesn’t respond? Do second authors even have the right to do so?

  • Did you graduate? You said you started as PhD student and now are at a different institution. Feb 9, 2022 at 16:35
  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Feb 9, 2022 at 16:46
  • I did graduate and I’m now a tenure track professor at another university.
    – Elainne267
    Feb 9, 2022 at 17:45
  • Are they actually OK, particularly after Covid and long Covid? Is there somebody to call to see if they are responding to anybody? In contrast to Buffy below, I would take the intent to submit 3 months ago as permission to move forward.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 9, 2022 at 18:02
  • He is active on social media.
    – Elainne267
    Feb 10, 2022 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


Reputable journals require the permission of all authors before publishing a paper, so no, you don't have the right to publish, nor does the first author without your permission.

If you remove someone from the list of authors when they have a valid claim on authorship, then you are committing serious academic misconduct.

I don't know how to get him to respond to an email, but his further participation in the paper isn't required, only his permission to go forward. But it has to be explicit and not assumed.

Note that it needn't be the "first" author that does the submission, with his permission you could do so.

  • Thank you! Do I need his permission even to submit the paper to the journal we had agreed on and he was supposed to submit but didn’t?
    – Elainne267
    Feb 9, 2022 at 17:47
  • 1
    The journal will require it.
    – Buffy
    Feb 9, 2022 at 17:49

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