Since I am a fairly new researcher in the process of building a track record for myself I'd like feedback on whether I behaved correctly in the following situation.
I was part of a small, short-term research project (~6 months). My main contributions to this project were as project lead, i.e. project acquisition, developing the research question, planning the research, and selecting the appropriate methods. Throughout the project I was involved in substantive discussion with my two colleagues who did the leg work of performing the experiments and analyzing the results.
After all the data was collected and partly analyzed, I went on a 3 month hiatus to focus on finishing a university course. During this time, my colleagues wrote and submitted a paper about the results of said research project without my knowledge. When I came back, I found that the paper was already close to acceptance without any chance of me contributing to it.
Since I believed that I contributed significantly to the knowledge generated in the paper (beyond "just" project management), I asked the lead author to put me on the author list, and he agreed. The second author did not however, with the argument that it would be ethically wrong to include an author that has not contributed to the text itself. While I generally agree with this sentiment, I had no chance to contribute to the text because no one told me that the paper was being written.
After a heated discussion we agreed to disagree. Now my coworker would, although begrudgingly, agree to put me on the author list. However, now I am on the fence since part of the journal's author inclusion criteria says "[involved in] drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content [...]", which I objectively didn't do. Should I stand by my co-author claim, or would letting it go be the more ethical thing to do?
Update: Based on a discription of my contribution, the journal editor decided against my inclusion. We have discussed this issue in my research group and are now looking for ways to avoid these situations in the future.