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The work is a collaboration between my home university and another research group. We first submitted the work to a pretty good journal where I was the second author. But the publisher recommended we submit it to a different/ more suitable journal, and I found out I'm fifth author now. I'm just an undergrad, so I don't want to step on toes before I apply for a PhD.

Edit: The other group made the change. The corresponding prof from the other group was last author earlier but is now first (they are still the corresponding author)

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    Who made the change? Why was it made?
    – Buffy
    Jun 12 at 14:54
  • Edited the post. But I'm not sure why they made the change. Jun 12 at 15:24
  • Did they make any changes to the paper or just submit the same paper to a lower journal? Jun 12 at 16:01
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    Please add a question to your post. Currently it appears to be a statement. Jun 12 at 16:12
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    @TerryLoring Yep. As corresponding author, the first thing I do with all correspondence is copy all other authors into it, if they aren't already. Man waving red flag alert! Jun 13 at 9:28

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As an undergraduate you probably have little power to change things. That would be a task for your local PI or supervisor. However, it feels like a selfish move on the part of the other group, especially if done without explanation and consultation.

But any good publication as an undergraduate, no matter the author order, will be a plus for graduate admissions.

A talk with the local supervisor to ask "is this OK?" would, perhaps give you some insight, even if it doesn't lead to a change. And you are right to keep a low profile here.

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