I have a paper accepted at a conference, written together with a colleague (X) and my supervisor. X and I are both postdoc and first authors: writing was done together, but experiments were split between me and X.
The reviews for the paper were very positive, but reviewers still asked for some things: adding some references, giving more details about the experiments, commenting more on some results, and running few extra experiments. In the rebuttal we promised to do most of the things they asked.
The paper was accepted months ago, and I have included the reviewers' requests except additional experiments that have to be done by X.
X has done nothing in months. I have asked them countless times to do the experiments we promised, but they either did not reply or say (in a very polite and apologetic way) "You are right, I am very sorry! I had [sickness / deadline / errand / ...] and could not do it yet. I will do it by the end of the week." This went on for the last 2 months.
Talking to some other colleagues, I have come to know that X is involved in 10+ projects/papers, and is often unresponsive. However, since they are a good researcher nobody has ever complained.

The camera-ready deadline is getting closer and I do not know what to do.
The supervisor (last author) does not care because the paper is already accepted, and does not mind not delivering what promised to the reviewers. ''The paper has been accepted, do not waste any more time on that.''

I would feel really bad about not doing the experiments we promised. How do I confront X?

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Non-responsive co-author
    – Sursula
    Jun 15, 2022 at 7:27
  • @Sursula-they- The question is quite similar (co-author is unresponsive in both cases), but the context is different and I think it matters. The author of the question you linked could simply resubmit the paper ignoring the work to be done by the co-author: it was not asked by reviewers and they never promised anyone to do it. In my case, the work to be done by the co-author is something we promised in the rebuttal. I think it is more pressing. (Thanks btw! Somehow this question did not appear in the related ones when I submitted mine)
    – Simon
    Jun 15, 2022 at 7:36

1 Answer 1


If you trust your advisor's knowledge of the field, then listen to his/her advice. He might be right that this part won't matter and won't have any impact. In other words, look at the facts.

I know that this sounds very unpleasant and even slightly immoral (even to me); welcome to academia.

Edit: It won't hurt to speak with X once more and tell them that the final deadline is approaching. Don't add anything else or try to wrap it in a nice wrap. Just that the final deadline is approaching.

  • 1
    Thanks for your reply. I have already asked X once more, and he told me "I am stressed for deadline X, sorry. Will do it asap." In the end, the advisor is kinda right because no one will probably complain that we did not add what we promised (but this may be a topic for another question). As you said, very unpleasant and slightly immortal, but that's how publishing papers works. Yet, I am not happy with X behavior, and would like to convey my feelings in a polite manner: basically that he could have just told me "I don't have time to do it, sorry" rather than keep pushing for 2 months.
    – Simon
    Jun 15, 2022 at 16:35

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