I am submitting an introductory paper of a large project to an Elsevier journal. All the main contributors to the different working packages are co-authoring the paper. They are more than fifty.

The last page of the submission system asks me the names and emails of all the authors. I don’t even have all their email addresses. Moreover, it asks for the affiliations because there could be conventions with some institutions for open access, but we will choose the subscription option.

Granted that all the authors and affiliations are listed in the manuscript, is there any ethical concern if I don’t provide all fifty names and addresses to the system?

I was left out once, but still the paper correctly figures into my Scopus and Scholar profiles because my name is in the manuscript.

  • 7
    50 only? that's cute ;)
    – Mayou36
    Jul 30, 2022 at 16:50
  • 2
    I don't see any ethical issues. As to the practical side, you'll have to ask the editor if they need you to enter all 50 addresses, or if some other procedure is okay. We can't know what this journal's policies or preferences might be. Jul 30, 2022 at 17:21
  • 1
    Whoever collected all the co-authors' agreement to submit the manuscript surely has their emails? Aug 1, 2022 at 18:11

4 Answers 4


It seems to me that if these people should be authors on the paper, someone organizing the project should at minimum have this contact information for all of them. I do understand this can be a taxing administrative task in a large group.

"I don't have them" seems like a solvable problem, not a valid excuse. I don't know about this particular journal, but I've found it fairly common as a coauthor to get emails from the journal informing me of the submission at minimum. It's a way for the journal to ensure people listed as authors are aware their names are being used and gives them an avenue to communicate if necessary.


As @BryanKrause said in their answer, if you are collaborating with so many people that not everyone knows each others names, affiliations and email addresses, then there should be (and probably is) someone in the collaboration keeping track of those things and be able to provide a list of authors to you.

However, you may also want to take a look at how bigger collaborations handle this, see e.g. this paper from the LHCb collaboration, one of the four large collaborations working at the particle accelerator LHC at CERN, which has more than a thousand members: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037026931730062X

While all authors are listed (not doing that would clearly be unethical), only their names and affiliations are shown. Having been a member of that particular collaboration in the past, I can also tell you that I did not receive an email from the journal whenever a new paper was published by the collaboration, which happened quite often (although there were internal emails announcing it). So they probably did not enter the email addresses of all members of the collaboration. Note that the particular paper I linked above appeared in an Elsevier journal (Physics Letters B in this case), just like yours is going to. So it may make sense to figure out if it is also possible to just supply the names and affiliations in your case.


The issue here is not one of ethics, just organisational requirements and logistics for the publication process. The journal will want the email addresses of the co-authors so that it can email them to let them know that a paper has been submitted in their name. I guess it's possible the journal might allow you to proceed without that information, but I doubt it. I recommend going back to your co-authors (through whatever means you have been communicating) and organising a list of basic information like emails and affiliations.


You are the "corresponding author" with the journal. Here's the International committee of medical journal editors' view of your responsibility in respect of providing contact information:

The corresponding author is the one individual who takes primary responsibility for communication with the journal during the manuscript submission, peer-review, and publication process. The corresponding author typically ensures that all the journal’s administrative requirements, such as providing details of authorship...

(The entire ICMJE policy on authorship is worth reading, as it is quickly becoming the model policy.)

In short, this running around collecting information is exactly what a corresponding author has signed up to do.

  • Does "details of authorship" necessarily include e-mail addresses or is it up to the journal to define their administrative requirements?
    – Anyon
    Jul 31, 2022 at 19:52

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