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Back story: A new postdoc joined my research for a manuscript that I was working on with a senior research scientist for 2 years. The new postdoc wanted 2nd authorship but the senior scientist also wanted 2nd and felt she contribution more intellectually. After the senior research scientist spoke with her, she became angry with me.

The manuscript was published with all the co-authors listed. After the work was published in a journal, this co-author removed my name as the 1st-author on her Google Scholar. Basically manually removed my name as the first-author in the author's list.

NOTE: My First-authorship is not affected as this removal has not been done at the journal level, only on their Google Scholar.

There's no reason to bring it to the attention of the journal because this occurred on Google scholar, not on the journal. I think it is unethical behavior and mabybe even plagiarism.

I know the removal of my name from her Google Scholar page wasn't an accident, because when she realized she couldn't get 2nd authorship, she got angry and stopped communicating with me, and never completed her section of the research.

My question: What should I do about this situation?

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    Is the authorship 'changed' on the journal site? Jun 28, 2023 at 4:09
  • The authorship was not changed on the journal site?
    – user156083
    Jun 28, 2023 at 9:31
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    i would suggest editing this question and leaving out calling the coauthors abusive or problematic, and clarifying the question is about a faulty google scholar entry. Bad coauthors/advisors are of course bad but not related to fixing a google scholar entry. Whether to use google scholar is also not related to this question IMO Jun 28, 2023 at 10:21
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    There are really too many questions in your posts that would better be asked separately . You should clarify whether anything changed on the page of the paper on the journal website. I suppose it did not, but please clarify. If you do a search for that article in Google Scholar, what author names does it find? If you look at your Google Scholar profile, if you have it, what author names does it show? If you can search Web of Science, which author names does it show? Jun 28, 2023 at 15:11
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    The more you edit the question, the more obscure it gets. Every decent person is sorry you went all through this, but no one really cares about the back story can be summed up in one sentence (as I already did). Are you first author?
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 28, 2023 at 15:34

3 Answers 3

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It is unethical behavior, maybe considered as plagiarism but they didn't actually use the paper other than advertise it on their Google scholar but manipulated the author list to remove the first-author.

Based on what's narrated, that's not plagiarism. Unethical in a way, probably: (edit: intentionally removing an author) and that's even subjective.
PS: deleted after clarification by OP.

What can be done about this situation?

In all likelihood, this co-author might have, on Google Scholar, add article manually. That's how they can 'amend' the paper's entries.

The proper citation/entry will show on others, where the paper is added automatically by Google Scholar's algorithm.

So, is this something to battle, I personally don't see the need for it in the bigger picture of the war.
If however the authorship changes on the journal, then it calls for addressing.

If however the first author or other authors are pedantic about it, then they can also add article manually on their Google Scholar's profile with the correct information.


PS: It's a bit difficult understanding what OP is asking.
[Edit: OP clarification is of assistance]

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  • correcting the entry in the OP's google scholar profile seems very reasonable. I agree the ethics are unclear - what if it was an accident? Jun 28, 2023 at 10:23
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    Because it wasn't an accident. That's why there is an explanation about the coauthor being problematic. They had an issue with the first-author. @JonasSchwarz this was explained in the original post but it was edited out by someone else.
    – user156083
    Jun 28, 2023 at 13:22
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    Reordering the authors would be more defensible. Removing one is definitely an ethical violation, nothing subjective about that.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jun 28, 2023 at 15:31
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    I agree with @JonasSchwarz what if it was accidental. With further clarification by OP, BenVoigt is also correct in the context of intentionally removing an author. Although, the original paper would remain intact on the journal! Jun 29, 2023 at 7:19
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This is a weird situation. I think it is definitely unethical if she is really misrepresenting the author order, but I also don't think that you should lose too much sleep over it. If she is doing this intentionally, it's no different that lying about publications on a CV. Since it's on Google Scholar, just clicking on the linked article will reveal the truth. So, this shouldn't actually hurt you and it probably won't help your co-author either (in fact if someone noticed it would probably harm her). It's just petty.

As @semmyk-research mentioned, she might have manually added the entry. This will show up on her profile but, as you discovered, does not replace the automatic citation and should link to the proper paper (or nothing at all). Realistically anyone who comes across this and reads the paper will assume it is an error. I have actually had the google algorithm mess up citations like this - leaving out authors. You can link or merge the citations together on your profile. I think linking the citations is all you should do and probably all you can do.

If a copy of the paper pops up without your name on it, then it would be time to escalate.

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After claryfing you are the first author, I can say only one thing: your co-author is very stupid if she thinks she can obtain something by falsifying entries in google scholar (or anywhere/anyhow, the tool is just a tool).

You do not need to spend anytime to discuss directly with her or other co-authors, discussing with idiots make you an idiot as well, do not be dragged in this cat fight, just write the editors there is an issue with the appearance of the paper in Google Scholar, they will deal with it.

If they do not deal with it, sooner or later the mighty google tool will find the error thanks to its powerful algorithms.

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