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Suppose that you are the first-author of a paper that was accepted in a journal. During proof-reading, the corresponding author (the supervisor in this case) wants to change the affiliation of the authors. I know that it is possible to leave a comment to the journal in this regard as one can't directly make the changes when revising the proof, but I am asking, is that a common thing to happen?

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    Affiliation of authors (no matter they have been changed or otherwise) have nothing to do with the order of their names. Your supervisor's reasoning is quite weird, by the way!
    – User
    Commented Mar 29 at 4:46
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    @User Why are you talking about the order of names? I'm not seeing any mention of order. If the department actually has closed (these things do happen) why would it be weird to change the affiliation? Why would that be unprofessional?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 29 at 11:32
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    @JaafarMehrez Just changing the department isn't much of a change. If a department is absorbed into others or split into two, the work is done at both the old name and the new name because they are just different names for the same place. Normally these changes are things that make "news" locally, can you not see any announcements or website changes that match the change?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 29 at 12:19
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    Have you asked?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 29 at 12:30
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    I don't understand what the problem is. An affiliation is a way to find an author. If the author's department has been absorbed into another, or has changed its name, it is clearly appropriate to change that on the publication. What would be the problem in that? Commented Mar 29 at 18:28

3 Answers 3

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This is not common, but it's surely because the production stage of a journal article lasts for a short time (days) compared to the time when authors are at an institution (years), so statistically it's unlikely to happen.

There's nothing wrong with making this change and you can certainly ask.

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    Another reason why this is not common is because people may prefer to give the affiliation valid when the work was actually done. So the affiliation would not change in the paper even if it does not reflect the current state. See for example academia.stackexchange.com/questions/161866/… and other related questions on Academia SE. Commented Mar 29 at 8:33
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    And I would think that changes in affiliation during the proof stage rather reflect changes during the entire submission process which is much longer. Commented Mar 29 at 8:44
  • @Snijderfrey. I agree on that, thanks for the further clarification. Commented Mar 29 at 10:59
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    The claim about the production stage of a journal article is very field-dependent. In pure math, for example, the production stage routinely lasts many months. Commented Mar 30 at 9:36
  • @GregMartin Why does it take so long? Commented Mar 31 at 16:27
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Personally, I would add a footnote for "current affiliation" rather than change the existing affiliation.

Otherwise, I agree with Tom's answer and the good points he raises. He notes that

Moreover, some (or even most) journals have the policy that in the final proofreading stage, only issues that were introduced during the publishing process (e.g., due to typesetting by the journal) will be fixed. The proofreading stage is to ensure that everything appears as the authors originally intended it, not to enable the authors to change their minds.

Ostensibly, listing your "current affiliation" as a footnote at this point would help readers find you, the author (although, in practice, ORCIDs and the internet, lessen the importance of up-to-date affiliations in journal articles compared to pre-internet days).

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Depending on the journal, it may not be appropriate.

Some journals have a policy that the affiliation should be where the majority of the work was done. The request may go against such a policy.

Moreover, some (or even most) journals have the policy that in the final proofreading stage, only issues that were introduced during the publishing process (e.g., due to typesetting by the journal) will be fixed. The proofreading stage is to ensure that everything appears as the authors originally intended it, not to enable the authors to change their minds.

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    +1 Thanks for the answer, I have checked the journal and they are clear in their policy that "the affliation should be where the majority of the work was done" Commented Mar 29 at 12:52
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    @JaafarMehrez but this doesn't change, right? You are saying that the departments have simply changed name or been merged, so using "newName" is correct, since "oldName" just doesn't exist any more.
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 29 at 16:32

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