As I left my PhD in between, my name has not been put in the published paper. My PI published the paper in a very clever way. I worked in the entire project and it was a team work. he put all the names who are involved except mine.

How should I approach the editor as I deserve an authorship? And one of the editors of that journal was our departmental head and his name was there in the paper.

Kindly let me know about your suggestion.

  • 7
    You said your PI forced students to falsify data. Are you sure you want to sign that paper?
    – Davidmh
    Feb 9, 2015 at 10:11
  • @davidmh:It was not my PhD project. I did that part because I established the protocol for that experiment. I do not deserve first authorship but a co-authorship and as I said it was a team work. I was involved for 4 months and also did the time -taking animal trial. As I invested my time and my protocol has been used I deserve a name.
    – lucas
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:13
  • 6
    My point is that if there was fraud (perhaps after you left), you, as an author, could be held accountable for it.
    – Davidmh
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:24
  • 3
    @Lucas: I would also say do not waste your time anymore on your unfortunate past. It is quite obvious that even if you have worked hard in your previous lab you are the 'worst' student always and as a PI he/she can always give reason against you. So forget about it. You faced harsh reality of academics but now you have a good PI , so focus on that. I know it is hard but you never know the data they published is totally falsified.
    – hjbrl
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


You need to be very careful. It sounds like you are accusing your former PI of academic misconduct. Even if he committed misconduct, things can (and will) likely get messy fast.

Normally, I would only recommend approaching the editor after other avenues have been explored. For the case where the editor is an author and your former department head, it is going to be hard to avoid the editor. I would suggest you contact all the authors on the paper (this includes the editor/department head) and tell them you were surprised you were not an author. They will hopefully be able to clear up the misunderstanding. Potentially, they forgot to list you as an author, although that seems unlikely, and are willing to contact the journal to get you added. Alternatively, they decided your contribution did not warrant authorship.

If they do not think you deserve authorship, it is best to get their side of the story first. Maybe they recollected all your data and redid all the research that you were involved in, in which case your claims for authorship are weaker. Maybe their argument is that while your data and analysis are included, they do not think it was enough for authorship. Once they tell you their side of the story, if you still think you should be an author tell them why.

If you cannot resolve the authorship issue as a group, then you need to bring in your head of department. In your case, he will be aware of the issues, since he is also an author. Once you raise a formal complaint, he will hopefully hand it off to an independent person (e.g ., the head of a different department).

If the university cannot help you reach an agreement, then you need to approach the journal. Again, in your case the journal will likely be aware of the issue because the author is the editor. Hopefully, the issue will be handed off to an independent editor from the journal.

If you cannot get an independent person from your university or the journal, or you cannot reach an agreement regarding authorship, then you may want to contact COPE.

  • From the question, it's unclear if the (former?) department head who is an author is actually the editor. This should not be the case--hopefully it was assigned to another editor from the start.
    – Kimball
    Feb 9, 2015 at 13:27

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