I am a PhD student.

My paper got accepted with minor changes and then re-submitted again and accepted by the journal. In the meantime, I had conflicts with my supervisor who is a co-author of my paper and I decided to change the lab. Now, he sent an email to the editor stating that the paper was not confirmed by him and now the paper is blocked till he confirms. He will never allow the paper because of the personal conflict. Can someone tell me what can be done?

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    I do not think there is much you can do other than trying to amend your relationship with your advisor or at least come to 'truce' for this specific paper. Of course, this is possible only if the paper and journal are actually good and the original submission was done in agreement with the advisor. – Alexandros Nov 18 '15 at 11:11
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    Do you have any documentation of him confirming the submission originally (e.g., email)? – jakebeal Nov 18 '15 at 14:19
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    What did you do to make your professor "never allow the paper" ?? – phys_chem_prof Nov 18 '15 at 17:18

It is unlikely that a journal will publish a paper if one of its authors states that it should not be published at this point (for various reasons). However, it would also be more than questionable for you to demote the other author to only be included in the acknowledgements section (at least if you did not do everything that you could to resolve the situation).

So that leaves you with trying to resolve the situation. One way of dealing with such problems is to elevate the issue. Possible points of contacts could be the dean of your former department or your dean of studies. In some places, where you have a secondary advisor whose role is to help you in case of precisely such problems, then she/he should be your point of contact.

To prepare any of these meetings, make sure that you have a statement of what happened that it is as accusation-free as possible, while trying to stick to the facts. While such issues are better discussed face-to-face, preparing the statements helps with getting your point across in an organized way.

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    it seems like going to a dean on this issue is a bit much. what could they do, force a professor to put their name on a paper? – user1938107 Nov 18 '15 at 12:08
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    @user1938107 they would act as an external mediator that can talk with them without the burden of being angry. – Davidmh Nov 18 '15 at 13:36
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    The second reason is that professors are to some extent dependent on the goodwill of the rest of the department, even if they have tenure. If they appear to act entierely unreasonable to the dean or whomever else from the department on this matter, then this lowers their internal reputation, which is likely to be more important to the professor than this particular paper or the student. This is exactly why the student should address the issue based on facts - it needs to be avoided to make this look like a personal dispute to the other department members. – DCTLib Nov 18 '15 at 13:49
  • @Davidmh if any scholar does not want their name on a paper, and they had contributed to the research, by basically every answer previously on this site, the paper can not be published. Just seems like a good way to make a bad situation worse. I dont like what your doing, even though its your right to do so, so ill get your boss. – user1938107 Nov 18 '15 at 14:49
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    Bringing in the department or dean as a neutral party is a good idea. A publication record is an important part of professional development. Blocking a paper purely out of pique/spite means a PI is not qualified to be a mentor. The department should be informed of the situation, as egregious cases may warrant sanctions (e.g. prohibiting the advisor from taking new students). – R.M. Nov 18 '15 at 18:33

Who paid for the work? I work for a research funder, and we have have a requirement for publication attached to all the funds we award. A proportion of funds are held back until publication. We have a number of steps we follow with an investigator who won't publish - which include reclaiming the funds they were awarded for the research, and withdrawing all other funding from the institution concerned.

It may be your funder has an opinion about work they've paid for not being published.

  • Requirement for publication does not imply the requirement to publish the paper in question. I presume this paper is not the only outcome of the project. – Dmitry Savostyanov Nov 18 '15 at 21:39

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