We were recently sent a copy of an abstract by another group with whom we sometimes collaborate. This abstract was due and submitted over a month ago. This document was never shown to us and our approval was never asked, but the names of all the principals here are on it as authors. (It further contains a negative finding for our methodology versus another.) We were simply sent it with an apology and not much of an excuse. We have dealt with some borderline shady behavior with this group in the past.

I am new to this kind of behavior and have the following questions:

  • If we wish to not be on this abstract, who is generally the person to approach at the conference about it? Is it the communications person who sends out the routine emails, or someone else?
  • Is it appropriate that we request only that our names be removed, or is it SOP for this abstract to be retracted (which I guess would be bad for the grad student who leads it)?
  • Should we expect there to be consequences at this conference in future for the group that sent this in, or will it simply be withdrawn and that is the end of it?
  • Is there anything else I should be thinking about doing in this situation?

1 Answer 1


This kind of thing happens sometimes. It is reasonable to request that you be removed. In many cases, this will be possible while still keeping the abstract. It comes down to how far in advance the conference material is printed/published online. The organizer mentioned on the conference website can handle this request or forward it to the poor grad student who manages the book of abstracts.

There are a few variables here. If you request the removal of your name directly from the shady collaborators vs. from the conference organizers themselves, it might be helpful in preserving a good-ish relationship with the collaborators. It might also not work if they don't comply.

If you request the removal from the organizers before abstracts have been selected, this might affect the success of that abstract. However, only if the organizers are also the program committee, aka small team.

Ime, this shouldn't affect the group's reputation in the future. Fields probably vary.

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