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I am corresponding a paper and the status of the paper is under review after first revision.

Recently, I realized that one of my coauthors had done some bad acts against the project (related to the paper) in the past and now I want to delete his name from the author list.

Meanwhile it should be noted that his contribution to the study had never been scientific and I wrote with negligence his name. However, my big concern is now that removing his name might be unethical.

How can I deal with this important issue?

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    Why not just leave his name as is? Then, make sure you never co-author another paper with him in the future. Aug 9, 2017 at 9:34
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    some bad acts against the project — I don't understand what this could mean. Did he deliberately try to sabotage the project? — his contribution to the study had never been scientific — So he did contribute to the project, then. — I wrote with negligence his name — I don't understand this sentence.
    – JeffE
    Aug 9, 2017 at 20:30

2 Answers 2

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This is a tricky one but you might just have to bite the bullet and keep his name on the paper, making a mental note both not to work with him again and being careful about who you name as co-author.

one of my coauthors had done some bad acts against the project (related to the paper) in the past and now I want to delete his name from the author list.

But have these acts impacted on the quality of the paper? It sounds like they have affected the project but not specifically the paper. This is a similar criticism to people complaining against the internal bickering and politics of e.g. software development which affects how software is made, yes, but doesn't necessarily affect the quality or accuracy of the overall output product.

Meanwhile it should be noted that his collaboration with study had never been scientific and I wrote with negligence his name.

So he did make some contribution? What was this contribution? Conceptual? Literary in some way? I would doubt that you included his name with negligence at the time you did so, but now it seems negligent in the light of new information.

However, my big concern is now that removing his name might be un-ethic!!

I think it would certainly raise some questions that might be difficult to answer without possible repercussions on yourself. I would grit your teeth and let the paper go through further revisions, it sounds like it's too far down the line to remove a co-author's name, but be careful who you include - and why - in the future. Academia is a learning process in more than one way.

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  • It is noted in this answer - but it bears highlighting, make sure the paper is sound and correct.
    – Carol
    Aug 9, 2017 at 13:11
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Your question is unfortunately a bit vague and unclear, so it will be hard to answer definitively, but my basic take is...No.

I am corresponding a paper and the status of the paper is under review after first revision.

I've very rarely encountered a journal or editor that was okay with major changes in authorship after a revision, and expecially rare one that is alright with the removal of an author.

Recently, I realized that one of my coauthors had done some bad acts against the project (related to the paper) in the past and now I want to delete his name from the author list.

Here your vagueness is a problem. "Bad acts" could mean anything from being petty and backbiting to outright scientific fraud or criminal activity.

But without more information, my general stance is this: If he met the criteria to be an author in the first place, merely being not a great person to work with isn't grounds to remove him.

Meanwhile it should be noted that his contribution to the study had never been scientific and I wrote with negligence his name. However, my big concern is now that removing his name might be unethical.

I'm a little concerned that this reasoning is a little...post hoc. Why was he on the paper in the first place. What originally drove your negligence (his name didn't end up on the paper by accident)?

How can I deal with this important issue?

You choose not to work with this person again.

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