18

Is it permissible for one of the authors of a paper to work alone for the extension of that paper?

  • 28
    This sounds like something you should be discussing with your co-authors, not Random People on the Internet. – Raghu Parthasarathy Aug 29 '17 at 3:46
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    @RaghuParthasarathy: really? you go up to your coauthors and ask them if it's ok if they don't work with you on an extension of their paper? I feel like if having this conversation wasn't awkward for whatever reason then they would have had it already. – Mehrdad Aug 29 '17 at 9:21
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    Yes, really. Life is full of awkward but important conversations. – Raghu Parthasarathy Aug 29 '17 at 14:32
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    @RaghuParthasarathy: I agree that this should be discussed with the co-authors at some point. However, I think it makes sense to ask an outside source first, to know what is common, know what to expect, and what is reasonable or unreasonable to say in such a conversation. – a3nm Aug 29 '17 at 15:58
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    @Mehrdad The correct question is not "Can I work alone on an extension?" but rather "I have an idea for an extension; are you interested in continuing our collaboration?" – JeffE Aug 30 '17 at 12:07
41

There is nothing illegal about this, nor is this publicly frowned upon. After all, it's very possible for some of the original co-authors to simply not be interested in the extension.

However, your co-authors might see this as impolite, to say the least. If you offer to include them in working on the extension and they decline, then everything is fine. If you don't make such an offer to them, they might not want to work with you ever again.

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    In addition, I suggest to prominently cite the original paper on which the extended paper builds. – henning -- reinstate Monica Aug 29 '17 at 9:15
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    On the other hand, in the frequent case where some authors of the initial paper did not contribute much to the end result, it would be impolite of them to insist to work on the followup if they don't plan on putting in more work than they did on the initial paper... – a3nm Aug 29 '17 at 15:42
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    Thank You so much for your answer.. I asked this question to know if my co authors can make extension to my paper where I have actually worked the most – Pria55 Aug 29 '17 at 15:50
6

I once was in the situation that my coauthors were always "interested" in the extensions, but had little time, which delayed the whole paper.

After some time I began to write extensions on my own and tried to publish them, which, indeed, was bad for the relationship to my coauthors. They had the impression that I was working behind their back (which was somehow true) - while my impression was that I was much quicker alone.

  • 2
    Good to read some first-hand experience. – henning -- reinstate Monica Aug 30 '17 at 9:45
  • In this case it would be good to circulate the work to the (ex) co-authors, giving them some time to review it. Based on the comments/contributions that you get back, decide if to keep them as co-authors, mention them in the acknowledgement or drop them. – DarioP Aug 30 '17 at 11:52
  • You probably are faster on your own. But if you are any good many want a piece of that cake.... – mathreadler Aug 30 '17 at 18:52
-3

Are you (writing the papers) under someone's employ or as part of a contract with someone? Then supposedly you would be expected to make sure your employer / contractor is OK with whatever direction you go. If you are not, then you simply have no such obligations anymore.

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