My research paper was stolen by the co-author and published as his own. What do I do? All the data the paper is based on is my own work. I got it accepted in another journal but now I cannot get it published according to the copyright terms and conditions.

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    I'm confused by the word "coauthor" here. Was your paper accepted in another journal with or without the other person's involvement/knowledge/permission? Are they your coauthor on this paper, on a different paper, or something else?
    – JeffE
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 13:14
  • 4
    Are you convinced that it was deliberate? Maybe there was a misunderstanding or something. Have you spoken to your professor?
    – user107
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 16:33
  • 11
    Definitely talk to your department chair. Find a new advisor, even if it means changing departments. Your advisor will continue to abuse you until you walk out.
    – JeffE
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 20:05
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    But you didn't answer my question. When you submitted this work to a journal, did you do it with or without your advisor's knowledge/approval? Is your advisor a co-author on the other paper? If so, then the paper without your name is straight-up double submission, which neither journal editor will like.
    – JeffE
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 20:07
  • 1
    Is this high school, college, or phd work? It doesn't change what is wrong or right or how you feel, but has implications for the solution.
    – mankoff
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


Let me echo scaaahu's excellent advice: Calm down. Obviously you're scared, and with good reason, but you need to approach the situation calmly and professionally. Otherwise, even if you are in the right it will be difficult for other people to take your concerns seriously.

Your comments suggest (to me) that the situation is not as straightforward as your initial post describes. Without considerably more detail about what happened — which would be inappropriate for you to post here — it's difficult to make specific suggestions.

I think you need to discuss the situation with someone who understands both the politics in your department and the publication culture in your field. Find another senior faculty member in your department (or in a different department, or in the dean's office) who you can trust to keep confidence. (Yes, this can be difficult, but ask around.) Write up a timeline of events in advance, and make copies of documentation for each event in the timeline. Calmly and carefully describe the situation. Just present the facts; don't panic, and don't accuse. (One of the facts is "I'm scared"; that's okay.) Ask your confidant how to proceed. Listen to them.

In the best case, this is a simple misunderstanding, and talking to an informed but neutral third party is the best way to convince you to relax. In the worst case, your department chair is being egregiously unethical, and in particular threatening your chances at graduation, in which case you absolutely need a senior faculty advocate to help you navigate the resulting political mine field. (Your primary goal in this case should be to graduate and get out, not to optimize your grade or to punish your department chair.) Most likely, the actual situation is somewhere in between those two extremes.

Good luck.

  • Thanks @JeffE i am trying my best not to panic but other teachers dun know about it and are forcing me to get this paper published Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 9:46
  • Do i submit it in the new journal that it got accepted in? i know it is with a risk but all my marks are dependent on it what do i do Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 3:20

The first thing would be to contact the editor of the journal that published your co-author's work, and to explain the problem to them. If the proofs that it is your own research are sufficient, they might consider the previously published paper as plagiarism, which should unblock your own publication. In this process, it might be worth contacting also the journal to which you submitted, so that they can confirm the date at which they received your submission.

Right now, I would say that the best move is to contact the two journals editors with the proofs, and see if they can sort things out. You can also consider in the mean time publishing your paper to an open repository (such as arXiv), if it does not interfere with the copyright policy of the journal you want to publish to.

  • 5
    Also, if you and your coauthor work at the same institution, take your evidence to your advisor / department chair / dean. Hopefully you have concrete evidence to back your claim: lab notebooks, dated paper drafts, submission time stamps, archived email conversations, etc.
    – JeffE
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 13:22
  • It was my work mostly plus he is my professor i cannot report the issue i am stuck in the middle of a big issue Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 14:01
  • Plus i somehow feel my co author knows i have gotten to know about this she is avoiding me .. I have got all the proof thats not an issue Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 14:12
  • I feel all disgusted i did work really hard for this :/ Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 14:48
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    @awesomeness: you can report the issue, even if the person involved is your professor. And I would say you cannot get out of this situation without reporting it, the only question is to who and how, but the answers up to know give good advice on this. Commented May 27, 2012 at 17:45

My first advice is to calm down.

Your question and your comments sound emotional to me. The more emotional you are, the worse situation you would be in. Since the other party is your prof, the burden of proof is on your shoulder. You need to deal with it carefully.

I am not even sure you have a problem. From what you have said in the question and comments, your prof submitted a paper with only his name on the paper to a journal without your prior knowledge. Then he gave you his approval to submit another paper of probably the same contents to another journal with both your name and his name on it(you said he is the co-author).

The above is what I understood from your question and your comments. If all are true, the issue is his problem, not yours. Because he is the one who did the double submission, not you. All you have to do to clear up this issue is to present evidence which shows that you got his approval before you submitted the paper to the journal.

  • do i submit the paper to the journal where it got accepted? Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 5:15
  • @awesomeness, this is the question for the editors of the journal. Would you accept two papers of the same or similar contents if you were the editor?
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 5:46
  • i know i woudnt like that however what if i did not know it had already gotten published Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 5:59
  • what do i do then :/ Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 6:05
  • @awesomeness: As I said in my answer, the key is the approval he gave you to submit the paper.
    – Nobody
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 6:12

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