We have a system in which, to get accepted in the program, you have to have a published research because that will add some points to your application and you will have priority. Anyway, some investigators started to grant authorship on such publications for money, gathering a number of people and write their names on the paper as co-authors in return those people paying them.

I was naïve and I paid for such a thing. Please don’t judge me. Now I know it is academic misconduct, so I want my name to be dropped from that publication. How can I do this?

  • 5
    You probably can't, but you can contact the editor/publisher and inform them about the dodgy practice. They might start something which could result in retraction or even change of authorlist. But don't expect to come out as a good guy.
    – Mark
    Nov 11, 2017 at 17:44
  • 6
    Leaving those publications off your CV and website will do a lot to disassociate yourself from them, especially if you have a common name. Nov 11, 2017 at 19:40
  • If you want your name removed, you have to kill the whole paper. If you are sure you want that (your "coauthors" will be totally pissed), write to the editor how your name got on the list, sit back, and observe the following thunderstorm unfold. Which might hit you, if you can't prove you really only got on there by money.
    – Karl
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:23
  • Your name might not vanish, btw. The paper could stay accessible forever, just marked as retracted, with a note about some misconduct by the authors.
    – Karl
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:31
  • 2
    Just don't do it again. Dec 12, 2017 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


There is no guarantee that you succeed, but you can still try.

  1. Address the legal side of the issue. Read the terms of your agreement carefully. If it is possible to abide by the terms of contract and have you name dropped, act accordingly. If not, seek for legal advice. After all, the contract might be not 100% clean according to your country's law or international laws, and you could hypothetically declare the contract for void in this case. If the contract has not been written on paper but is a handshake deal, check for the legislation of your country again about handling such cases.

  2. Address the academic side of the issue. For that, read the terms of the venue(s) the paper(s) went to. Check whether these terms request that each author has to contribute in a substantial way. If such a phrase is not there, you have less chances. If such a phrase is there in some form, you have more chances. In each case, write to the editor(s) and supply a corresponding justification for why your name is to be dropped from the author list.

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