I’ve been involved in research and publishing since 1987 and during that time I have had the usual run of tricky experiences with coauthors. You know the sort of thing, collaborations that break down so that the data never gets properly written up, authors who can’t agree with the direction a paper should take, and authors who never reply to communications about a manuscript while it is being drafted. Luckily though, I have never been in a position where coauthors have engaged in anything that I have felt uncomfortable about from an ethical point of view.
Then this week, out of the blue I received an email from a top international journal asking me to confirm that I was a coauthor on a paper submitted by an investigator who I had never even heard of, let alone collaborated with. Looking at the author list there was a whole group of eminent people from my field, none of whom really looked like they would be associated with the subject matter in the paper. Very strange.
I contacted the journal to deny all knowledge of the submission and raising it as an issue of great concern. I was very grateful to receive their excellent response, showing that they shared my view that this was a serious breach of research ethics.
Thank you for your note regarding … submission … . In fact, youwere not alone in being inappropriately added to the authorship list —6 of the 15 listed authors denied authorship within hours of thesubmission. I want to assure you that the journal shares your point ofview that this is a clear breach of ethics and constitutes unacceptableauthorship practices. Of course, the journal will not consider thismanuscript in any form further, and I have expressly notified thesubmitting author that we considering this an ethical violation.If this should happen again, you may wish to contact the submittingauthor’s institutional office of research integrity.
Please could you explain why you have used my name on a manuscriptsubmission. I have not participated in the writing of this paper and I amnot aware that you have ever discussed this with me.I am confused.
I am yet to hear your explanation of why you have used my name in thissubmission. Please respond as soon as possible or I will need to referthis to your institution.
Profesor S. Langley-Evans,Your last note is out of cordial scientific interaction.FIRST: THE MANUSCRIPT STATES CLEARLY WE DO NOT HAVE ANY CONFLICTS OFINTEREST, which means a cordial invitation without any compromize, sortof a flower for a COLLEAGUE I HAD YOU WITH GREAT ESTIMATION, BECAUSE YURWORK PLEASES ME VERY MUCH;AND NOTHING ELSE.
SECOND: I WANTED TO INVITE YOU IN OUR PREVIOUS PUBLICATION WHICHAPPREARED LAST JANUARY 2017 IN BIOCHIM BIOPHYSICS ACTA. YOU DID NOTANSWER ME THE INVITATION, YOUR WERE OUT OF TOWN AS FAR AS YOUR AUTOMATIC eMAIL REPLY WROTE TO ME. THUS I DID NOT CONSIDER YOUR NAME FOR THAT PUBLICATION. AGAIN WITHOUR ANY COMPROMISE, JUST FOR THE GOOD SHAKEASPEREAN SPIRITS TO SHARE WITH SOMEONE WHOSE WORK IS ALTOBELLIS’S OUTSTANDING.
THIRD: I PROMISE TO DISMISS MY AFFECTIVE CCONSIDERATION TOWARD YOURNAME; I WILL JUST CITE YOUR WORKS AND THATS IT BETWEEN US. BE ASSURED IWILL NOT DARE TO THINK OF YOUR NAME, ONCE AGAIN.
FOUR: THERE WAS A STRANGE SMALL GROUP OF ADULT MALES AT THE BELLASARTES PALACE IN MEXICO CITY (DOWNTOWN, LA ALAMEDA) CITING YOUR NAME AS IF GREETNG ME (¡) DURING 2014-2016. I AM NOW CONTACTING THE UNITEDKINGDOM EMBASSY TO NOTICE ALL THESE UNLAWFUL AMBIENTAL CITATIONS FROM THESE INDIVIDUALS. COMMONWEALTH IS HUGE INCLUDING NOT ACCEPTED INVITED ONES. PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT I TURNDOWN ANY OF THESE INTERACTIVE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNING MY PROFESSION.I am most thankful for your keen attention to these facts. In fact, Istop visiting THE BELLAS ARTES PALACE ALL THIS YEAR AND I TRY TO KEEPUNDER THE BRITISH EMBASSY EYES.