A question of publication ethics

T80SMS1 at NIU.bitnet T80SMS1 at NIU.bitnet
Mon Jan 4 12:14:00 EST 1993


A situation as arisen involving a conflict between authors of
a paper.  What I wish to do is see if others agree with my
advice.  The situation is as follows.  A woman did a MS thesis
and is now in conflict with her former advisor over the
publication.  The advisor provided some of the initial idea
and the basic experimental design.  The student did all of the
work involving implementing the basic design, analysing the
data, and writing it up.  She is the senior author on the
manuscript in question.  The problem is that the advisor (who
is an @#%@) wants to include data that the student does not
feel is relevant, keeps asking for new analyses and new
rewrites, etc.  This has been going on for almost 2 years.
   My advice to the student was that as senior author she has
the final say on the paper.  Once she is satisfied on the
content of the manuscript, she has the right to tell the
junior author that he can either go along with her
decisions or take his name off of the paper.  (The other
option is for her to simply give up and let him write it as
he wants, if it ever gets published.)
   So, my basic question is, what are the ethics of a situation
when authors of a manuscript are in conflict over its content.
Who has the final say?  What if they cannot agree?  Obviously
this issue has wider implications than this particular case
(for example, post-docs or junior scientists in a big lab).
Does anyone have any anecdotes that they wish to share?  Note
that in this case the student can tell her former advisor to
"Buzz off" with no consequences.  Clearly, any answer might
differ in other circumstances.

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* Samuel M. Scheiner                 +                            *
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