Needed: opinions on authorship

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed Apr 2 12:34:18 EST 1997

On Wed, 2 Apr 1997, Jun Peng wrote:

> I have a ph.D. degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. The lab I did my
> Ph.D. work is NIH-funded. My Ph.D. advisor has a habit of giving away my
> work and let his favorite people be first authors.  I recently submitted a
> paper which I had done all the work.  The reviewers asked us to add one
> more control for one of the tables.  Since I have left the lab, the advisor
> asked somebody else to do the control and again promised him the first
> authorship, even though the core and the bulk of the paper was carried out
> by me.
> I want to fight this outright unfair practice. I repeatedly sent e-mail to
> my Ph.D. advisor and requested a discussion.  He simply ignored my request.
> I would appreciate any advice on where and how I should fight him.  Should
> I contact the journal where the paper was submitted? Which office of NIH
> should I contact? Their phone number? Any other legal channel I should
> pursue?
> Please e-mail me.  Thanks a lot.
> PJ

Dear Jun Peng,

The case you report (when the boss tries to downplay
your credit) is quite typical for the present
climate in science. You can find numerous pieces
of literature talking about similar cases.
But this does not mean you can't do anything 
about it. While to go for a lawsuit may be a 
difficult and almost hopless route, I suggest 
you write to the Office of Research Integrity
at NIH, as well as letters to Science, Nature
and the journals were the papers in question
were submitted. You can also write to local and/or
university press. All the above cost you virtually
nothing, but can help to build up a publicity.
The latter (publicity) is utterly importanat key 
tool in your case, if you want win  a justice. 
Good luck.  

Alex Berezin

More information about the Bioforum mailing list