We have received an allegation from an anonymous phone caller that an author has been wrongly omitted from a Viewpoint published 2 years ago. The claim was made that the author's contribution was suppressed by the institution.
Should we act on such information? And if yes, what should we do?
The editor should contact the named person who had allegedly been left off.
We did contact the person (A) who was allegedly left off the paper, who confirmed that parts of our published paper are very similar to a Review he compiled internally for the institution where both authors worked. He also expressed surprise that this was brought to our attention in the described way. He did initially agree to pursue the matter but did not want us to reveal his identity. He attempted to locate the document that would show the overlap. We did contact the author (B) of our paper and outlined the allegation (keeping to anonymous as requested). He sent us back a Review relating to our Viewpoint but without clear overlap. When we recontacted A and showed him the Review, he implied that this was only part of the material but he could not remember when the complete Review he was referring to was done (he had no copy of it himself) and eventually decided that he could not help us any further.