A paper was accepted in 2012 but there was a lengthy disagreement between the four authors regarding the order of authorship. An agreement was received in 2015 that specified the order of authorship and named one of the authors as “the final corresponding author to see the paper through the rest of the process for the paper’s publication”. During the production process, the proofs were sent to the corresponding author. Changes were made during the proofing stage which author B disputed. The paper was published on early view and author B requested retraction of the paper immediately, alleging that the agreement was voided by the changes made during proofing. The journal has corresponded with all four authors and advised them that they need to agree on the final version of the article or the journal will be forced to retract the paper because of irreconcilable differences among the authors. The editor asked if the the Forum agree that an ethical choice in this difficult situation would be a decision to retract with an option to resubmit with a new author byline?
Discussion and advice from the Forum