Disputed authorship


Authorship issues from disbanded consortium


A manuscript was submitted to one of our journals in a special issue. The initial submission included 15 authors with 9 affiliations. The authors were part of a consortium which has now been disbanded. The manuscript was provisionally accepted for publication.


Withdrawal request by an author


We received a request by an author who states not to have contributed to an article published in 2015. The author claims that his name was used without his knowledge and that the corresponding author has been retired for several years and can no longer be reached. At the time of submission, we received a copyright transfer signed with the author’s name (we request all authors to sign the form). We are not in favour of withdrawing the article as we feel we have a signed copyright form.


Standards in authorship webinar

On Thursday 29 June 2-3pm we're holding our first webinar for information, shared discussion and practical advice on common authorship issues faced by COPE members.

Three guest speakers will present their views: Deborah Poff, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Academic Ethics; Kelly Cobey Senior Clinical Research Associate at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada; Liz Allen, Director of Strategic Initiatives at F1000.


Authorship dispute unsatisfactorily resolved by institution


The journal was contacted with a claim to first authorship of a paper currently published online ahead of print. Print publication was put on hold pending the result of the investigation. The claim to first authorship was based on the claimant stating that they had obtained most results published in the paper during their PhD studies under the supervision of the corresponding author, and contributed to the writing of the text.

About this resource

Full page history


Authorship dispute regarding author order


A paper was accepted in 2012 but there was a lengthy disagreement between the four authors regarding the order of authorship. The authors were advised that the paper would not be published unless all authors could sign a written agreement on the order of authorship and copyright form.


Institutional investigation of authorship dispute


We received a claim that several authors were removed from an article published in one of our journals before the article was submitted. None of those said to have been removed were acknowledged.


Authorship dispute and possible unreported protocol amendment


Our journal accepted a randomised controlled trial for publication which has not yet been published online. In the submitted paper, the randomised controlled trial is described as commencing in 2004 with completion in 2011. We have received an email and telephone call from an individual not listed as an author or reviewer of the paper with the following alleged disputes:
• He was an investigator on the trial between 2004 and 2008.


Disclosure and transparency issue


A paper was submitted to a medical journal, reporting the beneficial effects of a treatment with an expensive biological preparation. The author list included one employee of the company that produces and sells the preparation. Specific employees of the company were also thanked for medical input, epidemiological advice, programming support and copy editing; several authors declared having received speaker fees from the company for lectures related to the product.