Authorship and Collaboration 2

Description of the Problem

A dispute over the correct interpretation of data arose within a three-person research group. An agreement couldn’t be reached, so one author (Smith) decided to publish separately. The other researchers in the group thought they would wait to see whether Smith’s paper was accepted.

Smith moved to a new institution in the interim, but the notice of acceptance and manuscript number were faxed to the old institution, and Jones, the former research partner, learned of it. Jones then contacted the journal, said that Smith’s paper was wrong, and asked to be allowed to submit an alternate version of the material.


  • If you were the editor, how would you respond to this problem?
  • What if the disagreement were the result of a long-standing dispute between the two authors?
  • How might the researchers have avoided this situation?