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Pissed as hell, and naming names [May. 18th, 2012|10:10 pm]
Lab Rats


In 2010 I worked at Maastricht University, under Dr. An Moens. During my time there, I wrote a monster review, but we couldn't find a journal that would publish it (at 11,000+ words, I can't blame them). When I left the lab, she was still looking for a publisher. I was aware that it would probably be extensively edited, and if that was the case, I might not be first-author on it anymore. Fine. Just get it out there.

Just this week, I learned that it's just been published. And that my name is nowhere on the author list.

Incensed, I contacted the editor at the journal. He sent me a PDF, to show me that I was, in fact, acknowledged--in the acknowledgements, for my "technical expertise, editorial assistance". Editorial assistance my @$$. 85% of the text is mine, with minor edits at best. As in, huge sections of the review were copy-pasted from the original. And the parts that have been changed? "It is apparent" becomes "Apparently"--that sort of thing. There are maybe 5 original paragrpahs in the entire thing--and I'm being generous. If someone wants to check this, I can forward you my last version of the review, and you can compare it to what's online.

The editor-in-chief is a decent guy--he got back to me the same day (editors tend to do that when you subject an email with "plagarism"). I forwarded him the original 11,000 word beast, which I still had on gmail, to show him that I was not joking when I said that most of the words that are in that review are mine. I think he wants to get both sides of the story. I don't think he will, because she's good at ignoring things she doesn't like to hear.

The article, FWIW, is the J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2012 Jun;52(6):1213-25. Epub 2012 Mar 21, and is titled "Doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy: From molecular mechanisms to therapeutic strategies." If anybody wants to read the original in all its glory, let me know.

EDIT: I should also add that this is not a spur-of-the-moment post. I waited until she responded. And her response, basically, was, "I don't think you made any significant contributions." So this goes up. Spread the word.

[User Picture]From: somniumdraconae
2012-05-18 08:25 pm (UTC)
Good for you for sticking up for yourself. All too often, grad students and postgrad workers have no voice and no way of proving that their name deserves to be on their work, and they lose out on a much-deserved publication due to this kind of problem.

Good luck in your future endeavors.
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[User Picture]From: cheez_ball
2012-05-18 08:40 pm (UTC)
You might wish to contact someone else in your department, such as the department head or a co-author on this as well.
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[User Picture]From: sailorgarnet
2012-05-18 08:42 pm (UTC)
yes, this.
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[User Picture]From: small_chicken
2012-05-18 08:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, I'm going to send him both versions. It's a bit tricky, though, since he's also an author on the paper.
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[User Picture]From: cheez_ball
2012-05-18 08:57 pm (UTC)
It could be a good thing. He would know what work you did on it. He could help you petition to get your name on via a couple of ways. And, if he chooses, he can discipline his faculty member for doing this.
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[User Picture]From: small_chicken
2012-05-18 09:52 pm (UTC)
Eh, I'm just hoping he won't want his name smeared all over the dirt I'm about to unload...
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[User Picture]From: yelya
2012-05-18 11:05 pm (UTC)
Do they have an ethics committee at your university? I would definitely make them aware of the situation.
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[User Picture]From: i_strannik
2012-05-19 12:09 am (UTC)
Fight it. With the editors, your Department chair, ethics committee at the Uni (they should have one).
If you feel that your Department is not helping, you can take it to vice-chancellor for research or the equivalent that they have in Maastricht. If you are a grad student, you could take it to the Dean's office, as well.

Some of the Universities have legal advisors staff/students can talk to, you might want to have a word with one of them. It's amazing what the fear of legal proceedings can do to an uncooperative person, however remote that possibility might be.

Good luck.
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[User Picture]From: small_chicken
2012-05-19 05:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm definitely going to contact the dean's office as soon as they open on Monday.
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[User Picture]From: hayet
2012-05-19 02:22 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry this happened to you! I don't have any more advice than was given above, but I wanted to wish you the best of luck.
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[User Picture]From: suslik_
2012-05-19 11:55 am (UTC)
Those bastards! That review does seem like a huge amount of work, and it's so wrong you are not credited!
People above already gave good advice, so I just want to sympathize.
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