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does this sound kosher to you?

So I officially got screwed out of a publication today.  Many months ago I was approached by some people–friends and colleagues–about doing some work for a paper, which I eventually did over the winter holidays during my down time.  A couple of weeks ago they told me that someone else who works with one of their collaborators had done the same work I was asked to do but came up with a different result.  When they told me how the results differed, I realized this other person had made a mistake and told them why/how the mistake was made but that I couldn’t continue doing this work having to look over my shoulder and/or figure out mistakes made by this much less experienced person.  A couple weeks later now, I find out that these people–friends and colleagues–have decided to use the work by their collaborator’s person rather than my work. 

As a gesture, I was offered authorship on this paper although I have no idea how this other person did the work and my experience now is that this person’s work is suspect (with rookie mistakes).  So I turned down the authorship.  What choice did I have?  I can’t accept responsibility for work that I have no knowledge of and moreover think is suspect. 

I have mixed feelings right now.  The people who approached me and asked me to do this work are friends.  I don’t think they would purposefully ask someone else to also do the work.  At least I hope I wouldn’t get played like that.  I suspect they just got trapped in a situation with their collaborator.  But at the same time, I put in a lot of time to do this work–over my winter break no less–and I was rewarded with second-guessing and effectively a slap in the face.  It seems a little unprofessional to commit to me for this work and then burn me.  But again, these are people I’ve known for years and I have long considered them as friends so I don’t want to judge. 

What do you think?


6 Responses to “does this sound kosher to you?”

  1. 1
    Comrade PhysioProf:

    You’re saying that they are incoporating an analysis into their manuscript that you know to be incorrect, and that you told them is incorrect?

  2. 2
    Disgruntled Julie:

    Definitely not parve. Obviously, you did the right thing — you don’t want your name associated with a paper that has shoddy work. What I don’t understand is why your friends would still want to be associated with work that you have come out and said is problematic, when you already have work done from before. What a shit situation. Like you said, if they are friends they wouldn’t purposely put you in this situation, but on the other hand, wouldn’t they want to ensure that their name was on the best science possible? Why isn’t the collaborator remotely concerned that the outcome was different? Isn’t that, I don’t know, a giant red flag that says that the paper isn’t ready for publication?

    Seriously, what is it with people doing months and months of work and getting screwed out of papers lately? Personally I don’t believe in karma, but I think I’m going to start, just so I can sleep better at night thinking that some day, these actions are going to come back and bite these douches in the ass.

  3. 3

    5 years from now you’ll be much happier your name wasn’t on a piece of shit than you’re pissed off that your name isn’t on a piece of shit.

  4. 4

    Convincing the collaborator that his researcher’s work was not up to par and that yours was may be difficult especially if he was not aware of your involvement. However I would consider it.

    Otherwise, make sure you let your friends know they owe you.

  5. 5

    What I’m saying is that when the situation was first brought to me, I explained to these people why the other person’s work was not correct. Since that time, I haven’t heard or seen anything–which is the primary reason why I turned down the authorship. My hope is that my explanation for why the other person’s work wasn’t correct (I was asked in depth to explain) was used to correct the situation–or if I am wrong, then at least it was looked into. I’ll see when the paper comes out.

    Also, I’m not pissed that my name isn’t on the paper. I’m annoyed that I did work I was asked to do, then that work wasn’t used and my only option was to sign onto work that I had no knowledge of.

    Whatever. Tomorrow at 11am I’ll be done with medical school.

  6. 6
    unbalanced reaction:

    I think it’s bullshit! Good for you for turning them down, and I really hope they fixed the problems before submission….

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