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?