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My coauthor and I work at some organization. After I started working with him, people told me that he allegedly took some data (used in the paper) from the organization without authorization (He was let go from the organization.)

I received a letter from the organization stating that he indeed took the data without authorization. He explained that if I finished the paper he will send the paper to the organization for clearance. I asked him to show me the document, but he only replied: “I am in good relation with that organization.” So, I gave him benefits of doubts and I did all the work, including every calculation.

While he had been claiming that “the data breach is a rumor”, I confronted him over the phone and he finally admitted that the data breach is a fact. I myself have acquired clearance with the organization regarding the data breach since then. However, he refuses to withdraw from the paper.

As for the paper, I have proved every single result, every single calculation, and every single sentence of the paper. He did not do anything. I asked him and he cannot define a very basic term used in the paper. He said: “But it is not honest to ask me to remove my name only by simple assumption like the one you raised.”

I would think of proceeding as

  1. ask the coauthor to provide me the formal paperwork on this issue,
  2. if the coauthor fails to provide me these documents then I would need to drop him from the paper.

Do you think it make sense? Are there any other procedures that I need to follow?

1 Answer 1

I have proved every single result, every single calculation, and every single sentence of the paper. He did not do anything.

There are different criteria for determining authorship, but at least you must do one of the following:

  • Provide funding OR
  • Provide or gather data OR
  • Participate in the analysis OR
  • Preparation of the manuscript

It seems your co-author, regardless of his lack of action regarding the data breach, hasn't done any of this, so he wouldn't qualify for authorship even under the most generous criteria.