You are a company medical publication professional. The lead author of a manuscript in development was key in acquiring data for the study and actively engaged in the initial discussions that shaped the outline for the paper. However, he/she was slow to send feedback on the first draft, and the second draft has been with him/her for more than 2 months, despite exhaustive attempts to get in touch through multiple channels (via co-authors, field medical staff, etc.). Some of the other authors have contributed equally to the design of the study, and direction and revisions of the paper. Several of them have indicated that they want to remove the lead author as an author on the manuscript because of the delays. Another co-author has suggested “demoting” the lead author to another position on the byline.

What would you do?

  • Keep authorship as is and continue to follow up with the lead author until a response is received
  • Agree to demote the lead author to another position, send an email to the lead author to explain the decision, and continue to follow up until he/she responds
  • Address comments from all other authors and send the final manuscript for all author approval by a given deadline, stating firmly but politely that any authors not responding by the deadline would be removed from the manuscript
  • Remove the lead author and acknowledge his/her contributions so that the team can immediately proceed with manuscript development to make up for the delays

This poll is now closed. Poll results will be released in The MAP in late August 2019.

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