Who should be the corresponding author, me or my supervisor?

Who should be the corresponding author, me or my supervisor?

Yufita Chinta
Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

I know, there are couples of description about who is the corresponding author. But I am still frustrated with my situation.

My supervisor is a senior man (in age). Recently, I found difficulties to communicate with him, since he forgets a lot. My manuscripts are talking about soil microbiology, which is not his field. He has never red my manuscripts neither commented on them. He always says, "I am sorry, I don't understand the contents. Go and get advices from your co-supervisor who is a microbiologist". Well, I am okay (and not okay) about that.

In my understanding, a corresponding author will be responsible for corresponding with readers after publication. More, my publications will be non-open access articles, meaning that double questions will come I guess (well, if the articles are interesting for sure). To be honest, I can't believe my supervisor will handle the responsibility. He can pass all correspondences to me, actually. Unfortunately, he is not easy-sharing person. He always wants to show that he's responsible on everything. What should I do? pray....I pray he'll give up from the beginning and just pass the emails to me. Still, I am not sure about that.

Also, I notice big benefits on becoming a corresponding author from my colleagues who are the corresponding authors for their publications. They are invited as speakers in good conferences and reviewers in credible journals. They are spotted in their fields, so that they can connect with other scientists in the world smoothly. From their sharing, I see great futures. Looking at myself, I see no future there.

I've tried to discuss about this to him. He seems can not receive my explanation. It is because he has to follow the funding rules, he says. The rules mention that the funding usage is valid when the head of project is the corresponding author. What I can do? certainly follow the rules.

At the end of our each meeting, this is what he always says, "the publications are for your future". Tell you frankly, tons of frustration hit my shoulder. How it will be, if I am standing in the limitations he creates for me?

I, of course, don't give up there. I search how to make two people as corresponding authors. Unfortunately, journals allow only one person assigned to be the corresponding author. Or maybe I don't know how to make it.

Maybe my understanding about the power of corresponding author and regulation to become one is wrong or incomplete...please share your opinions and experiences. Thanks in advance, guys.

Comments

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 81 ✭✭✭
    edited April 7

    @Yufita Chinta This is a really common, nevertheless difficult issue many of us face.

    Corresponding author handles correspondence with the journal (from chief editors...to proof readers and handling editors) , reviewers (writing rebuttals), and later on with readers as may be necessary. He/she usually "leads" the project, is the idea source, has managed the project from getting funding, managing funding, devising experiments broadly and actually supervising PhD students and postdocs.

    There are many gray areas and unsaid rules about who gets to be the corresponding author.

    In your case, I don't know...it is a gray area. But it seems like you did most of the idea/project coining. Who's funding did you do your research with?

    Details apart... In any case, if your supervisor is not so receptive, it is not safe to fight...or go for hard confrontations, I think.

    I assume you are the first author. In this case, it is not worth fighting too much, even if it is the right thing to do.

    Invited talks or reviewer positions are not just based on being a corresponding author. It is based on networking (mostly) and sometimes based on seniority. This is a bane...many times there are cases where people who have not contributed to the actual research, don't know much about the subject but are on the paper as co authors in the middle because of internal unsaid rules (say as acknowledgment for managerial work...) are given invited talk or other such opportunities on the research subject simply based on seniority.

    However, how about negotiating a middle way with your supervisor. To become a co-corresponding author. As above, I'd suggest you to avoid hard confrontations....mainly because of power disparity. Depending on the character and power of your supervisor, this could hurt your future.

    Also, how about enlisting the help of your co-supervisor to help in your negotiations? How helpful is the co supervisor?

  • chris leonard
    chris leonard Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 31 admin

    Raj has answered most things as I would have, but one more suggestion: ask to make sure your email address is a part of the final version of the manuscript. Some journals only show corresponding author email, some show all emails, but if your email address is easy to find, you may get more networking opportunities from the paper (leading to other projects, speaking opportunities, etc.)

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    Thanks @Raj sundaram and @chris leonard for responding.

    I have the idea source. I am the first author, preparing the letter to editors, and doing manuscript submission. I work based on the funding from my supervisor. That's why I do understand that he should ne the corresponding author.

    My co-supervisor agrees that I should be the corresponding author. Then, I asked his help to clarify it with my supervisor. The decision is still 'supervisor is the corresponding author'. I am not planning to fight the supervisor. I am just frustrating when I feel that I won't get the opportunities in post-publication.

    Hey, thank you. I get clarities about the seniority power, instead of corresponding author power.

    About the co-corresponding author, is it possible even though the journal require a single corresponding author? or just make sure that my email address is in, as @chris leonard says?

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 8

    It is wrong for the Supervisor to be the corresponding author because it is not his work. He is a co-author by virtue of being your supervisor. You are the original author, and the first author of the work because it is your idea. There is noting like co-corresponding author.

    One thing at a time

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 81 ✭✭✭
    edited April 7

    @Yufita Chinta in my experience...

    A. Some journals allow for co-corresponding author on their online submission portal.

    B. When this choice is not there, I request for the option in "remarks for the editor" during submission. Some journals say ok and proceed to include both corresponding authors in all following communications (reviews from referee, decision letters, until proofs....)

    Some journals say that their system can't permit two corresponding authors during the course of peer review but addition of co corresponding author is possible during proof stage after your manuscript is accepted. So...it might help if you state this case as well in your request with the handling editor.

    C. As @chris leonard suggested...

    Some journals include email addresses of all authors by default in the published paper. Some even send all correspondences during peer review and proofs to all authors. It really depends on the journal. In addition to A/B or if A/B don't work...I think you can ask handling editors during submission or peer review up until proof stage if your email address can appear on the published paper...(not titled corresponding author)

    Basically you can buy time until the proof stage. Meanwhile, you can negotiate with your supervisor for co-corresponding author. You can coin the negotiation somewhat as "I know you are busy, and I could be of assistance to you if I am listed as co-corresponding author and reduce your burden with the hassle of responding to repeated communication from the journal".

    Or in case your email address just appears (not titled as any type of corresponding author), this negotiation may be unnecessary. Just ask the handling editors ahead...if possible, during submission and at the latest before proofs or publication of "just accepted" version.

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 81 ✭✭✭
    edited April 7

    @Omololu FAGBADEBO "There is nothing like co-corresponding author".

    fyi, I have been a co-corresponding author myself. And there are many papers out there with two or three corresponding authors. It is now a common practice. At least across physical/chemical/biological/engineering disciplines.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 8

    @Raj sundaram , really? I did't know it is a practice. Apparently I might not have been taken notice of that. This is a new knowledge for me. Thanks for this insight.

    One thing at a time

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 81 ✭✭✭

    @Omololu FAGBADEBO you are welcome...glad the info is useful.🙂

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    Thank you @Raj sundaram for clarifying. The manuscripts are still under peer-review stage, so I think I will try to communicate both with my supervisor about the co-corresponding and with journal editor about the co-corresponding/email address appearance.

    One more question: if I want my email address appears, do I have to put email addresses of all co-authors too?

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 81 ✭✭✭

    Do you HAVE to put email addresses of all co-authors? Depends on the journal. If I were you, I think I wont probe and will leave that to the journal editor to inform me. When I ask, I would just ask about myself- can my email address appear. The reason is -> privacy concerns of other authors and asking for permissions just will complicate matters unnecessarily, from my viewpoint.

    If the journal editor says that all author email addresses are to appear - then, I guess - you would need to process this...privacy concerns and necessary permissions, etc.

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    Get it, @Raj sundaram. Thanks a lot

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 24 admin
    edited April 8

    As @Raj sundaram has mentioned, some journals do have the option of having two corresponding authors. In fact, in some fields, the practice seems to be quite widespread, according to this study.

    For example, here's what the Nature website says:


    On the other hand, Elsevier clearly mentions in its author guidelines that multiple corresponding authors are not allowed.


    However, unless clearly stated on the website that co-corresponding authors are not allowed, there's no harm in writing to your target journal and asking them prior to submission. Read this case study about how clarifying this with the journal beforehand can be helpful.


  • olga A
    olga A Member Posts: 0

    Are you the person who actually goes on the website to upload the work? given all the delicate issues (in relation to your co-authors) and the pratical ones (uploading, revising, replying, sending copies and emails) it is best to have the agreement of your supervisor. talk to her/him and explain your role and how much you already do and still keep him/her updated. Demonstrate how it will be less of a burden for the supervisor. Be positive!

    I agree with what was said before, make sure to include your email in the manuscript. Orcid is often request as an additional identifier for authors and co-authors, make sure your orcid is in the paper and that you have your email contact in orcid.

    good luck!

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 22 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for responding, @olga A

    I am the one who do the practical ones, and my supervisor does the delicate issues. In my case, however, the funding requires that supervisor should be the corresponding author, because he brings the funding.

    I am communicating better with my supervisor now, based on all of these suggestions and sharing. Thanks. Be positive 😊

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