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narain 05-18-2017 10:28 AM

Nature: Authorship Misrepresentation
Dear All

I was working in 'Genome of The Netherlands' GoNL where I served as a Bioinformatics researcher for a year. There were 2 Nature publications among many others that were published in the project, but without my name anywhere in the paper, despite the fact that my ideas and their implementation were very clearly present in the papers. I tried to write to the editors of the journals but did not get back any response. What can be done ? Does anyone have the phone call numbers to the editors whom I can communicate directly ? I am based at Washington D.C. area working as a Bioinformatics faculty.

Here are the two papers:

Hehir-Kwa, J. Y. et al. A high-quality human reference panel reveals the complexity and distribution of genomic structural variants. Nat. Commun. 7, 12989 doi: 10.1038/ncomms12989 (2016). link:

Laurent C Francioli et al. Whole-genome sequence variation, population structure and demographic history of the Dutch population. Nature Genetics 46, 818–825 (2014) doi:10.1038/ng.3021. link:


HESmith 05-18-2017 02:35 PM

IIRC, your previous posts about this topic were deleted as inappropriate to the forum (and that hasn't changed).

narain 05-18-2017 03:10 PM

The posts are very much relevant to this forum as it generates awareness among the bioinformaticists about the existing malpractices in the industry. I contribute to technical threads too. Do you have suggestion what can be done when you are not acknowledged for your work in the paper for a project in which you were deeply engaged ?

r.rosati 05-18-2017 04:51 PM

You might find some traction for your question on , it's a pretty nice subreddit. Not everybody will agree with you, but that's just average.

Bukowski 05-19-2017 03:29 AM

How's your lawsuit going?

Question is rhetorical. I've met far more people who allege malpractice of this type in the industry, than seen malpractice of this type in the industry...

fanli 05-19-2017 11:55 AM

Seems to me this is something you should have taken up with your collaborators.

I would hesitate to call this malpractice, as the word has strong implications particularly in the medical field.

narain 05-19-2017 01:04 PM

1 Attachment(s)
@Bukowski: Lawsuit works well much in US than in The Netherlands or UK, where the court openly admits that they will not act against the University, as they are pretty powerful. No wonder, even all emerging genuine scientists and workers want to move out of these countries, given the strange pro-employer laws. :mad: And so I would like to bring this matter up at Nature HQ USA.

@Fanli: I did tell my collaborators several times and they assured authorship as you will see in this attachment where they clearly list me at number 15 for authorship, to ensure I give them ideas and results. Alas, they took my ideas and results and published it without my name, once my contract with them was over. See the list of authors as attachment. I also have minutes of meetings with me where my contributions are clearly stated.

Does anyone has phone number of Nature Editor to reach out ?

fanli 05-19-2017 02:53 PM

Have you tried contacting a university ombudsman or someone similarly involved in research ethics? They may side with your collaborators, given that they represent the university but it may be worthwhile anyways. I don't really see a path for the journal editors to intervene.

You can also try the Academia SE site for advice.

narain 05-19-2017 04:29 PM

If you know someone, then please do let me know. In my opinion they are not that powerful in their position.


gringer 05-19-2017 08:55 PM

I've found as a contractor that its better to be surprised/pleased when my name is added to a paper, than annoyed when it's excluded. I do enough different projects that it's not worth the effort (or reputation hit) to fight for authorship, or fighting to exclude people who only had a supervisory role.

narain 05-20-2017 04:33 AM

Bioinformatics work is I am sorry to say not plain IT work as it involves being creative in solving research problems and thus I make sure that authorship aspect is discussed well before I sign the Post Doctoral contract. That is why I provided the attachment which clearly stated authors. So PostDocs should not care for authorships ?? In my knowledge all PostDocs sign for just 1 or 2 year contract and don't have a permanent position . You are encouraging established scientist to invite junior scientist on contract then let them go with all their ideas published without their name.

gringer 05-20-2017 01:01 PM

Sorry, I am in a very strange work situation as a freelance bioinformatician. It sounded like your arrangement was similar to my own, because you mentioned your contract being "over". The majority of my own contracts are simply me doing stuff in return for payment for the work I've done. Ideas are cheap, and there are plenty of ways to share ideas outside of getting a peer-reviewed publication.

A post-doctoral research contract is obviously different, because there is an expectation of research collaboration at the outset (and usually a known project / output).

narain 05-21-2017 03:53 PM

No worries, at least it clarified the complete case via my reply. Here are the complete details of the 2 papers I mentioned above:

Francioli LC, Cretu-Stancu M, Garimella KV, Fromer M, Kloosterman WP, Samocha KE, Neale BM, Daly MJ, Banks E, DePristo MA, de Bakker PI. A framework for the detection of de novo mutations in family-based sequencing data. Eur J Hum Genet. 2017 Feb; 25(2):227-233. PMID: 27876817.

Hehir-Kwa JY, Marschall T, Kloosterman WP, Francioli LC, Baaijens JA, Dijkstra LJ, Abdellaoui A, Koval V, Thung DT, Wardenaar R, Renkens I, Coe BP, Deelen P, de Ligt J, Lameijer EW, van Dijk F, Hormozdiari F, Uitterlinden AG, van Duijn CM, Eichler EE, de Bakker PI, Swertz MA, Wijmenga C, van Ommen GB, Slagboom PE, Boomsma DI, Schönhuth A, Ye K, Guryev V. A high-quality human reference panel reveals the complexity and distribution of genomic structural variants. Nat Commun. 2016 Oct 06; 7:12989. PMID: 27708267.

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