Friday, May 18, 2012

Naming Names

I'm normally pretty discreet about what I do, what my name is, who I work for, etc.  If I have a problem at work, you won't hear about it from me.  If I have issues with a client, it's mum on my end.  You could, if you tried hard enough, figure out all of that stuff about me, but I don't think I'm that interesting.  But every now and then an issue so egregious arises that it leaves me little choice but to name names and get Ugly.

In 2009 I started a job at the University of Maastricht, working for Dr. An Moens.  It was not a joy, but the actual trials and tribulations of working at Maastricht are neither here nor there in this story.  Dr. Moens gave me a review to edit, to add to, to write the second half of, etc.  It started as a 10-page paper.  By the time I left Maastricht, it had become this burgeoning, 26-page, 11,000+ word monster.  

When I left Maastricht, the paper had not yet been published, but that didn't surprise me:  Most journals have a 3-6000 word limit on their reviews. I assumed that it would be worked on, whittled down, and made suitable for publication in its own good time, as these things are.  I knew (and expected) that my name would be bumped down the author list, if that many changes were made to it.  

What I did not expect was that my name would be dropped from the author list, entirely.  The Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology lists Octavia Y., Tochetti C.G., Gabrielson K.L., Janssens S., Crijns H.J., Moens A.L. as authors.  I was a bit shocked, a bit lived--okay, extremely livid--so I wrote an email to the editor in chief at JMCC and asked him what the hell was going on.

The EIC at JMCC was kind enough to send me the PDF of the review.  I compared the published version of the review to my last version, which I'd saved to my gmail account.  Lo and behold:  they're almost the same.  Shorter by spades, of course, but almost the same, otherwise.  I told the EIC I wanted authorship.  He said he'd have to see what An Moens had to say for herself.

Well, An decided to address me:  and she said, basically, that I didn't do any of the work involved in writing the review.  Um, hello?  I ONLY FRICKIN' WROTE MOST OF IT!  Even a child could see that the published version and the 11,000 word monster are almost the same.  All of my turns-of-phrase are there, all of the studies I cited, all of the weird mechanisms I found.  If anybody wants to do a comparison between my last version of the review and published one, I'd be delighted to send you my last version.  I'd have done a side-by-side split screen of the two, but it's so long and so much of it is identical to my last version that, frankly, you'd never see the end of this blog.  She also claims to have discussed this with all of the other co-authors, which I very much doubt--if she had, I'm sure that most of them wouldn't have agreed to this forgery.

Again, I don't like being this public about what I do and who I work(ed) for, but I can't let this stand.  If she'd modified it more, if she'd added a whole new section, wrote parts anew, I might not have minded.  But this is such a blatant act of plagarism that I simply will not be silenced about this.  It is so wrong on so many levels I have to rewire my brain to comprehend how wrong it is.

Yes, I am out for justice.  And by God, I will have it.  

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