Do I rat him out?
April 29, 2012 8:28 PM Subscribe
Would it be unprofessional to tell my editor that it is my co-author's fault that our book manuscript is (once again) going to miss it's delivery deadline? Or is the right thing to do to keep telling her that "we" aren't ready?
posted by lollusc to work & money (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am a postdoc. I am co-editing a volume of collected papers together with a senior professor (let's call him Dr Disorganised). The volume is all ready to go to the publisher (typeset, proofread, refereed, revised, etc) except for two things: Dr Disorganised wants to make some more changes to his own paper, and he has not finished writing the introduction. This has now been the case for around 9 months.
Over the past year we have missed three deadlines the publisher has set for us, while waiting for Dr Disorganised to get these things done. The next (and final deadline, beyond which the contract says we will be penalised, although I don't know if that really happens in academic publishing) is 15 May. Our editor has just written to me again asking what the status of the book is. Three contributors to the book have recently emailed and asked about it too.
I cannot complete the introduction myself. The area is too far from my own field of expertise. To be honest, Dr Disorganised was being nice to let me be credited as co-editor, since I have really been doing more of the technical work on the book - proofreading, figures, communicating with the contributors - rather than the content. I do have a paper of my own in it, though, so I don't want to wash my hands of it completely.
At this point I'm pretty sure Dr Disorganised will not make the May 15 deadline. He has just injured himself badly enough to be in hospital (although is out now), so for once has a reasonable excuse. His writing is also typo-ridden to the extent that I imagine it would take me several days of work to proof-read and tidy it up so that it could be sent off, so even if he gets it to me on May 15, which is maybe barely possible, I would not be able to submit it in time.
Up until now I have been protecting him by telling the editor and contributors only that, "The manuscript is nearly complete: we are just waiting for some final changes by one of the contributors."
My question is whether it would be unprofessional at this stage to do any or all of the following:
(a) answer the editor's and/or contributors' email inquiries by telling them that it is Dr Disorganised we are waiting for, so they can stop bugging me and bug him instead
(b) send in the manuscript as is on May 15 and let him look bad for the incomplete introduction and unrevised paper.
(c) send him an email telling him I will be sending in the manuscript as is on May 15.
I have sent him numerous emails begging him to get the damn thing finished - explaining that it makes both him and me look bad, and that the contributors are concerned about the delays. I don't see what else I can do along those lines. I have offered to do anything I can to make it easier for him to get the work done. He is not in the same country as me, so I can't go to his office and stand over him while he does it, even if that weren't horrifically inappropriate.
Further important info: he used to be my supervisor, and I rely on him for letters of reference for jobs.