How can I cite a book chapter I wrote, but was betrayed over?
September 15, 2012 5:51 PM   Subscribe

In getting ready to update my CV for a big deal application, I just learned (via the table of contents view on Amazon) that I was dropped as the co-author on a book chapter that I wrote for a professor. What is the best way to put this on my CV, now that I know "in press" is replaced by "so long sucker"? And as a junior person in academia, how do I keep this from happening again?

Extra info: I have changed fields significantly, so pushing this as an issue with Prof. X will not help me and is something I'm not interested in. Also, I had filled out papers with the publisher early on, and had moved departments in the institution, so I suspect when it came time to sign the final papers he was either too lazy to coordinate it to keep me, or he had always planned to drop me and did so.

BTW, I think the chapter wasn't that great (since I wrote it), and don't terribly mind not having my name on it. I just don't want to put that much work into something again and lose out on the credit.
posted by artdesk to Education (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What is the best way to put this on my CV, now that I know "in press" is replaced by "so long sucker"?

You should remove it from your CV. There's no good place on a CV for chapters you claim to have written but are not acknowledged as such by the other authors or publishers. If you want it on your CV, you will have to fight for the record to be corrected.
posted by grouse at 5:58 PM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

IAAP, although I am probably not in your field. If you were to submit a CV with this on it, and no supporting documentation, I'd be giving your application some considerable side-eye. (Also: offhand, I can't think of any field in which it's considered acceptable to submit somebody else's work as your own.) From a job-related POV, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with the publisher--what exactly did your prof tell them? Presumably, you didn't just magically disappear. In any event, as grouse says, unless you kick up a fuss and reclaim your work, you need to send the article down the memory hole.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:16 PM on September 15, 2012

If you've changed fields significantly, it can't hurt to contact Prof. X and ask, WTF? (slightly more politely, perhaps). If X doesn't have much influence in your new field, then his wrath (should he be wrathful) isn't likely to hurt you, and perhaps it's a genuine mistake on someone's part.

I presume the book has been published, since there's an Amazon TOC, but if it's forthcoming and the TOC is based on proofs, there's some chance that it could be corrected. If it has been printed but not released, an erratum slip could be included. (If it's a typical academic publication, the print run will be small enough that adding a slip wouldn't cost very much.)

Until it's resolved, though, I agree with grouse that it shouldn't be listed on your CV. If you do eventually get credit, you can always send a follow-up, and imply that you hadn't listed it as forthcoming because you wished to be modest.

And as thomas j wise points out, if you really did write the chapter yourself, and it appeared, in substantially the same form, under Prof. X's name, without you as a co-author, that would seem to be a serious breach of professional ethics. One of the professors in my graduate department was seriously disciplined, though not dismissed, for publishing a grad student's book review under his own name. You could approach the university ombudsperson regarding this unprofessional behavior, if you have an ombuds office that can actually keep things confidential. If what you provided was more like a report, which was heavily reworked before it appeared in print, the case would be less clear-cut, though you should in that case expect, at the very least, acknowledgement of your assistance with the research.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:23 PM on September 15, 2012 [9 favorites]

Delete reference from CV, write to professor X and ask that your name be reinstated. If reinstated, re-add reference in CV.
posted by zippy at 6:27 PM on September 15, 2012 [8 favorites]

Zippy has it.
posted by k8t at 6:55 PM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Assisted XY with 'Chapter About Important Thing' in Book About Important Thing" if XY is one of your references and will say that in their letter about you.

Also, XY is being a spectacular jerkweed.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:07 PM on September 15, 2012 [5 favorites]

I had a lot of "assisted so-and-so" on my CV when how I had "assisted" so-and-so was by writing the damn thing for them. Ask me again why I left academia!
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:08 PM on September 15, 2012 [7 favorites]

You can also contact the publisher, say that your work is being published without your name on it. They will contact the professor and say, WTF?

After all the recent plagiarism stories, no one wants to be publishing a book that someone else says he wrote.

If you do not have a contract with a professor, they don't actually have the right to publish your material. You own the copyright.

I bet your name is restored pretty fast. This could seriously damage your professor's career, and rightfully so. And since you're not in the field any more, the blowback to you will be minimized. Don't put up with this.
posted by musofire at 7:23 PM on September 15, 2012 [4 favorites]

Is it possible that you are listed as co-author of the chapter elsewhere in the book and just not in the table of contents? Perhaps you should find a copy of the book somewhere (bookstore, library, etc...) and look through it yourself to make sure of this before following any of the excellent advice provided above.
posted by echo0720 at 7:59 PM on September 15, 2012 [13 favorites]

Yes, remove it from your CV. Don't bother contacting the asshat professor X. Instead contact the publisher directly and politely ask why the chapter you wrote in consultation with professor X and agreed to have him listed as a co-authot on is being listed with his name only. They will freak out. If they don't freak out, get a lawyer to send them a letter.

You may not care too much about this particular instance but, for everyone's sake, you should take it seriously.

Then, after they have corrected the record, giving you credit for the chapter, relist it on your CV>
posted by 256 at 11:19 AM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks to everyone for your answers. I appreciate the practical advice and moral support.

It's off the CV. I am going to write the publisher and request to see the final version of the chapter and make sure I was not listed on the inside. If it wasn't substantially altered after the version I sent him, I am going to push the issue via the publisher.
posted by artdesk at 7:26 PM on September 16, 2012

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