THE FIRST PUBLICATION
You are a young faculty member at an institution that values publication as part of the tenure process. For the past two years, you have been working hard at placing your dissertation research in a major academic journal. You have just received the third set of reviewer’s comments and a conditional acceptance from the editor. Specifically, the editor wants you to reduce a 25-page manuscript to 20 pages. In fact, specific cuts have been suggested to get your manuscript down to the suggested size.
The topic of your research is a timely practice-oriented question. While you believe that your research design is effective and the conclusions drawn are supported by the findings, you also believe that certain caveats are important to an appropriate interpretation of the results. To develop these caveats appropriately requires about five pages of manuscript. This is the section of the manuscript which the editor has suggested you eliminate.
It is not only that you think that the caveats are necessary, but you have made certain commitments. Your research was supported by several major accounting firms. In your research proposal you laid out the scope of the research and your plan and specified that any publication would necessarily include a series of caveats to insure that the interpretation was sound. Indeed, you have provided copies of your manuscript with the caveats to the supporting firms and have an understanding that such reports will be the basis for subsequent publications.
You have reviewed the paper carefully to find other places where the manuscript might be shortened, but to no avail. The paper has already been “cut to the bone” and the only place left for reduction is the five pages tied to the caveat. An exchange of letters with the editor proves unfruitful. You indicated that altering or eliminating the caveats would weaken the paper. The editor has responded that although she understands your perspective, journal space is valuable and that the caveats will be recognized without elaboration in the text. The editor has returned an edited version with the caveats removed. It is clear to you that the paper will only be published in the shortened version.
You have worked out a carefully developed research plan with your department chair. Although supportive and helpful, the chair has also made it clear that a favorable tenure decision will be dependent on fulfilling your research plan. If this paper is not published, you will have a major gap in your publications profile.
What are the ethical issues?
What should you do?
Originally posted 2017-11-07 01:07:54.