Q: Is it ethical for a reviewer to recommend adding a co-author to a manuscript?

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Question description: Upon being reviewed by an Elsevier journal, the manuscript received the following comments:

  • The first reviewer has recommended acceptance after moderate revisions.
  • The second reviewer has recommended that the manuscript be rejected in its current state. The reviewer further recommended that the manuscript be thoroughly revised with the help of a geochemist and geochronologist and that they should be added as co-authors to the manuscript.
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Answer:

This is indeed an interesting recommendation by the reviewer. Adding the geochemist and geochronologist as co-authors would mean that they would be providing considerable input in terms of core contents and perhaps contributing to major revisions. This will completely depend on the type of input you expect them to contribute towards revising your manuscript. ICMJE guidelines clearly provide a recommendation of who should be in the author list. I recommend that you review the ICMJE guidelines and the links below to understand who should be included as an author on a manuscript and then decide whether such a person would be eligible to become a co-author on your manuscript.

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