Q: What are the typical reasons for removing or replacing the corresponding author?

Detailed Question -

On revising the article the second time, my supervisor had asked me to delete the name of the corresponding author. No reason was given. Also, the corresponding author was not from my university. However, the reviewer [editor] did not say anything then. After acceptance though, the publisher/editor came to know of this and asked me to explain the reason for removing the corresponding author. What should I do? How should I respond?

1 Answer to this question

Firstly, congrats on the acceptance, especially if you were closely involved in the development of the research and the manuscript!

Coming to your query, while it is not recommended that the corresponding author be changed during the review process (because a certain rapport has developed by then), at times, it may be necessary. The corresponding author may have left the university/institute or may no longer be associated with the project, for a variety of reasons. It’s not clear why the corresponding author’s name needed to be removed in this case, and from what you have mentioned, this information has not been (and perhaps also will not be) provided.

You could simply say that the corresponding author is no longer associated with the project or institute, as the case may be. The editor is unlikely to probe further. At times, they may need the outgoing corresponding author to send a handover/transition mail so that all are aware of the change, but that is not possible in this situation. So, again, they should be fine with the reasoning you have provided, and should make the change.

For more insights into scenarios such as these, you may find it helpful to go through these previous queries by other researchers:

Hope that helps. All the best for taking the manuscript toward publication!