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Astronomy preprint withdrawn over a co-author’s inclusion

An astronomy preprint’s lead author withdrew the paper and is removing one of the co-authors: Geoff Marcy, who resigned his professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015 after the institution concluded he repeatedly violated sexual harassment policies.  

Science reported Tuesday that “outrage erupted on Twitter and multiple co-authors requested their names be removed” after arXiv (pronounced “archive”) published the preprint March 31. Preprints are generally research papers that haven’t yet undergone peer review.

Marcy is currently listed as the third of 16 authors of the preprint, “The Kepler Giant Planet Search. I: A Decade of Kepler Planet Host Radial Velocities from W. M. Keck Observatory.”

“Since withdrawing the paper, I have been in productive conversations with collaborators on the project as well as colleagues in the field and am in the midst of implementing next steps,” Lauren M. Weiss, the preprint’s lead author, wrote in an email Wednesday to Inside Higher Ed.

Weiss, who’s also an assistant professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, wrote that “Dr. Marcy will not be a co-author on the paper, but his substantial early contributions to the project will be clarified in the acknowledgments. I also am revisiting the author list with the intention of extending authorship invitations more broadly.”

Marcy wrote in an email, “I retired eight years ago, and don’t interact with anyone in that group. I live quietly and peacefully with my wife with whom I’ve been married 29 years.”

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