What if the corresponding (or complained-about) author accepts the position of the complainant?
Then publication of a correction, corrigendum or retraction procedures are the normal remedies. There may still be disagreement concerning the appropriate classification of the complainant’s contribution to the paper or how the complainant is identified.
What if the corresponding (or complained-about) author rejects the position of the complainant?
Then the editor will have to consider whether the author’s explanation is reasonable. Normally, the editor would inform the complainant of the author’s description and seek comment (see Form letter 1).
What if the corresponding/complained-about author has not responded to the editor’s correspondence?
Then the editor may want to refer the matter to the institution or company at which the research took place (see Form letter 2).
What if the institution or company responds and indicates they will investigate and mediate the result?
Then the editor should inform the corresponding author and complainant that the journal will seriously consider the decision of the institutional review. Note, however, that the editor may still determine that the result of the institutional study is insufficient or inaccurate.
What if the institution responds negatively or does not respond?
This should be reviewed with the complainant (perhaps the complainant is better placed to make the complaint directly with the institution).
What if a funding agency is involved?
To determine this, you should review the disclosure statements or acknowledgments in the article. If so, then the editor may wish to consider contacting the agency (using Form letter 3).
What if the authors, employing institutions and funding agencies fail to reach consensus or fail to act in a reasonable time or manner?
Then the editor will be expected to decide the underlying facts in their reasonable judgment and recommend to the publisher (and possibly the society for society journals), which Golden Age staff will normally implement through a corrigendum or retraction.