Passive aggressive acknowledgements

Jan 03 2013 Published by under [Education&Careers], [Et Al]

If you've been following along on twitter today, you might be aware that I am dealing with a manuscript I was hoping to submit today. Unfortunately, the reference section is a complete disaster and the author is not... reachable.

After going through the whole thing I have 14 refs not in the text, 11 refs in text but not in ref list; 7 different ref formats, all of which are wrong. This would be simple to deal with if the author in question used EndNote and sent me their library, but then I wouldn't be writing this.

The situation prompted me to tweet that I am about ready to give someone authorship (co-8th, of course) for cleaning up the mess left by the first author. To my surprise, several responded that would do it just for mention in the acknowledgements.

With my love of passive aggressive notes, I immediately that about the potential hilarity of passive aggressive acknowledgements! Something to the tune of "We thank Dr. Weinberg for cleaning up the fucking mess left by the 1st author". I know of several thesis examples, but does anyone have any published examples? How about any venting acknowledgements of your own?

10 responses so far

  • Not really germane, but the funniest acknowledgement I ever read was one in a theory paper where the author thanked NSF for not renewing his grant, so he would have time to devote to building the model in the paper (I believe it was published in Am. Nat. years ago)

  • proflikesubstance says:

    No, I think that is exactly what I'm thinking of.

  • Patchi says:

    I remember a paper we discussed in journal years ago that had a crazy figure where the same samples were loaded on different gels in different orders. The panel labeling got in the way because nothing lined up. The figure was a mess and the acknowledgements thanked person X for making that specific figure. Person X was not on the author list.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The authors would like to acknowledge Gun, Sparrow and Went for publishing their 2007 disaster of a paper which motivated us to complete this work.

  • becca says:

    "We'd like to thank RotationStudent for actually making our cell line, but since we didn't want her in the lab we won't"

  • Isis the Scientist says:

    Don't you have administrative help for such bullshittery?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Don't you have administrative help for such bullshittery?

    Hhahahahahahahahahhaha. You're not in a med school anymore, Dorthy.

  • Isis the Scientist says:

    Hahaha!! Clearly not!

    This author would like to thank her copious administrative help who help sort through her data and format her shnizz.

  • When I publish or present in public, I have to have a note saying that it's the opinion of the author and doesn't necessarily reflect that of the US Air Force, DoD, or the US Government. A few years ago the public affairs folks made the determination that I (and the rest of the AFIT faculty) had to include that disclaimer on our course material as well. In frustration, my next public presentation included the standard disclaimer followed by a second sentence: On second thought, it might not be the opinion of the author, either.

  • Algae Girl says:

    If the authors of this paper follow this blog, then I mean no offence, but it is a pretty snarky acknowledgement, and I'm sharing it for the sole purpose that it fits the topic:

    "We thank...[many people], [and] Jon Frum for inspiration in writing this paper."

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