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A senior coauthor on a manuscript took several weeks to do her portion of the edits for publication, and has made 100+ comments for me to address in 48 hours. I could have done it if I had received it when we agreed, but now I am in the middle of a time-sensitive project. Plus, some of the requests are unreasonable or unnecessary.

Possible Responses

  • Respond to the coauthor, saying, “Because the revisions came after the time we agreed upon, I don’t have time now to make them on short notice. How shall we proceed from here?”
  • Or “I could have made the changes if I had received this on the original timeline, but now I am on deadline for another project. How would you like me to handle this?”
  • Make the edits, but then schedule a time to talk with the coauthor about mutual expectations going forward, or be careful about accepting future writing partnerships with this person.
  • Allot a specific amount of time before the deadline, make the ones that are most important, and let the coauthor know how you handled it and why.
  • Were there previous emails with the original deadline in them? Can you forward one to the coauthor? Acknowledge, “I know we are both extremely busy and our original timeline was ambitious. I will be able to spend __ hours on the edits. How would you like me to prioritize them?”