Some days I really don’t know what else to call it.
So, this is not a hypothetical. This actually happened to me.
Submit a paper to [insert journal name here]. Paper is sent out for review. I get reviews back and it takes a while to get them done, because the work was done under a non-disclosure agreement, and some of the changes the reviewers wanted caused conflict with the people who funded the project. A compromise was eventually reached with the funding people, and the revisions were submitted to the journal.
In the interim, the editor of the journal writes a paper on the exact same topic, submits it to the journal they’re editor of, and has it accepted. While I’m still working on the reviews. I can see the official submission and acceptance dates on their article. The editor obviously knew I’d already submitted a paper on the topic, because they’re the one who saw mine and sent it out for review in the first place. When I send my revisions back in, I get an email from the editor telling me that someone’s scooped me and they will no longer be able to publish my manuscript as original research, because it’s no longer original. Because the editor was the one who deliberately screwed me over.
And you know what’s even worse? The person who did this to me? They’re a colleague.
Why the hell do I even bother?