Nader Fergani, lead author of the annual Arab Human Development Report, says Washington has threatened to cut its contribution to the UN development programme (UNDP), angered by sections that criticise the American occupation of Iraq and Israel's practices against the Palestinians.
"Our team has been appreciative of the support of the UNDP," said Mr Fergani. "But the agency has been under pressure to suffer major cuts in its programme. It is a decision that no responsible administrator could take."
He said the independent Arab scholars who drafted the report would meet in Beirut next week to discuss publishing it under their own names.
The US State Department has denied bringing any pressure to bear on the UNDP, and the agency itself says reports of US threats to cut funding were "inaccurate".
However, in a sign it has been finding the controversy aroused by the report hard to handle, the agency said it wanted to support the establishment of an independent centre in the Middle East that "could become the institutional home of an editorially independent" annual report on human development in the region.
"The difficult political climate in the region makes our principal motive - finding common ground around reform - difficult," the UNDP said.
The UNDP also said some governments had raised concerns about the contents of the report, but it did not name them. Egypt is understood to have complained about the study's assessment of political freedoms in the country.
The report is the third in a series which began in 2002 with a much-acclaimed study that cited the absence of political freedoms, the curtailment of women's rights and the lack of access to knowledge as the principal causes of lagging human development in the Arab world.
That was hailed as a courageous attempt by Arab scholars to diagnose the real ills of their societies.
Many western officials, including George W. Bush, the US president, quoted that report in support of attempts to launch reform initiatives in the region.