I am a Phd candidate. I’m writing a journal paper that is, in part, a review of the current regulatory landscape use of a particular technology.

Sarah is involved with an unconnected voluntary project which has been funded by a charity to use the technology, with a condition that the learning from the project is shared publicly. Sarah’s correspondence with the regulator is very relevant to the paper I am writing, as they are charting new territory, but she is reluctant to share information as she is starting a consultancy business on the back of her experience with the project.

I think this information should be in the public realm (as did the charity who funded the project), so I want to find a pragmatic approach to getting it out there. Also, although the information would only make a small part of the content, my paper would be incomplete without it.

In other circumstances I would interview her for the information and acknowledge her contribution to the paper; there are others whose experiences I have written about in a simialar way and acknowledged in this way.

But in this case, I am considering offering Sarah a co-authorship on the paper in exchange for the information. I would be the lead author; Sarah would be added after my supervisors.

Is this an ethical / appropriate use of co-authorship? Sarah’s contribution to the paper would be small, and perhaps not normally worthy of a co-authors credit, but without it the paper would be incomplete.

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