I’m currently a visiting research student at a university in another country for a year as I finish my PhD project. My host supervisor/contact here has been very attentive in terms of writing administrative letters so that I can be affiliated with the university and have permission to access the library, use a shared office space, etc., and has even included me in her monthly catch-up meetings with her official advisees. However, besides briefly meeting with her individually every 2 or 3 months or so to provide a recap of what I’m doing, she’s largely uninvolved in my research which is at best tangentially related to her field. My research funding also comes from an outside source.

The problem starts here: I recently told her that I published an article alone. This solo article was based on work that I had discussed once in a meeting and which is a major part of my dissertation. She’s now become distant and has stated that she will provisionally renew my university affiliation only after I write a report which shows that I can provide more products/deliverables this semester.

(In addition to doing my independent field work for my diss, which requires a lot of traveling, during the time that I’ve been here I have presented two papers at two separate conferences, with the latter paper undergoing preparation for a peer-reviewed journal. I have listed her as a second author on all of these – she read them and provided some brief comments.)

I have operated on the understanding that it is often expected of the student to publish at least one paper without her advisor. (And this person is not really my advisor.) This is supposed to help differentiate between the advisor’s work and what the PhD student has done on her own. Furthermore, this is the general philosophy of my home university.

I ultimately believe there might be a misunderstanding taking place – PhD students here tend to publish with their advisors, and she might be holding me to the same standards, even when I fall into a different category. But I’m admittedly a bit annoyed for her insinuating that I’m unproductive, when I’m not. We also continue to do these side projects where I do 99% of the work, which seem to make our relationship worthwhile and at little cost from her end.

I’m currently a visiting research student at a university in another country for a year as I finish my PhD project. My host supervisor/contact here has been very attentive in terms of writing administrative letters so that I can be affiliated with the university and have permission to access the library, use a shared office space, etc., and has even included me in her monthly catch-up meetings with her official advisees. However, besides briefly meeting with her individually every 2 or 3 months or so to provide a recap of what I’m doing, she’s largely uninvolved in my research which is at best tangentially related to her field. My research funding also comes from an outside source.

The problem starts here: I recently told her that I published an article alone. This solo article was based on work that I had discussed once in a meeting and which is a major part of my dissertation. She’s now become distant and has stated that she will provisionally renew my university affiliation only after I write a report which shows that I can provide more products/deliverables this semester.

(In addition to doing my independent field work for my diss, which requires a lot of traveling, during the time that I’ve been here I have presented two papers at two separate conferences, with the latter paper undergoing preparation for a peer-reviewed journal. I have listed her as a second author on all of these – she read them and provided some brief comments.)

I have operated on the understanding that it is often expected of the student to publish at least one paper without her advisor. (And this person is not really my advisor.) This is supposed to help differentiate between the advisor’s work and what the PhD student has done on her own. Furthermore, this is the general philosophy of my home university.

I ultimately believe there might be a misunderstanding taking place – PhD students here tend to publish with their advisors, and she might be holding me to the same standards, even when I fall into a different category. But I’m admittedly a bit annoyed for her insinuating that I’m unproductive, when I’m not. We also continue to do these side projects where I do 99% of the work, which seem to make our relationship worthwhile and at little cost from her end.

Say I am person A who has built up some degree of expertise in mathematical topic X. Person B works on mathematical topic Y and realizes she needs a result from topic X. She asks me if I know how to prove this result. I work for a bit and prove this result, which person B works into their paper.

Now, I’m confident about my work on topic X, and am confident that person B is not manhandling its use for topic Y – i.e., they’re very clear about the assumptions my result uses and what it implies. However, my knowledge of topic Y is not very deep, and it would take a significant amount of time for me to comfortably grasp exactly how the paper’s use of topic Y works.

Is it then dishonest to proceed as an author? Is it expected that every author knows every aspect of the paper?

Thanks.

I am physicist, I do research in theoretical biophysics, and I just got a permanent position. I am still collaborating with my former postdoc advisor, with whom I already published, and we are about to submit a new paper.

When I was a postdoc, the best thing for my CV was to be first author. It is not entirely clear to me what would be the best thing now for my CV. Should I aim at being last author, corresponding author, or still first author?

I have asked this question to people working in different scientific areas, and got very different answers.

I am physicist, I do research in theoretical biophysics, and I just got a permanent position. I am still collaborating with my former postdoc advisor, with whom I already published, and we are about to submit a new paper.

When I was a postdoc, the best thing for my CV was to be first author. It is not entirely clear to me what would be the best thing now for my CV. Should I aim at being last author, corresponding author, or still first author?

I have asked this question to people working in different scientific areas, and got very different answers.

Thank you for your help!

About a year ago, a foreign researcher invited me to co-author a review paper with him. He had already a 50 page long draft that needed editing and improving. After I was done with it (literature review, re-writing big parts of the text, adding big parts of the text, enlarging the bibliography) the paper was 70 pages long; submitted, accepted, in press. So far so good.

A few months later, he invited me to co-author a follow-up review, to which I happily agreed. This time his draft was of a poorer quality, so in fact I re-wrote it from scratch, using the first version as a skeleton or table of contents.

After I finished and sent him the paper, he stopped responding to my e-mails since several weeks (I don’t know him personally). I fear he might want to submit the paper without including me as co-author (it’s a justified fear, but I’ll refrain from describing the details of our collaboration).

What can I do if this will indeed happen? In its current form, the paper is partially my intelectual property, and I don’t allow to publish it without me. I have all the source files and e-mails regarding this work. Could I write to the publisher explaining the situation and demand to withdraw the paper?

As a undergraduate, I wrote a paper with a professor in the physics department. He has uploaded the paper to arXiv and he forwarded me the email he (automatically) received upon submitting the article. Part of it states:

A paper password will be emailed to you when the article is announced.
You should share this with co-authors to allow them to claim ownership.

Does this mean, even as an undergraduate, I should create an acccount on arXiv (not sure if possible) and claim co-ownership of the article?

I graduated last year and is now a postdoc in another university. My current boss (who was also in my PhD supervision team, but not the main supervisor) encouraged me to publish parts of my thesis as a journal paper. I wrote the paper during working hours and my current boss gave me guidance and advice. My plan was to include others who were in the supervision team as co-authors and have my current boss as the corresponding author. However, my main supervisor was pissed off when he learnt about it. He said he should be the corresponding authors for all the papers from my thesis. Is what he said correct? Is it a must? Actually the main supervisor gave me minimal support during my study and I don’t think he deserves to be the corresponding author. The funding for my study was provided by the government.

I graduated last year and is now a postdoc in another university. My current boss (who was also in my PhD supervision team, but not the main supervisor) encouraged me to publish parts of my thesis as a journal paper. I wrote the paper during working hours and my current boss gave me guidance and advice. My plan was to include others who were in the supervision team as co-authors and have my current boss as the corresponding author. However, my main supervisor was pissed off when he learnt about it. He said he should be the corresponding authors for all the papers from my thesis. Is what he said correct? Is it a must? Actually the main supervisor gave me minimal support during my study and I don’t think he deserves to be the corresponding author. The funding for my study was provided by the government.

A, B — my current bosses. X — my ex-boss.

A — I’ve spent a semester on sabbatical at the institution of X. Here is some data I produce. You have to write 2 papers.

Me (after 3 month, working completely independent; I am on the stage of the scientific career that does not need any supervision) — Here is your paper (it will be probably submitted to a top journal).

B — Very good, only 2 corrections. Add this to the acknowledgements and X to the authors list.

MeX contributed nothing to the work. Besides, (s)he has already taken advantage of my dfg project and made everything possible that (s)he becomes the formal supervisor of the phd student funded by my project (see this post). Why should I add (her)him?

B — I need a paper with (her)him so that (s)he writes me a reference letter, don’t you know I am looking for a prof. position.

A — You have to add X to the list of authors, haven’t I told you that I spent a semester there. Besides, it is good for B‘s career.

With uneasy mind I have done what I am told to do. My health is more precious to me… However, I am recurrently coming back to this issue. Have I done everything right?