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This question expands a bit on my previous one Acknowledging funding.

I am unsure how to write proper acknowledgments at the end of a research paper. The wording that I read most often is Author XY is [partially] supported by..., which does not correctly describe my situation unless one stretches the meaning of these words.

More in detail, here are the two sources with which I have trouble:

  • a foundation that used to give me a postdoc grant. I did part of the work of this paper while living off this grant, which expired six months ago, and part of it under my new employer. How should I write this? If I write is supported by, I give the impression that I am currently being paid in full by the foundation; if I write partially supported I give the impression that I just got a smaller grant.

  • a research institute that paid my travel expenses for a conference. While this funding is not directly related to the paper, I met my co-author there and had a chance to discuss its state. And, besides that, it is basically my only occasion to acknowledge this grant. How should I write this? Is partially supported the correct wording, or is there a better expression?

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It seems to be fairly common to phrase it "... was supported in part by ..." instead of "... was partially supported by ..." I think the former version is better, as it puts less emphasis on "in part". –  Jukka Suomela Feb 9 '13 at 20:40
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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

If I write is supported by, I give the impression that I am currently being paid

"Work by this author was partially supported by the Hitchcock Institute and by the Norman and Norma Bates Foundation."

if I write partially supported I give the impression that I just got a smaller grant

Nonsense. Unless the institute was your sole source of income and equipment during the entire research and writing process, "partially supported" is correct. Also, it's standard idiomatic language; nobody will think twice about it.

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However, if you use 'supported in part', you get the extra benefit of sounding like an NPR radio spot. –  Suresh Feb 10 '13 at 5:11
    
All your answers are useful; too bad I can only accept one, so I went with the most voted. –  Federico Poloni Feb 10 '13 at 8:22
    
"And even though Tom and Ray Magliozzi thank God they gave up tenure whenever we say it...." –  JeffE Feb 11 '13 at 5:04
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First: check if the institution who provided the funding requires a specific sentence for acknowledgment. Some do! Otherwise, read on…

Many large research projects nowadays are supported by more than one funding source, especially if you include the institutions you are affiliated with (although, being already listed as affiliations, they need to be acknowledged specifically). Saying “partially supported by” does not have any negative implication to me, and saying “is supported by” does not imply that this is the only support received.

But if you want to avoid this particular phrasing, it also common to simply say:

Acknowledgements
We thank the John Smith Institute for funding, along with the William and Melinda Bates Foundation for post-doctoral fellowship (to F. P.).

The second part of the sentence makes it clear what was the support, while the first part is more ambiguous. Frankly, noöne cares! That is, except for the funding agencies: they want is their name mentioned for their statistics, but probably don't care how it is written.

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"if I write partially supported I give the impression that I just got a smaller grant."

Not necessarily. It can mean different things like one of the co-authors was funded by them or your situation in which they funded some of it before.

I am not sure if I would mention the research institute that provided the travel expenses. If you feel like you want to do it its a different story. Then I would write that the "collaboration between the co-authors would not have been possible with out the financial support from research institute blah blah blah" or "The co-authors would like to acknowledge the support of research institute blah blah which resulted in blah blah blah".

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I agree that there's no stigma to partial support. At least in mathematics, it's the default: you would leave out the "partially" only if you were 100% paid by the grant (with no university funds at all) for the entire duration of the research project, and that's pretty rare. –  Anonymous Mathematician Feb 9 '13 at 15:07
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On the other hand, I'd suggest mentioning the travel expenses. Until you reach a ridiculous number of funding acknowledgments, there's very little downside to adding more, while institutes and funding agencies really like it. –  Anonymous Mathematician Feb 9 '13 at 15:09
    
@AnonymousMathematician I haven't done it so far for travel expenses but I think you have a valid point. There is really no downside... –  blackace Feb 10 '13 at 1:00
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