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My question is, how can I publish my results without name of my supervisor as a co-author? Do I need their name in my paper? Is it suspicious if I submit an article without his name? I have a problem with the head of the lab that I performed the experiments there. He wants to be the coauthor but in my point of view he does not have substantially intellectual contribution to my work. He also, told me that he would send samples for the measurement to another lab. But, he did not. Whenever I followed up about the measurement of samples, he postponed to another month. It is almost two years. My supervisor is worried that the guy may make trouble for his profession. So, he said that I can publish the results that I have without his name. The article is just have two authors, another student and me (PhD graduate). Do you think that journals will publish our results or they will suspect about it?

  • One point that I should mention is that according to ICMJE (icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…) authors should have 4 criteria. I believe that the guy that I was working in his lab does not have any of them. He just permitted me to use his lab which is not specific lab and I could go to some similar labs instead of his. – bina Feb 7 '18 at 6:15
  • Moreover, I think he abused my trust. I left my samples in his lab for the measurement and he wasted my time by not performing the measurement. Therefore, I think it is not fair to give him more credit by adding his name as coauthor. However, he thinks that he did substantial help just because permission of using his lab and technical guide of his student. – bina Feb 7 '18 at 6:15
  • Could you elaborate more clearly on how the persons "the head of the lab", "my supervisor", and "the guy" are related, how their perceived contribution to the paper was, and who wants (or not) / who you want (or not) to be included in the author list? – silvado Feb 7 '18 at 12:05
  • To do my thesis I did part of experiments in another lab. The head of that lab is not my supervisor. The head of that lab considers himself as a guy who had contribution to my project. But I just used his lab. He did not spend time on my project. Therefore, I do not believe that he deserve to be the coauthor. – bina Feb 7 '18 at 16:03
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To help answer the question "is it ok to publish without a supervisor/head of lab?", consider the following points:

  • Having more names listed as authors doesn't dilute your own contribution. At job interviews, you will be asked which of your articles you consider the most significant, and what was your contribution to them: your ability to explain these points has nothing to do with the author list.
  • Having a more experienced researcher co-sign one of your articles may attract more citations. When writing, nobody should ignore previously published relevant work; in practice, getting cited is easier when co-signing with "big names" in a field (not saying I like this situation, but it is what it is...).
  • Simply by allowing you to work in their lab, this person made a significant contribution to the article (although not a "substantial intellectual contribution"), in the sense that the article would not be the same without you being able to do work in this lab. Some might think this is what the acknowledgments section of an article is for; it depends how you used the lab's resources (was it more like a service that you could have easily found somewhere else, or did you benefit from this lab's unique expertise or equipment?). If it looks more like a collaboration, including this person as author would be fair.
  • He did not any have any collaboration to my work. He just let me to use his lab which was not unique. I could go to another lab. I put his name in the acknowledgement but he wants to be the coauthor. – bina Mar 1 '18 at 9:53
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    Doesn't the term "author" specifically imply an intellectual contribution? It seems disingenuous to include someone as an author when they didn't actually author anything... – Watercleave Mar 9 '18 at 3:41
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Why not include your professor as co-author and do not include the head of the lab where you performed the experiment? Regarding your question, if the journal will suspect about it there's a part of the submission that you can declare any conflict of interests.

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Papers can be published without supervisors, or in other words just by students who have done the research. Since it is unclear exactly what his role his, it is hard to say how suspicious this would be. I don't think the Journal that you are submitting to will do thorough investigative research to determine exactly who did what on each submitted paper, but if this colleague felt he contributed some amount of work to this paper and you intentionally leave him off you will burn bridges in this relationship.

I think if he did contribute, he should be included. If he did not contribute, it is okay to leave him off.

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You're asking two questions here:

one explicit is "will journals publish our results?", and the second lies beneath: "is it ok to publish without a supervisor/head of lab?"

As for the 1st, the answer is yes: if the journal is a fine one, only the contents will be looked at from the point of view of advancing the knowledge, independent on the list of authors. As a PhD student I didn't have any problems publishing single-authored papers.

As for the 2nd, it depends: if your supervisor says it's ok to publish without him, then it's ok, just go for it.

But the case of the lab head is much less straightforward: will you be using his lab again, how much of your future research and career depends on him etc. The thing is, in some places it's customary that the head of the lab/research group is a coauthor - like it or not, sometimes that's just how it is (if you don't like it, you can consider changing the lab/department/faculty/university; otherwise you can bear with it for the time being).


So also these related threads:

  • One point that I should mention is that according to ICMJE (icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/…) authors should have 4 criteria. I believe that the guy that I was working in his lab does not have any of them. He just permitted me to use his lab which is not specific lab and I could go to some similar labs instead of his. I think we should not add head of the lab as coauthor of our article and give them credit that they do not deserve. – bina Mar 1 '18 at 9:49

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