I finished my PhD in natural sciences in 2015. At some point during my PhD studies I did some measurements for some other scientists.

Now they are about to submit a paper containing my data, and I am listed as a coauthor.

I barely remember the experiments. I did not read the paper (yet).

Do I have to read that paper? Do I have to read it often enough to fully understand it? Should I disagree being listed as a coauthor?

  • Are you still in academia? That might affect the risk and reward involved.
    – Anyon
    Apr 19, 2018 at 18:54
  • No, I directly went to the industry. Chances of going back to academia are around 0.
    – Bruno
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:39
  • 4
    Before you decide anything I suggest you give the manuscript a quick read.
    – Roland
    Apr 19, 2018 at 19:53
  • 1
    I read the manuscript. It sounds valid. My data fits the other measurements of the group. There are no claims, which I would mistrust. Should I be co-author?
    – Bruno
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:24
  • 4
    The guidance from this question about declining coauthorship may be relevant. If there are other relevant details in your case that distinguish it, you may want to clarify. (I suggest accepting with gratitude, given current information.) Apr 19, 2018 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


Although doing a "service" by providing measurement data does not usually warrant co-authorship, some groups still decide to do so to show appreciation.

Many people in academia would accept this as it boosts their CV, and if anything wrong was found in the research after publication, the corresponding author has the highest authority.

I would give it a read and accept it if you are happy with the paper. If you are really worried, you can ask the authors to remove your name and explain you feel you did not provide a significant contribution.


As previously stated, they are acknowledging your participation in the data gathering and making you co-author. I would accept it. When possible read the paper and if not certain all that it's about; ask someone that would know and it doesn't have to be the author.

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