I was a graduate student at a university in the US about two years ago and I was working on a thesis. I was an international student and my advisory committee thought that my writing skills were extremely poor and I was asked to quit the program (though I didn't agree with their decision). I had done some literature review during the program and I recently decided to submit that as a review paper in a fairly decent journal. I just got the decision from the editor saying that the paper could be accepted with minor revision.

Now, I would like your opinion on whether I should contact my advisory committee to see if they would be willing to be the co-authors on the paper. Since I worked on this manuscript while I was a graduate student at that university and did get some help with the corrections on my writing (especially grammar -- I did not use any data from any of my supervisors), do you think I must include them as co-authors on the paper? Do I need to include my previous university as my affiliation? Should I contact them and offer them co-authorship? What do I do if they decline or do not respond?

Since I spent a good amount of time and worked really hard on this manuscript, I would like to get it published. I would really appreciate your opinion on what I should be doing at this point to avoid any infraction of others' intellectual property.

  • 3
    Did the committee members do anything to help with the production of the paper?
    – aeismail
    Apr 28 '18 at 3:12
  • 2
    Your English writing skills seem OK to me...
    – xuq01
    Apr 28 '18 at 23:46

Unless they made scientific contributions, do not list them as co-authors. Proofreading and grammar help is cause for an acknowledgment, not co-authorship. If they contributed scientifically, then you have an ethical obligation to list them. If it is a borderline case, I would err on the side of not including them, given that they basically fired you.

You do need to list that institution as your affiliation. Even though you are no longer there, they funded you while you did this research (presumably) and deserve to have the attribution. Further, your contract may require this.

Edit: there was a (now-deleted) follow-up question about whether it's necessary to seek permission to acknowledge someone. My gut feeling is no, but check out: Is it necessary to ask permission before including someone in the acknowledgements of a research paper?

  • Permission to acknowledge is required in some journals. Apr 28 '18 at 11:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.