This is an update of a query that I had asked few months ago: Co-authorship just because a Professor provides me the employment? In fact I have even adopted some of the suggestions given by @Magicsowon there.

I was advised to make the question to the point, and not include any extra information. This is why I am posting it afresh here with only relevant information and also some new information as the situation has evolved since then.

I have worked as a postdoc in a European university for 6 months. The topic of my research was suggested by my boss and his collaborator, Prof. M. That was their contribution. After that, I went through more than 50-60 papers to find the right paper to build my work on. I have developed the theory and I have finished the computational part. Now, I am writing the paper.

A good analogy would be, it was like going to a conference and there one hears about an interesting problem that deserves serious investigation.

While developing the theory, I sent many drafts containing my derived equations to my main collaborator (my boss), but he hardly commented on them, none useful feedback from him. I do not think he had even read them seriously. Considering that a postdoc is essentially an unsupervised position, and the potential of co-authorship dispute in the future, I sent him a couple of emails asking him to help me with certain aspect of the theory and computational aspect. But, he did not provided any help to me. He had a regular comment during every meeting we had,

"I am aware, I should more actively contribute to the work, but as you can see I am busy with meetings. And I am sure, you can fix this problem."

Also, he did not gave me sufficient freedom to collaborate with other researchers. So, having no help coming from anywhere, I resigned from the job. I had implicitly mentioned to him as well as to the head of the dept. in my resignation email that I had worked all by myself during the 6 months stay at their department, and also that I can do the remaining work by myself. No objection was raised on that from anyone.

Now, I am writing the paper, and my plan is:

1) Write the paper as a single author under the affiliation of the former department where I had finished almost 40% of the work. I cannot gift co-authorship for my hard work of 6-months to anyone as I did not received any major/minor help from anyone. I have checked, this is consistent with the Vancouver recommendations.

2) I will acknowledge my boss and Prof. M in the acknowledgement section of the paper for suggesting me the topic of research. Note: I had just met Prof. M in a conference for 30 minutes or so, we had general discussion about the topic of research. No specific discussion regarding the work I did, no mail correspondence between him and me. However if I am not wrong, he is the actual brain behind the project, and I had tried to visit him and collaborate with him closely. But my boss did not facilitated that either. Also, note that my boss and Prof. M have worked together in most of their papers in the last 2-3 years. And my boss is the director of a research unit in which Prof. M is a member too.

3) I will also acknowledge the research unit of my boss for funding the research.

Is it fair, honest and sufficient? If the paper is published, can he claim authorship by writing to the editor? I am pretty sure he can almost show nothing about the evidence of the contribution other than suggesting the topic of research, if asked.

And the traces of this problem have off shoot to become another problem. See, Acknowledgment of funding and adding an affiliation in exchange of permission to use experimental data?

  • @ user153812, thank you for reminding me that. But please see over there, I was advised to make the question to the point, and not include any extra information. This is why I posted it afresh with only relevant information and also some new information as the situation has evolved since then. – vikash Jun 10 '18 at 8:16
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    Vikash, I don't see why (1) you couldn't edit the original question itself , (2) you didn't link the previous question here if not to mislead readers and get new answers, (3) you had to post this from a fresh profile. In any case, let me tell you that I have no jurisdiction here except the one vote, which I stand by. I leave it to the wisdom of other readers and moderators whether to let this question stand. – AppliedAcademic Jun 10 '18 at 8:28
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    Please follow the instruction to merge your two accounts. Thanks. – scaaahu Jun 10 '18 at 8:35
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    @ user153812, there is another tail part of this problem that has newly came into existence. See, academia.stackexchange.com/questions/111034/… – vikash Jun 10 '18 at 9:15
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    @ All, I have linked all posts now. I have also suggested people to reply to the new two links of the problem, since it is not the same problem as before, specially the tail part. – vikash Jun 10 '18 at 9:23