Recently, I wrote a draft paper based on the results, which I prepared for final project of one my courses (I'm a PhD student). In fact, I had a project partner in that course and I thought I should put her name in the paper as well.

I know it was just a short project and I did not mean to submit it to a really high impact journal (I mean I want to submit it to Computational Materials Science journal, impact factor: 2.530). Also, my PhD adviser was one of the instructor in that course.

Today, I just sent the draft to my partner and said please read it and let me know if you want to add or modify something, but she responded back that her adviser wants to meet me and discuss the work that we did. In fact, she said her adviser does not want to be on the paper as co-author but she wants to be sure that there is nothing in the paper which may have bad impact on her.

The question is: I'm not sure it is an appropriate thing to do (meeting with another professor) without consulting with my adviser?

I said I should consult with my adviser before meeting and know his opinion. Should I talk about this with my adviser or just give it up at all? Because I don't want to make everything complicated about who should be co-author, etc just for a small side project. Any idea or suggestion is appreciated.

  • 2
    What exactly is the inappropriateness that you are worried about?
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:11
  • My purpose is that I'm just a PhD student and don't have much experience to deal with other professors in these kind of situations and I don't want to make him sensitive about something, which may not be important at all. I mean I wrote that in my spare time and I wanted to just submit it somewhere online even just as a preprint in arxiv.org? I just wrote all the codes and everything about this project just because of her that she was my partner I cannot submit just by myself which I wish I could do.
    – user97402
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:16
  • 3
    Maybe I'm unfamiliar with some cultural formality where you are, but as "just a PhD student" you are in training to be a colleague of professors. Another professor wants to review the quality of the work you did with her student. If you can't defend the work you've done in front of a colleague at the same institution I don't see why you should bother to publish it; if your own advisor is to forbid you from ever interacting with another academic you need a new advisor immediately.
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:19
  • 1
    No, he's not like that to forbid me to do this (actually he's really a nice guy and supportive) but he's really busy and I don't want to bother him for these kind of problems. Also, I'm in the US. I said I wrote everything and I could defend my work, which in fact I did one time because I presented this work in front of my adviser and other people.
    – user97402
    Aug 31, 2018 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


It is typical for advisors to want to help emerging PhD students in their efforts to publish papers. Typically, advisors can give a paper a rudimentary review with little time or effort. You would typically recognize this support with an acknowledgement, not coauthorship (in the fields that I am familiar with).

This seems to be in line with what your coauthor's advisor has in mind. I would take the coauthor at their word regarding the fact that the advisor does not wish to be a coauthor.

In addition, you do not want your own advisor to be in the dark about this paper. It is good that you have presented it to him at a prior occasion. Prior to meeting with the coauthor's advisor, you should email your advisor about the paper and let him know you are preparing to submit it. Depending on schedule/your needs, your advisor will likely be willing to provide a brief review of the paper. If he does, he should also be expecting an acknowledgement, not coauthorship.

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