I was wondering how I could frame/explain in my CV that I built the datasets used in several publications outside of my field. I'm in the health sciences but have worked for a couple social science professors for several years. In this work I built several of their datasets that were used in papers. However, due to my lack of knowledge of their field and lack of contribution to the papers (beyond the dataset) I am - quite reasonably - not included as an author.

How can I best frame this work on my CV and for PhD applications?


Edit: spelling

2 Answers 2


I would cite this as work experience in your CV, without citing the publications themselves. You could mention a number of papers/projects contributed to, or mention more specifically what the projects were.

You can also see the advice on this somewhat related question: Should I explicitly remind people to include my name in the acknowledgement?

There, someone is asking about how to make sure they get properly acknowledged, but several answers and comments point out that acknowledgements aren't really cited as acknowledged papers. I'm not sure whether you are mentioned in acknowledgements in the papers you refer to, but whether you are or not the advice there would agree with mine.

Adding from @Buffy's comment, if you think this work is particularly important to your job (for example, if you are applying to a position where you will be working with datasets outside of your field and want to emphasize the breadth of your understanding) it may be appropriate to get a letter of recommendation from your collaborators.

  • 4
    You could also ask the authors for a letter of recommendation based on your work and then cite the papers in work experience as an unacknowledged contributor. This assumes you have the letters as backup.
    – Buffy
    Sep 4, 2018 at 18:09

It's a "bullet" on the resume.

I would really push for coauthorships if you are going to help people like this though. (To the extent of setting expectations before doing the work.) You don't have to know the whole paper, be the driving force, but you made a significant contribution.

  • I very much agree - I was not in a position to argue for authorship (as the authors made it very clear how they write papers), but I have taken this into consideration since asking the question and have been able to get one one paper as a result!
    – user97709
    Feb 11, 2019 at 20:42
  • 1
    Good work. And of course, don't help them if they take this stance. Either they will change their stance or you will save the time and spend it with others that are different.
    – guest
    Feb 11, 2019 at 20:45

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