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My advisor recently received a pretty major award in our field for a set of four papers that he wrote, and I was a co-author on one of these. He and I both agree that I should receive some sort of credit for this award because my contribution was significant (the nomination for this award was done by someone else, so there is no wrongdoing on his part). What would be the right way, if any, for me to include this on a CV? What should I tell people? I was thinking of saying, "Paper so-and-so that we wrote together received the such-and-such prize"

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I would just write it down exactly as it is: "I co-authored one paper in the series of four papers for which my adviser got PRIZE_NAME prize". Then I would read it aloud and wouldn't find it impressive enough, so I would abstain from putting it in the CV at all, though you are welcome to make your own judgement here.

In short: Nothing that doesn't sound good in plain, crude English will fly with people who have brains (and most hiring committee members are no fools). The very first thing I do when I evaluate a CV is to translate every sentence into plain language and cross out all buzz words. The second thing is to verify all easily verifiable statements. So, either say it plainly, clearly, and precisely, or don't say it at all.

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  • I'd put it more crudely: if there are (too many) buzz-words, it gets into the round file.
    – vonbrand
    Oct 10, 2015 at 23:52
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I will take a slightly different view from Layla.

I agree that you personally cannot list your advisor's award under your list of awards. However, you would list an award that a paper won as part of the listing of a paper, or a "best talk" or "best poster" award, or indicate that a lecture was invited.

Therefore, if the award is expressly given to the winner for a set of papers, and this paper has been cited as one of the papers in the collection that is being recognized, then there would be nothing wrong or misleading about designating the paper in question as "(a Prize X-winning paper)," or a similar formulation which expresses the same intent. (That is, that the paper is one of a set of papers so awarded, and that you specifically are not the one being recognized). Also, this designation should appear alongside the paper, not in your "awards and honors" section of the CV.

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  • I'd list the four papers as "award-winning", the award wasn't only for this one.
    – vonbrand
    Oct 10, 2015 at 23:51
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The problem is that you were only the coauthor of one of those papers, it would be nice to know how much was your contribution to the paper you co-authored.

For what I see your advisor is a very humble person (thing that you should learn, and not asking that you deserve extra credit for the work you have done); and he just feels that you deserve credit for the award. Only problem is that maybe he is saying that because he wants to be polite.

The paper that you co-authored if it deserves good credit and reputation, that will come with the number of citations you will receive. I think, personally, that is of very bad taste that you want to pull the strings so hard to get a recognition for a work that was not even 50% of your contribution.

Keep the good work and you will see that next time maybe you will get an award for your hard work.

Remember stay a little bit humble and you will be respected and learn more.

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Recommendation letters would be the natural place for your advisor to address this.

You trying to claim part of an award given to another person seems tacky and gauche. Even if it’s actually true, it won’t initially look like it. Searching for the award will show it went to J. Random Advisor rather than you, and it might take some detective work and assumptions for someone to determine that you were deeply involved in the work as well. However, your advisor can certainly—and credibly—say that you were responsible for his apparent success. Something like this would certainly put you in good stead for future jobs and awards:

From 2020-2022, Kirk and I worked together to investigate [topic], culminating in our coauthored J. Awesome paper. Kirk invented the approach we used and did [impressive research things], which I integrated with the framework previously developed by our group. This paper was very well received; in fact, according to the committee, it formed the backbone of my 2023 award of the Big Name Prize. Kirk has identified several exciting future directions for this work and I look forward to seeing the results.

The situation might be a bit different if the award were somehow explicitly tied to your paper. There, you could potentially write something like “Cited in Dr. X’s award for [whatever].” This looks less like a bald faced attempt to claim credit, but I’d still be wary that it looks a bit like one. You need to balance the prestige of the award versus that possibility. For example, a postdoc using an undergrad coauthor’s “best poster” award as evidence of research prowess would be ridiculous; save that for a teaching statement.

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