I have done a research project for a vocational masters. During then, there was a major disruption in the teaching department which affected the supervision process. However, I was already having another Masters degree and was in my last stage of a PhD degree program as well. So I planned, conducted, analysed and wrote my research thesis without any supervision. The only supervision I can think of is reading the completed thesis by my supervisor (which was assigned to me in later stage of the project, who managed to give very minor comments which I feel was not significant at all as I did not have to change things except some paraphrasing and proofreading as I'm not a native English speaker.

Now I'm in the process of publishing a paper from that research and wondering if I can publish it as a single author paper? I normally do not mind to involve my supervisor or any team member who worked with me in a study as long as I believe there was some how a considerable contribution, but in this time, my work is asking me to publish a single author paper as part of the requirement for promotion so there is another reason to push me more critical for whom should be involved. So do you think it is okey based on the above situation to proceed in publishing the work by my own as a single author paper?

Thank you in advance


Yes, you can certainly publish your own work under your own name. There should never be a question about that. You should acknowledge help you got within the paper, of course.

There are sometimes strategic reasons for including a supervisor as a co-author even if they haven't helped, but they fail the academic honesty test at least in minor (and maybe major) ways. But sometimes it helps a paper to get published if it has a well known co-author.

There are also some places in which institutional pressure is placed on students to include other, non participants, as authors. This is also wrong, though done. Sometimes you have to yield to such pressure, just to protect your future prospects.

There are other situations in which it is more appropriate to include the supervisor. For example, if he/she runs a scientific lab that you depend upon to do your work, then the supervisor (and usually many others) get included as authors because of the environment and help that they provide.

  • 1
    Just to add: some professors see a student publishing a paper on their own as an example that the student is ready to graduate. Is there a history of this professor having his/her students publish as sole author as the students near the end of their time as grad students? It may not be a bad thing in your professor's eyes that you feel you are ready to 'fly solo'. If you have a good relationship, talk to them.
    – Van
    Dec 21 '18 at 17:37

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