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I have two questions, a general question and a particular case question, regarding the authors of a manuscript.

  1. In general, I would like to inquire about who should be added as authors to a manuscript as well as about the order of the authors.

  2. I prepared a research paper and I was wondering whether I should add the name of this person or not. In particular, this person presented me with an access to his computer facilities (high-performance computers) and he has been supporting me with his engineering technical support. However, he is neither a researcher nor a person holding a PhD degree. In fact, he is an engineer and he is doing this for free. Can I put his name as a co-author to our manuscript?

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Authorship conventions vary enormously from field to field, so it is impossible to answer this question in any generality. This is the sort of question you need an advisor for.

However, two general pieces of advice are to (i) make sure to discuss authorship at the earliest opportunity so as to avoid conflict later on and (ii) be generous, particularly with junior people (e.g., non-PhDs). People tend to worry about dividing the credit for the work, but, in reality, adding another author does not deprive you of much credit; a much greater risk is offending someone and harming future collaboration opportunities.

  • It may be true that adding another person as author doesn't deprive the credit of other authors, but in those authors' eyes, including them without discussion may make them feel unfair. Human psychology is very sensitive with injustice. – Ooker Jan 9 at 4:19
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Technically, you can list anyone as co-authors, including your cat. If you want general guidelines, you can find several online. In practice I think it is reasonable to discuss this issue in advance with your collaborators — who will be authors and what will be the order of appearance, and who will just be acknowledged. So in your case it really had to be negotiated beforehand, not afterwards. I'd say that technical help is not authorship by default, but if such specialist wants/needs to be an author for some reason, I'd have no problems to include him in the list.

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