I recently submitted a paper derived from my masters thesis to a journal. Before submission, I sent an email to my masters adviser but did not get any reply. I guess he might have forgotten my name or my email was put in the trash (it happens sometime as I cannot use my school email anymore). I went ahead with the submission as the sole author. The paper was accepted, and when the paper entered the proofreading stage, I sent him another email. This time he replied to me that he would look at it.

Is it ok to publish this paper without my master adviser's name? I have graduated for more than 5 years and did not touch base with him for a while. I used my own money to pay for the journal publication fee and wrote acknowledgment to his effort during my master study.


1 Answer 1


This would depend entirely on whether he contributed to the work and, if so, how much. A minor contribution might require an acknowledgement, but if you worked together to develop the ideas in the paper he might well need to be co-author. You can probably judge this.

However, there is another possible angle to consider. If you are planning to go on in academia and your old advisor can help you with that, then even a minor contribution leading to co-authorship might be good for you in the long run. That would be especially true if your advisor is a major figure in your field.

But you have a delicate situation since the paper has already been accepted. Depending on what your advisor says you may want to delay, or you may want to use the acceptance to convince him that sole-authorship is fine.

See this question to get information on predatory journals also: With Beall's List gone, how can I tell if a journal is spam?

  • 1
    thank you for this information. A follow-up question is that if it is OK to ask for adding one author on the proofreading stage?
    – Vien Jung
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 20:55
  • probably ok, but it is up to the journal. They are very likely to say yes, I think.
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 20:58
  • 3
    even a minor contribution leading to co-authorship might be good for you in the long run — I have to disagree on this point. In my experience, papers without faculty coauthors are much better for student authors in the long run, because nobody thinks the student was just riding the advisor’s coat-tails.
    – JeffE
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 7:58

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