I graduated with my Master's degree in Computer Science a couple of years ago. For a graduate requirement, I had to take on a project of significant scope and write a paper about the project. I had continued my project after graduation in order to attempt to publish a paper. This unfortunately did not happen, as I entered the workforce and focused my time on my new employment.

I received an email from my professor a couple of days ago asking if I had a copy of the source code to my project, because he has a new student who he wants to take over the project. He noted that if he was able to publish a paper with the new student, that my name would be added to the paper.

The professor had asked if I wanted to participate in the project, I replied that I would be able to help work on it in hopes of upping the chances that we get the paper published.

Since I am putting in hours post-graduation: should I expect to be compensated for my further work on the project, should I expect that this work is strictly voluntary in order to get my name on a paper, or is compensation up to the professor in charge of the project?

  • If you have a contribution to the final-product, regardless of whether you want to help at this point or not, you name has to be in that paper; of course, depending on your contribution, you might not get an co-authorship.
    – Our
    Feb 20, 2019 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


You should ask the professor. However, in my experience, the default assumption is that you will be not paid (if not said otherwise). It is often hard (again, in my experience) for professors to obtain funds for short-term-positions.

Note, however, that you are under no obligation to finish the project without getting paid. So before working on this for free, think about if you have time for it and would profit from it in some way (e.g. if you like thinking about it or if a publication is good for your life/career).

So to make clear the answer to the question: Ask, but do not expect.

  • The answer was edited just to remove the "hello"?!
    – guest3
    Feb 20, 2019 at 17:21
  • 1
    Hi Guest3, and welcome to the site. On SE it is advised to avoid "hello", "thanks in advance", and other phrases that are in the realm of correspondence or pleasantries. The reason for this is that the site provides a record of questions and answers that (hopefully) are useful for others in the future rather than simply documenting the communication between people as on a web forum.
    – Tashus
    Feb 20, 2019 at 18:54
  • 1
    Wow. That's really sad..
    – guest3
    Feb 20, 2019 at 19:18
  • 3
    It's not to remove civility, just to present the content in the best format possible. People coming across a relevant answer in the future don't need to be bogged down with "hello" "thanks in advance" and "I hope this helps" kind of comments. The pleasantries are only relevant to the original people involved, but the value of the information persists much longer. Have you ever looked up a recipe online and had to scroll through several paragraphs of "I wanted to make something special for my spouse's birthday, so I went to the local market..." etc, when you're just looking for the cook time?
    – Tashus
    Feb 20, 2019 at 19:51
  • @guest3 Ask, but do not expect. that was my plan, but wanted to make sure this was the norm.
    – Lil' Bits
    Feb 20, 2019 at 20:23

If I understand correctly the situation is that you're working elsewhere and doing research in your free time. In this case you will normally not get paid. The hypothetical way for you to get paid would be getting hired part-time as an intern or research assistant. You can ask your professor about this possibility (which would be better than asking to get paid for helping with the paper) but I don't think universities offer these positions part-time, and this may not be compatible with the contract at your main workplace. I saw some universities hire part-time teaching assistants though, so that may be an option for you if you want to use your university connection to get some extra income.

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