This question is similar to Rules for affiliation for student doing unpaid research in his/her free time? and Is it acceptable to publish a paper using an affiliation with a former employer? except that I am a retiree.

I intend to submit a paper to a journal without mentioning any affiliation because I am no longer employeed. I have been thinking about a footnote in the paper indicating I am a retiree from my former employer for two reasons: I am receiving pension from the company pension fund and it is a well-known company in U.S. Using their name may make me look good. On the other hand, I feel like it's cheating because I am not their employee anymore.

  • 6
    Here is a recent paper published by someone affiliated as "Independent Scholar": dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00171.1
    – mankoff
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 14:32
  • @mankoff Thanks for the info. Independent Scholar is indeed suitable for me.
    – Nobody
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 11:41
  • Retired people often get privileges to the university resources like library etc. As a result, is it not ethical to mention university affiliation as a retired member? Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


The best source of advice on these issues are the journal editorial staff. Some journals may require you to list your last affiliation with the word "retired" added in parentheses; some journals may prefer you not to list an affiliation at all. Some others may not care.

  • The institution/company may have a strong opinion (or a policy) on whether their name would appear if you are no longer affiliated with them. (It probably depends on what the paper is about, what kind of company it was, and how it related to your former affiliation or responsibilities).
    – Carol
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 19:14
  • @Carol: but unless you signed a NDA, I don't see how an institution/company can prevent you from stating the fact that you used to work for them. That said, my answer is mostly pointing out that journals sometimes have odd and antiquated rules (perhaps one which prevents you from not listing an affiliation), and that before committing on any action, in issues concerning publishing where no universal rule is adopted, it is best to always check first with the publisher. Commented May 4, 2016 at 20:38
  • Some journals have a 'bio' with the article, and that could be an appropriate place to list former positions. Using the affiliation at the author list implies you have implicit or explicit authority to represent the company (on that topic). The company or institution you were with may not care one way or the other. What were their policies when publishing articles when you were employed? (Did things go through an internal review process first). If you don't think it is a problem for your former company, perhaps it isn't.
    – Carol
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 16:26

Here's one approach: “(Ret.)”; subtle, direct, and in the literature (see 2):

1.Department of Earth Sciences University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
2.Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution (Ret.) Washington USA
3.USGS Cascades Volcano ObservatoryVancouver USA

  • 3
    Welcome to Academia SE. Can you please edit your answer to reference the paper (or other source) where you found this?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 5:40
  • What is your association with "Wunderman Writing Services"?
    – Nobody
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 7:30

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