I am a PhD student in bioinformatics/computational biology. A year or two ago I helped a fellow student using a software package she needed for creating a certain type of figures for her project. This week I got an email from that student asking if I wish to be listed as an author in a paper she is submitting in which she used these figures.
Other than helping to get her started with this software package and maybe helping her a bit with improving her code otherwise, I made no contribution to that project and in fact had only a very vague idea what she was working on until I saw the manuscript this week. I estimate that at most I dedicated 5-10 hours to the whole thing.
So my dilemma is if such a minor contribution justifies me being listed as an author.
On the one hand, I have invested very little in this student in terms of time and effort, and was not involved at all in her research process per se.
On the other hand, I did invest a considerable amount of time learning to work with the said software for my own project (totally unrelated to hers) so I think there was some kind of knowledge/skill transfer involved that may have saved her some time.
If it matters, the paper has four authors other then me: the student that I helped, her two supervisors, and another PhD student who to my understanding was much more involved than me in this project.
I'm looking forward to hearing your perspective, O wise ones.