I am working on a project, where I am the author of the idea. Also, I found the data (open-source) that can work well with the idea of the paper.

I invited one of my colleagues to work with me on this project. We have agreed that I will be the first author.

As this is the first time for me to work on a paper, I really do not understand the role of communication with the co-author. So, can I share with the co-author the analysis of the data (before writing the paper? In other words, can I show the co-author my works and software codes? or I must write the paper (my role) and then they can look at it. I ask this question for two reasons:

  1. To understand my roles and duties.

  2. To avoid bothering my colleague with my work.

Can someone help me with this point, please?

  • This is a very strange question definitely telling that the concept of writing a paper, and generally doing research, has different meaning in different fields. I wonder how/why your question even has emerged.
    – Alchimista
    Jul 28, 2019 at 10:50
  • 1
    Can you help me understand "Mathematical Science"? (from your profile) Is it Applied Mathematics or something else. To my mind mathematics and science are quite different disciplines. Help?
    – Buffy
    Jul 28, 2019 at 13:08
  • @Buffy Hi. Thanks for your comment. it is a statistical modelling.
    – Mary
    Jul 28, 2019 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


Co-authors should be involved in every step of the scientific progress. Some might be more involved in some steps than others, due to differences in expertise or involvement, but generally:

  • you should meet and discuss ideas and plans
  • you should meet and discuss results/interpretations
  • you should both contribute to writing

"meet and discuss" can be via email or in person, or a combination of both. These can be scheduled meetings or meetings at the coffee machine. Discussions can be more or less deep, depending on your needs and expertise (e.g. whether you need to share code or not is a specific question for your case, hard to answer in general - however, do ask for their input in case you want to). Writing usually loads heavily on one person (probably you), with the other(s) giving comments and feedback at major milestones.

You should definitely share and discuss progress before writing the paper, and before having written the paper. If you collaborator (as it seems) is not your supervisor, it is probably going to be your role to keep the project running. At the same time, if this person is not your supervisor, or you are already a bit more senior, you might not want to share every minor step of your work. Even if you can work quite independently, it could be good to give a status report every few weeks to keep them informed of the progress, and keep them on board. And, most importantly, to give them an opportunity to contribute.

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