I used available data from my PhD study database in a new independent post doc study. In this study, except for the raw data available, every other aspects are new (study design, hypotheses, analyses, and discussion). In sum, the source of data (sample and instruments) for this study was the same database I created during my PhD. The two studies are different, but because I used data from the PhD database, should I give authorship of this new study to my former thesis supervisor? Would this be a ghost/gift authorship, or a necessary action?

  • It's hard for me to answer this question, because the details of this database are important. (How was it collected? Is it currently publicly available? Has your thesis supervisor treated it as private?) But I'll also point out that being stingy with authorship in general is a bad idea. In this case, you might consider whether your thesis supervisor would have something new to contribute and make your new work better. His/her experience and insight into this particular dataset may be very useful. Just because something is technically permissible doesn't mean it's a good idea.
    – Mike
    Apr 1, 2020 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


I don't think this case warrants authorship. Your advisor did nothing to contribute to the new work, helping you with a prior paper says nothing about future papers.

You should absolutely cite your thesis (or whatever paper used this dataset) in your new work, and make sure that the dataset is not protected in some way (say, if it's a clinical dataset that is restricted in use via an IRB you might not be able to use it).

  • 1
    The OP should also check that the "acceptability" rules for such a database are the same in the institution they are working in now. Different locales have different rules about confidentiality and what not. Medical database rules might be among the most prickly, but they are not the only ones that are prickly.
    – puppetsock
    Nov 15, 2019 at 14:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .