During my PhD, my supervisor wasn't very helpful. Now I have finished my PhD but I still have plenty of ideas (improvements) about my PhD topic that I can transform to papers and be published.

these ideas are not included in my PhD thesis (just personal notes I took during my study), but their topic is very similar to the topic of my PhD (which was proposed by my supervisor!).

Now, my new papers (completely written by me) are based on my previous work (I would use theoretical frameworks, results, ...), can I publish them alone (me being the only author without my supervisor's name as a co-author)? should I involve my supervisor in my paper since my research is a continuation of my previous work with him?

I will give credit to our previous work together in the paper, I will acknowledge the financial support of my PhD university, but I believe that should be all.

  • 1
    I think the tide in academia is turning slightly towards people who can publish papers without their supervisors and so show independence.
    – Tom
    Jul 7, 2020 at 0:28

3 Answers 3


The answer is "almost certainly yes". If the work is yours you don't need to include others as co-authors, no matter what happened in the past. But there is the issue of whether a new paper includes "intellectual contributions" of others, not just help in writing the paper. If the old advisor's intellectual contributions still appear in your new papers, especially if they are fundamental, then you owe at least an acknowledgement of that, but possibly more. I can't judge that of course.

And, if your old advisor is in a position to still advance your career and including him would be an advantage then there is, perhaps, some incentive to err, if necessary, on the side of including him. Future collaborations might be very valuable - or not.

But, at some point, every student leaves their advisor behind. The advisor should celebrate when that happens, actually.

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    One need nit “leave their advisor behind” to be autonomous; one must simply serve (or at least collaborate with) at least one other master. Jul 2, 2020 at 23:27
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    Of crouse I can not be sure to say there are not some "intellectual contributions", but if any "intellectual contributions" is acknowledged by citing our previous work for example, isn't that enough? all the new ideas in my new paper are solely mine. all his "intellectual contributions" are only in our previous work which will be cited anyway.
    – David
    Jul 3, 2020 at 9:49
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    You have to make the judgement call, of course. But I would recommend a specific acknowledgement section, I think, if the advisor contributed to early work that leads to this work. But I haven't seen any of the papers. Your call.
    – Buffy
    Jul 3, 2020 at 10:36
  • I would tend to think so, but situations vary greatly. I would possibly acknowledge the earlier work, certainly at minimum include it in the references. Jul 16, 2021 at 14:23

If you have some previous published work with a coauthor, and you then do some new work on the same topic without the coauthor, and without using any ideas from the coauthor other than those previously published which you cite, then they would not be a coauthor on the new paper. This is not an uncommon situation. The fact that your coauthor was your PhD supervisor does not affect it.

However, if you are planning research that is a direct continuation of previous work with a coauthor, I think it is both courteous and advisable to let them know and ask if they would like to be involved. This is especially true in your case, since it is important to maintain a good relationship with your supervisor (for references, if nothing else). Even if they don't want to be involved, they will probably appreciate the offer.


should I involve my supervisor in my paper since my research is a continuation of my previous work with him?

Citations and references exist exactly for this scope. Co-authorship is much different and it implies more factual work in the current research.

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