Looking for advice.
My coworkers and I have been working on a project for about two years, and we are right now in the process of writing a paper. About a year ago, we contacted a friend of mine who is also a researcher, told him about our results and asked for his insight. After a couple of zoom calls, he pointed us toward a research direction we had not thought about. After pursuing this direction for some time we found out it did not work, so we ended up doing something different which does not include our colleague’s suggestions at all.
Now, after discussing with the coauthors we have concluded that it is not fair for any of us to include this person as an author, since his contribution has been of no impact for the paper in the end. I agree with this decision. I also believe it would not be nice for our colleague to just find the paper online without any news, and especially since he is my/our friend I feel that I should send him the manuscript via email before sending it for publication. I wonder how I should I deal with the issue of authorship in this email: should I just send him the paper without him as an author? if so, should I explain to him that we do not think his contribution deserves it? or should I ask if he wants to be one? I am not familiar with the authorship etiquette…
Thanks in advance for your advice!