I am just about finished with my PhD. During the past year or so, I managed to develop my own little spot of theory. I have done this almost entirely independently. However, my advisor typically adds his own name to the papers before publication as a matter of course, with not much more contribution than adding references. Often, any changes he makes I must correct later, because he has not actually worked on the theory and often has not read the manuscript well enough to even understand the arguments fully, so often adds in incorrect claims. He is generally a nice guy on a personal level, and occasional discussions are often enjoyable and sometimes do develop ideas for research, but I don't believe they meet the guidelines for authorship, and I hate giving authorship to someone who doesn't even read my work. Also, I do not receive his funding or rely on him for material/equipment etc, so it is not a matter of financial dependence.

This next paper will be most likely my final paper before I get my PhD. I managed to obtain results of which I am particularly proud, and I have done so entirely independently of my advisor. So far, all my results are basically finished and I have not required any discussion with him on the work for guidance.

How can I diplomatically, but assertively bring up the possibility of wanting to be the sole author on this publication? The work is entirely my own, and I really want single-authorship on the work I have done to show that I am a completely independent scientist.

  • Do you mind saying what field you're in? This is sometimes field specific, although the fact you don't get funding from them means that likely sole authorship is appropriate even in those fields. Apr 6, 2021 at 3:27
  • @JuanSebastianLozano I'm in theoretical physics - I also returned home due to lockdowns and haven't been able to return to campus yet, so contact has also been minimal Apr 6, 2021 at 4:27
  • it's really hard to imagine the situation when in theoretical physics a supervisor hasn't contributed enough to the (publishable) paper of a PhD student. And the fact about funding is kind of irrelevant, sorry.
    – sleepy
    Apr 6, 2021 at 8:28
  • @sleepy I'm not asking for people to believe what I say or not, I'm only asking for how the situation could be approached. Apr 6, 2021 at 8:34
  • See: academia.stackexchange.com/q/143634/75368
    – Buffy
    Apr 6, 2021 at 10:37


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