I'm a PhD student working in the USA. My advisor has funding from a foreign (say Country X) agency. I worked on a problem that was proposed by the agency. However, I am not using their data. I am about to publish my findings. However, my advisor wants to add another one of his student's name to the co-authors, despite him having absolutely no contribution. This student is a native of Country X. My advisor's argument is that he does not want to upset the agency, hence wants to add this student to the author list.

Is it possible that such a discriminatory clause would exist as terms of funding. One piece of information the makes me super suspicious is that earlier, another PhD student (not from Country X) worked on the same problem and my advisor did not raise such a concern.

I also strongly suspect that my advisor is quite partial to students from Country X, due to prior instances where he tries to involve them in everyone else's projects and looks for avenues to add their name to those projects.

What makes it even more strange is that my advisor is not from Country X, although I am not sure if he has other personal ties.

  • 1
    Perhaps simply trying to curry favor to get funding rather than actually being partial to? – Loren Pechtel May 22 at 0:50
  • Was the student from country X involved in the original funding application that made the research possible? "Funding acquisition" does appear in CRediT, and I believe some publishers' codes of conduct for authorship decisions will accept anything from CRediT as warranting authorship. – Daniel Hatton May 22 at 14:55

No, it isn't appropriate and is a form of academic misconduct. Those listed as authors need to have made some significant contribution to the ideas in a paper.

But this stuff happens. Too frequently.

Your advisor's motives don't matter. It is misconduct. However, your relationship to your advisor does matter and if opposing this will poison the relationship you need to act cautiously so as not to jeopardize your own career.


Of course this is inappropriate.

It may also be happening without the knowledge or consent of the sponsoring agency, i.e. it may just be your advisor's perception that they would be pleased if they were to see a familiar name on the paper.

However, I don't recommend you cause a ruckus over this. It's not a big deal, it happens a lot of places, and nobody is actually getting hurt here, except maybe Veritas.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.