I'm in a bit of a specific situation and wanted to hear everyone's thoughts. I worked on a personal project in my undergraduate with no collaborators. This was just a one-off thing I decided to try for fun and worked on it on my senior year and the summer after my senior year. However, it ended up giving really good results. If nothing else, I would like to put it up on ArXiv. I have published papers during my undergrad but this project was different as I did not have an advisor or work with anyone. Now I am at a new institution doing my PhD.

My question is should I list my affiliation as independent research, as my undergrad institution or my new PhD institution. I don't want to accidentally commit an academic faux pas!

While this question: What to list as affiliation when work spans multiple institutions? is similar. I feel it doesn't quite answer my question as I'm not sure if it's fair to list either institution as technically I wasn't supervised for this project.


1 Answer 1


Since you have started the doctoral program already, then your current affiliation is that institution. If you hadn't started, then you would still be an independent researcher and would list yourself that way. But, you are no longer affiliated with the undergraduate institution and so it wouldn't be proper to list them.

However, it is also appropriate to put a short note in the paper clarifying and giving any credit due. In the case where you list the doctoral institution as the affiliation, the note could perhaps say that the work was begun (independently) as a student at -name of institution- and completed as an independent researcher.

Listing your current affiliation lets people find you in the short term and makes it easy to track you down later as needed.

Note that the philosophy here is that the affiliation is about the person, not the work. In some cases, usually involving employers, they will have specific rules about what you can and cannot say.

And if the work was financially supported by some institution you need to clearly indicate that somehow. Some use affiliation and some use a note with the same spirit as the one suggested here.

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