What is the threshold that must be crossed to go from contributor to author? I am freelancing a bit, helping out another group with their experimental design and data processing. While I do not physically do anything, the graduate student I am working with implements my suggestions. I provide the program to analyze and extract the pertinent data. I am assuming I would be responsible for some of the writing in explaining what is going on.

Obviously, I should ask before going too far down the road on this but I figured I would throw this question to the exchange to see if I am wasting my breath. I am not looking for co, 1st or anything, just wondering if I can eek out a CV entry.

1 Answer 1


If you're actually writing part of the paper, and actually doing analysis and interpreting the results of the data, then yes you can ask. If it's providing suggestions "try this method/program/analysis" and letting them do the rest, then I'd say being mentioned in the acknowledgements sounds like enough credit.

  • Experimental design is also an intellectual contribution. Again, if OP is just looking over their DoE and OKing it, that's for an acknowledgment. If OP is adding more substantially, coauthorship is indicated. Sep 23, 2021 at 18:01

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