I am in a bit of a bind. With institutional background, I've managed to formalize a novel way of approaching a problem. It is not really a groundbreaking thing, but it works, and I've only seen it as a high-level idea in blogposts so far. I have spent a year on this, wrote the whole code, and wrote a technical paper of 6 pages on my own.
Recently an otherwise not-involved academia professional from another institution offered his help in this project. We have a formal relationship with one of his coworkers, and we were grateful for his advice and help. He made three significant contributions (other than brainstorming, talking issues through):
- Uncovered a code error, which improved the results marginally, but was an objectively faulty line - my bad understanding of how a specific method worked.
- Added a feature which I didn't do on my own, because it was recommended us at an open workshop and he simply was faster in pushing the commit.
- He reformatted the code in a way which is more professional, but not better in any way and not useful at all for our purposes (notebook-like structure with markdown).
These took him probably 2-3 hours at the very most. No one asked him for these contributions, he did it on his own.
My boss decided that he will absolutely not be the second author, this is my work, at least 99.9%. Even before his inclusion the paper was in a publishable state. However I have no clear answer whether his contributions to the code are his intellectual properties. The only thing I can agree with is Item 1 from the list above, as I missed that completely when writing code. Item 2 is a thing I didn't have the option to work on as he was faster and I had other things to attend to. Item 3 is irrelevant, I will not use the code in that version and structure.
He is relaying to us that he will not "allow" (that doesn't mean a thing in real life) the publishing with his contributions. But the only clear contribution he made was Item 1. My questions to you:
Am I right in thinking he does not own concepts, especially ones which came from a 3rd party as a recommendation? Should I leave out his correction, rewrite it to achieve the same in a different manner, or just leave it in and don't care? What do you think about the whole situation?