Say in one of my projects, I am using someone elses code in a published paper. The method is novel and therefore I also have some general discussion on how to apply the developed code in GitHub. Am I expected to include the developer of the code as co-author? Or would a citation be sufficient?

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    As a non computer scientist, this sounds to me exactly like something to cite, it isn't coauthor worthy. You are using published data and citing the source of it. It's like using anything else that's published. However, again, I'm not a computer scientist, so if the answer is any different, that will be interesting for me to see! Apr 14 at 4:22
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    "apply the developed code in GitHub" What do you mean? Apply the code that you got from GitHub?
    – gib
    Apr 14 at 8:30
  • I came across a paper describing a method with a code posted in GitHub. The method is exactly what I need, and I download them to apply to my dataset Apr 14 at 23:08

2 Answers 2


If you're just using their code, citation suffices.

It would be polite and probably appreciated for you to let them know.

If they modify or augment or configure their code in response to your needs then coauthorship might be appropriate.


It boils down to the question if the code and/or the implemented method was published before or not. If it was published, you can make use of the code like of any other published information (unless the license under which it is published does not allow it). Then, citing is sufficient. If you somehow got unpublished code, for example by private communication, you have to agree on the terms with whoever wrote the code.

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