I have been working on a project for a year, doing all the lab work and gathering all the main data and then I wrote my master thesis on it. There were some additional data necessary for the final analyses for the thesis which were supposed to be gathered by another worker. A short time before the deadline for submitting, my supervisor, who is the manager of this project, informed me that the person didn't do their job yet and that now they will be unable to do it. So I had to do also this part of the work and he helped me a bit. As a result, there was little time left for writing so I was hurrying, he contributed 2 short paragraphs, another person ran one of the statistical analysis, and the result was poorly written thesis (in my opinion), but I still got a relatively good grade on it.

Now the thesis is published on my university's site, but my supervisor is planning on writing a research paper. He is avoiding conversation with me about the research paper, which will be done from the same dataset and some of the same analyses as my thesis, and I'm getting a bad feeling that he wants to avoid including me on the paper as a co-author, because there are already many people who will be included, even thought they contributed zero hours of work until now. I already asked him couple of times about when he plans on starting to write the paper, what else needs to be done etc, but he is avoiding saying anything for certain and last time he btw mentioned that technicians are usually not included as authors.

Basically, talking to him is like walking on eggshells, so I want to be prepared before doing it again... Can he publish a paper and completely exclude me from the paper as a co-author, even if I gathered the main dataset and written a thesis on it?


2 Answers 2


Technicians are included in research papers if their contribution is more than just processing the samples. If you helped designing the experiments and analyzing the results, even a minor part, you deserve your name on the paper!

Approach your supervisor in a respectful but professional way, along the lines of: "Dear X, I would like to mention that I am available and motivated to contribute to the research paper we are planning to write about project Y. After a productive time completing my thesis, I really look forward to have these results published. As such, I think the bibliography part is a good starting point to explore the type of paper we want to write, and which journal might accept it. I would really appreciate if you'd come back to me concerning the steps that need to be completed. Regards,"

If the problem is not solved, your supervisor has a supervisor. It might be the dean of the faculty. They hate this type of conflict and should help flattening this type of bumps.

If you are left out of a paper, and can bring evidence (your thesis for example) to the editor that the authorship is incomplete, they will probably have to retract the paper (authorship modifications are usually not allowed in a correction). This is the nuclear option, though, and might mean you never work in this lab anymore. What will bring your next job? A good recommendation from your supervisor, or your name on that paper?


Whether you are due authorship on the other work depends on some unknowable things. If the external supervisor intends to "include" your work in theirs, then you probably are. If they represent it as their own work then it is probably plagiarism, though we can't know that without seeing the as yet unwritten paper.

But, if the other work is an extension of your own and you are properly cited in it then you probably don't get an authorship position. That is the normal way that research works. Euclid doesn't get authorship in any Geometry paper I might write.

You describe it as a research (rather than a review) paper. That likely means an extension rather than just a re-writing of your own work. To get an authorship position in that paper you need to make a direct contribution to that paper, including some new intellectual contribution to whatever it concludes.

If I had access to your masters thesis, then I could do the same thing. I could write an extension, citing you properly, but without your further assistance. You wouldn't be an author of that, either.

If you want to be an author of the new paper, just ask about it and offer to collaborate. In particular, don't make accusations of misconduct. A post-masters collaboration with a professor is a good thing.

  • No, the paper probably won't just be an extension, but some more analysis will be done from the same dataset as my thesis. This is a large dataset on which i made first analyses from which all else can be done further (i have writen a program for this). So i guess this already qualifies as some intelectual contribution? And writing this research paper won't be possible without this dataset. I supposse, that the fact that have a thesis written from it, might actually be irrelevant.
    – anna
    Apr 21 at 20:51

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