I've discovered that every time my supervisor has cited any of the papers or technical documents I've written she/he would:

  • spell my name incorrectly or forget to add my name
  • spell the article/technical document title incorrectly

These are citation made in articles already published (!!) or at final stage (where she/he denied to make any effort to try to correct them). Althought this means she/he also loses citations of these articles she/he is doing mistakes only on my papers/technical documents, not with others.

I am obliged to add her/him in every paper as co-author, although she/he never engages in any discussion concerning any of the papers or phd. This is not someone that has a flock of PhD and MSc students under her/his wings, the number of students are really reduced.

How should I react to this? What should I do about it?

  • 1
    I think the question could be simplified to "My supervisor spells my name incorrectly, how I can I fix this?" – Dave Clarke Apr 3 '14 at 7:49
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    "I am obliged to add her/him in every paper as co-author, althought she/he never engages in any discussiong concerning any of the papers or phd." Your problem is not that your advisor does not remember your name. Your problem is that you have a terrible advisor. – xLeitix Apr 3 '14 at 7:55
  • @xLeitix yeahh... that i know :) but i am determined to finish the phd, even if the cost was to add her/him in all my papers. now i don't know anymore what to do. – user2376084 Apr 3 '14 at 7:59
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    HAve you ever simply pointed it out to him and told him how you spell your name and why its spelled that way (if need be)? Lets say your name is michelle, but growing up all his friends names that sounded the same as yours were spelled michaelle. He might simply doing it out of habit and needs to be reminded. – TheOneWhoPrograms Apr 3 '14 at 8:14
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    "I am obliged to add her/him in every paper as co-author". Why? Does your supervisor claim this? Adding an author to a paper who has not made a meaningful contribution to it is against the guidelines of all scientific journals. – Tobias Kildetoft Apr 3 '14 at 19:53

Mis-citing articles (and worse, removing authors) is one of those crimes that academics take very seriously (and no one else really understands). If you were a collaborator, then repeated behavior of this kind would get your advisor in trouble not just with you, but with editors at the journals, reviewers, and so on.

So you really should bring it up.

How do you go about doing it ? Because it's your advisor, you have to be a little more gentle: some options:

  • keeping it specific to each mis-cite: "I noticed you cited my work, but you omitted my name: can you please fix it". It sounds like you've been doing this already though.

  • the technical solution: "Here's a BibTeX file containing all my papers: you can use that for citing" - this works only if your advisor uses some kind of citation manager to cite papers.

  • the direct solution: "I noticed that in this, this and this paper, you omitted my name from the citation. I'd really appreciate it if you could contact the editors and submit a correction: I'd like to get credit for my work".

In other words, keep the discussion focused on outcomes and actions, rather than intent (because a) it's hard to argue intent, and b) you're in a position of weakness)


In accordance with the comments, I think you have two choices, get out or stick with it. Since you are determined to finish (no-one but you can weigh the choices) just try to do so and swallow the problems you describe. I am sure it is extremely irritating but focus on finishing and do not let your energy go to issues you cannot change. The sooner you finish the better. So, if you can, focus only on the work leading to your thesis.

That advisors put their names on papers, is a separate discussion and one which has been dealt with here on academia.sx for many cases. Search on, for example, the tag combined perhaps with .

In the end, you need to assess what you do and how you best should spend your time to reach your goal, the PhD. If you feel you are drawn into things that are not productive for this goal, use the goal as a reason not to involve: "I really must focus on my PhD, I fear I may not be able to finish in time otherwise". Also, it sounds as if you have numerous publications already, so try to probe what is enough, if that is not already clear. Simply try to find the path of least resistance to get to the goal.

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