I worked in a research institute a few years ago. Since then, circumstances of life led me to work now in a small consultancy.
A former collaborator reached out saying they're publishing a paper for which I'd be a co-author, and asked for my email and current affiliation. Co-authorship would be entirely based on past work I did at my previous employer (i.e. work I did at the research institute and not work I'll be doing now).
A first doubt comes from reading the [affiliation] tag's description here in the website:
An affiliation is a contractual connection between an academic institution and a student or an employee.
The place I work at is not academic. Does this pre-empt this whole conversation?
If not: in broad terms, the field where I'm now in is the same. However the place where I'm at (and the sub-field in which we work) is not really functional to my desired career trajectory – for example, as I'm looking for a new position, I have to make a bit of a stretch when I describe my current role in my CV.
This means that I'm not sure I want to appear as affiliated to my current company on that paper – also considering that it would be my first peer-reviewed publication (I'm not looking to get into universities in the future but my career plan sees me in contexts that collaborate very closely with academia, so in theory it might not be the last one).
So the point is:
- Am I overthinking it (i.e. should I just use my current affiliation and nobody would even care)?
- If it makes sense, based on my situation, not to want to appear with my current company, what is the best way to tell this to the person who reached out to me? Would something like "I'd prefer to appear as unaffilated/independent, if the journal allows to" make sense? I'm really not familiar with this situation.
- Any other suggestions?