I am a PhD student and I wrote a journal paper recently on a topic. The methodology and the results are completely my own. The idea is also my own.

The way I build my measurements are based on a research I carried out with a master's student during his master's thesis. However, later developments and everything is mine.

When I submitted it, I acknowledged him and gave credit to his thesis. My supervisors are always there as authors anyway. However, for some reason, I feel bad emotionally because I didn't add my student as an author. When I submitted it, I thought very logically when I wrote all the author names and the student hasn't done any further development or editing in this paper. So, I didn't add him as an author.

I also informally informed him about the acknowledgment and he seemed okay with that. Later, however, he asked me if we could write more papers together and I really liked that idea.

During this process, I felt probably he didn't like that I didn't include him in this one. I've communicated transparently why I did what I did (even without him asking).

I don't want to make our professional relationship worse. So, I told him that I don't know what's right and ethical in this case and I would discuss it with my professors, based on the outcome I can change the author's names after I get the first revision.

What should be my approach based on your experiences?

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    "I also informally informed him about the acknowledgment and he seemed okay with that. Later, however, he asked me if we could write more papers together and I really liked that idea."—To me this sounds like the opposite of "probably he didn't like that I didn't include him [as an author] in this one". Mar 13 at 5:52
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    Maybe work with him on rewriting his master's thesis into a publishable paper of which he would be first author and you would be second author? Most of the work is already done, it's just a rewriting exercise.
    – Stef
    Mar 13 at 13:35
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    What did your supervisors say? Mar 13 at 16:16
  • @Stef thanks for the comment. Actually, we did it for a conference paper. We wrote it together and he is the first author. I like collaborating on that. For this one i was confused as i extended it.
    – CfourPiO
    Mar 13 at 20:10
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    @CfourPiO the fact that the student wrote a conference paper about their work is important. They already got their paper you can cite.
    – derptank
    Mar 14 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


From your description it seems that you did the right thing and that the other person isn't an author of the recent paper. It is proper that you gave credit, but derived and extended works don't include the earlier author(s) as authors.

It is also good that you and he are planning future collaborations. That is the place for joint authorship.

I see no ethical issue.

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    Thank you for the answer. It helped me constructively gather my thoughts, and I discussed them with the student clearly, and there were no issues anymore.
    – CfourPiO
    Mar 13 at 5:59
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    I agree with this, but in a future case I would (try to) involve a (good) masters student in the paper. It's valuable for them, and their input can help the paper. Then, in my field at least, they would cross the threshold for authorship when combined with the other work. Partly this is because I know how much my ideas are improved by discussing or even explaining them. Therefore I tend to rate the contribution of a discussion partner to experiment planning as rather valuable to the final work. But that's for next time something like this comes up. This time is fine
    – Chris H
    Mar 13 at 9:41
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    @ChrisH thank you for the comment. Actually, I have done the same in the past for many conference papers when I've used some of their results also and i understand how valuable it's for them and for me to grow as a mentor. This time i was confused because I didn't use any results directly.
    – CfourPiO
    Mar 13 at 20:08
  • I only agree with this answer because the student already wrote their own paper about their thesis. But, in the context of a thesis, I don't agree with the statement about extended works. Students should be included as authors if they did all the initial work, otherwise you don't have anything to extend in the first place.
    – derptank
    Mar 14 at 10:40

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