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My supervisor wants me to include another professors name in my paper just because he was declared as my second adviser on the project. But the problem is that this man has not done anything but giving foolish and useless comments on my work. By foolish, I do not exaggerate since my supervisor thinks the same but it seems that he made a deal with the other one. What should I do? I can't really tolerate the fact that he will get acknowledged for the work which he doesn't know anything and didn't do anything about.

marked as duplicate by scaaahu, Enthusiastic Engineer, Peter Jansson publications Jan 2 '15 at 9:31

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    I wouldn't close this as a duplicate - in the other threads, the second supervisor did nothing for the work. Here, the second supervisor provided unhelpful comments. Due to the delicacy of the issue, I would suggest to keep this question, as someone seeking for help in such a situation may see this situation as different to the ones mentioned by @ff524 - having said that, the answers are still likely to be the same. – DCTLib Jan 2 '15 at 9:01
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    @DCTLib I agree. There is a world of difference between "did nothing" and "did things that I considered unhelpful" (but I have the feeling that we may have had the latter discussion somewhere as well). – xLeitix Jan 2 '15 at 9:03
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    @DCTLib Questions where the answers are the same should be closed as duplicates, even if they have small differences that don't affect the answer, so that all answers would be in the same place and benefit all askers. A valid reason to keep this question open would be if the answers would be different. – ff524 Jan 2 '15 at 9:04
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    @ff524 I think that the answer should be different. – xLeitix Jan 2 '15 at 9:05
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    @ff524 - Hmm, wouldn't that basically invite this question to be asked over and over again on this site in the long run, provided that the askers think that the questions are not duplicate? – DCTLib Jan 2 '15 at 9:09
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Is it possible that you misjudge why your advisor wants to see the other prof. on the paper? You say that the reason is that he was "declared as my second adviser on the project" ... but then you go on to explain that he actually was part of the discussions leading to the paper, so it does not, or at least not entirely, sound like a courtesy co-authorship to me.

Of course, you (and maybe even your advisor) do not value the input he had, but unilaterally throwing him off the paper for this reason is a dangerous road to go down. If he had any part in actually doing the research or writing the paper, I would at least talk to the guy first and ask him whether he thinks that he contributed enough to become an author.

However, prepare that there is a non-zero chance that the answer to this question will be "sure, I advised you regularly on the project since it's start, why wouldn't I be a co-author??" (and mean it!). Decide in advance how you will react to this. Note that, if the prof. feels this way, there is likely no way to remove him from the paper without him being annoyed or worse. Your task then becomes to decide whether you want to add him to the paper purely to keep relations intact (or not).

  • In my defense I should tell you that he did not advised me regularly. In the period of 2 years he asked about my works 2 or 3 times and when I provided him with the updates he tossed around some comments that when I talked to my adviser about them. He laughed about them. this man has never answered my questions or provided me with the necessary material to find my answers. HE WAS COMPLETELY USELESS. – user17830 Jan 2 '15 at 9:27
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    @user17830 This wasn't meant to attack you, more to provide perspective. – xLeitix Jan 2 '15 at 9:41
  • I know... I just want to make myself clear and adding some fun to the comment :) – user17830 Jan 2 '15 at 10:47
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Have you simply talked to your supervisor about it? You have a valid point, and don't need to worry about upsetting the professor (he likely won't be) by leaving his name out of the list since he hasn't contributed anything towards the actual content of the paper. Your supervisor is more than likely just trying to do a 'fair' thing for the professor since he "helped out".

Anyways, the best thing to do would be to simply speak your opinion. If you have real evidence (or there is a mutual knowledge) of the lack of contribution, you'll be fine.

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    don't need to worry about upsetting the professor - There's a reasonable chance that either this professor thinks his contribution is meaningful (and would be offended by the suggestion that it isn't), or he doesn't and wants to be an author anyways (and would be offended by being called out on unethical behavior). The OP is not in an easy situation, and I think this answer downplays the likelihood of offending someone. – ff524 Jan 2 '15 at 8:48
  • Then the question should be - what role does the professor play in OP's education (i.e., could offending the professor have a negative affect on OP's grades/evaluations)? I agree they should not explicitly try to offend, but if the idea that the prof's name will be on the paper bothers them that much, then I think OP seems to be willing to take that chance. – galois Jan 2 '15 at 10:02

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