A friend is in a situation where they obtained a PhD in one field in a different country, but now is working at a university in an unrelated field in a non-faculty, non-research position. However, they have got invited to a conference to present on matters relating to their PhD field. How should they list their affiliation? They use their current university's library facilities, etc, for their own private after-hours research, so they want to list their current university employer, but I feel that this is unethical, and "Independent Researcher" or similar would be better.

I've seen a number of similar questions here relating to how students or researchers should handle this, but I think this situation is sufficiently different to merit a new question.


I have faced this problem in a previous publication, and what I did was list my current employer as my affiliation, with an asterisk, stating that "Large part of this research work was carried out while I was with the ..."

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  • 4
    Simple solution to non-problem. – Dave Clarke Apr 6 '15 at 7:42

When you publish, you normally are listing your institutional affiliation.

There's nothing at all unethical with ... listing your current institutional affiliation.

This does not imply that the current employer sanctioned the work or that they subsidised its completion. That sort of information is listed elsewhere in the sort of disclosures section (or so I gather -- my field does not get much external funding of that sort, but I've submitted papers to a few places that require everyone to fill that out).

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  • I'm not an academic, and I was thinking with a business mind; I presume universities like the free publicity and don't have worries about people being thought to be speaking on their behalf as might happen in industry. – Ken Y-N Apr 6 '15 at 8:19
  • They might like the free publicity, but it's not worth contorting your current affiliations to avoid giving it to them. – virmaior Apr 6 '15 at 8:19

As I understand, your question here is whether their current employer is eligible to be credited for the research presented in the paper. I think that they should use their employer affiliation. They loses nothing, but shows their loyalty to the current employer, which is not bad even if they does not intend to stay for long.

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