Consider this scenario:

  1. I am a student. I ask my professor about possible research grants. He suggests applying for a research grant with 3D printing. He helps me brainstorm and incubate in idea.

  2. I start doing research, get a proof-of-concept, submit the proposal. While waiting for the decision, he suggests I present at my university's research conference.

  3. I register for the conference, include my professor as the advisor and give the presentation.

  4. Get a good amount of my research done. My proposal was rejected unfortunately. I still did a tremendous amount of work, so I am going to write up a formal paper on my findings.

So the question: Is it appropriate to include my university as my affiliation in the paper? This is my first research paper, so I don't quite know the best practices on this. I should credit my professor. He really helped me to shape my idea and gave me a lot of advice. However, he did not have a formal role in the research.

I did do my work in the school's hardware lab. My professor did help me a lot in giving me advice. However, the tools, materials and 3D printer were all mine and it was all done on my own time.

So I'm writing this paper up, and wondering whether I should include my title using something like the following template:

3D Printing Stuff Title
John Smith
Advisor: Hubert Farnsworth
Department of Quantum Neutrino Fields
Mars University
[email protected]

  • 3
    I think you may be overestimating the significance of listing an institutional affiliation. It does not give credit to the institution in any specific way or limit your own contributions in any way. It is mostly just a professional address, so that interested readers can find you later. What makes you consider not listing an institutional affiliation? (As a side note, I have never met an undergraduate student who owned their own 3D printer, so that's interesting. Do I understand correctly that you brought your own 3D printer together with all the materials into the university lab?) Commented May 12, 2015 at 1:29
  • One more tip: ask your faculty advisor for help in formatting your paper. It is very hard to figure out these kind of academic norms unassisted but not so hard to teach someone else once you know. Commented May 12, 2015 at 1:33
  • @PeteL.Clark Yes, its all my own equipment, I was running into issues while building it, my professor runs the hardware lab and suggested that I bring it in. I was just more concerned about intellectual ownership sort of thing. I don't have any problem including it. The research is novel and has potential value but it was not conducted under my university's supervision other than help from my professor. Could have easily done this in my apartment. So I just wanted to make sure it was appropriate. I will be sending it over to said professor for review. Thanks
    – spun
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 1:38

1 Answer 1


As a student, your research affiliation is the university --- the professor is beside the point. You should list your affiliation as:

Your Name
[optional: your department]
University Name
[optional: university street address]
City, Region, Nation
email address and/or other contact information

The degree of detail requested depends on the requirements of the venue where you are publishing: the critical part is name, institution, city/nation, and durable contact information for you (since people may try to find you five or 10 years later).

Credit to your professor will likely be as a co-author: talk to your professor, as the answer will depend on the degree of involvement and the conventions of the community you are submitting to---computer science 3D printing and biology 3D printing are very different. If your professor is not a co-author, they should be recognized in your acknowledgements section instead.

  • I'd stress the coauthorship for the professor, as it seems the OP is not clear about the conventions in such a case. The statement He really helped me to shape my idea should be a clear sign for a contribution that merits coauthorship.
    – silvado
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 10:50

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