Usually a supervisor has to focus on many project at once but the PhD student on the other hand has only his project to focus on, PhD student is the person who usually does all the literature work as well as the experiments, so technically he is the master of that particular project then why the PhD student is never offered a chance to become the communication/corresponding author of those manuscript that are published by him on his work. One could argue that in the first 2 years of the PhD work he might have less command over the subject to which I might agree but what about in the last stage of the PhD program or after the PhD program for that matter. Why is he never offered a chance to become a communicating/ corresponding author?

Communicating/ corresponding author here represents the person who would respond to queries and reply to emails, where as the last author is usually the supervisor who wrote the project or took the lead.

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    What does "communicating author" mean in your field? In some fields it signifies someone who took a lead role on the project, in others it just means "this person is willing to respond to email". In either case, it's something that probably should have been discussed, but in the latter case it's not really a big deal. – Nate Eldredge Jun 20 '15 at 4:14
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    Very closely related question: Does "corresponding author" carry an implied meaning?. From your description of communicating author, I think it's the same as corresponding author. – scaaahu Jun 20 '15 at 4:33
  • Well the question is not about the implied meaning of corresponding author but it's about why such opportunity not given to PhD student who does all the work. – Saurabh Jun 20 '15 at 4:38
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    very interesting scenario...my friend also faces similar situation...I think being corressponding author gives you a first hand exposure to the world when you are trying to defend your paper – Shruti Srivastava Jun 20 '15 at 5:06
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    Two questions: (i) why is it so great to be the one to reply to emails? (ii) Why do you assume that the student cannot be the corresponding author? That's certainly not universal. In my field (mathematics), the student may well be the only author. Even in the Biosciences one can do theoretical work that does not use any faculty member's laboratory, resources or capital. If you do that work on your own time, you can submit the paper all by yourself...right? – Pete L. Clark Jun 20 '15 at 5:36

Things might vary across fields, but I think that you might be overestimating the impact of being the corresponding author.

In my experience the corresponding author handles the communication with the journal (hands in the article and revisions, copyright form, etc). Furthermore, you might get a question every once in a while from a fellow researcher, but they are mostly like: "can you send me the article", or "may I use your figure".

Reasons for your PI to insist on being the corresponding author might be that articles may get questions long after you left the institution, and in some fields the corresponding author indicates who is the PI.

I would not worry too much about this. When your publication list is assessed, people will look how often you are the first author (when that is applicable for your field, some fields put the authors in alphabetical order). And when somebody has a question about the content of the article (which happens less frequently than you might expect) they either write you directly, or your PI might forward you the question.

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