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I am supervising a last year high-school student (a very advanced one) who is doing some kind of a research project. He does some numerical simulations on problems that I suggest. If everything goes well the results of these simulations should be rather interesting and could be submitted to a reasonable journal.

I have an affiliation with a renowned university but the student obviously does not yet have any. Next year he plans to enter university X (and probably he can do that).

The question: can I submit a paper with him as a coauthor, stating that he is affiliated to the university X? May it create some problems for the student if he choses to enter another university Y later?

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    I think that the questions tagged with both, [independent-researcher] and [affiliation] will answer all your actual questions. Moreover, if the research in question was done during an internship or similar at your institution, you can give it as an affiliation (unless it has very strict rules about this). Alternatively, you can also give the high school as an affiliation. – Wrzlprmft Sep 11 '15 at 14:18
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    Do not list a false affiliation. If they are not, at the time of publication (or were not, during the time of the work undertaken), a student, staff, or faculty at University X then it is a falsification to say that he/she is affiliated with that University. – J... Sep 11 '15 at 17:36
  • Listing an affiliation also means that explicitly or implicitly, the institution has given the author the right to represent the institution in the appropriate capacity. – Carol May 4 '16 at 19:04
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I published a paper with two high school student co-authors. I listed their high school as their affiliation. They were not paid by the university. It worked fine.

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The question whether the student should be a co-author (of course, if he contributed a significant part of the work!) is separate from the question of what affiliation to list. For the latter, I think that in reality it does not actually matter -- the affiliation is simply a convenient form for readers to figure out how to reach the author in case they have a question, and a convenient form for authors to claim authorship in case their name is not unique by itself. In the case at hand, I see no reason why one shouldn't simply list the student's high school as affiliation. Or, if this was as part of some organized summer activity, the university at which that activity was done. From the perspective of the publisher, either should be fine, as would providing the student's home address.

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    "I think that in reality [the affiliation] does not actually matter" It certainly matters that you don't claim somebody has an affiliation they do not have! – David Richerby Sep 11 '15 at 18:23
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    Correct, of course. What I meant to say is that having no affiliation (and listing none) is not in itself a problem. – Wolfgang Bangerth Sep 14 '15 at 13:19
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You don't need to include any affiliation. If you don't work at an academic institution then your affiliation is irrelevant private information that you should be able to keep private. It's none of the reader's business to know that the author works at some company X, or attends school Y in town Z.

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    You don't need to include any affiliation - but it's customary to do so, even if it is a high school, company, etc. It's like meeting someone at a party and they ask what you do for a living. You don't have to tell them, but it's customary to do so, and it will be a little awkward if you don't. – Nate Eldredge Sep 11 '15 at 18:42
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    @NateEldredge It may be customary, but then that's because it is usually useful. With more and more people from outside academia publishing in peer reviewed journals, it may be better for people who get into problems when asked for affiliations, to simply say that they want to keep that private, if that's in fact what they want. It's not really the same situation as in some social event, what should matter are the scientific results, it should be possible to contact one or more authors, but that's about it. – Count Iblis Sep 12 '15 at 2:43
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    @NateEldredge, it makes sense to list your company or high school as an affiliation if the paper is about something you did at your company or your high school. But if it's work you did in your own time which is unrelated to what you do at work or at school then it's misleading to list an affiliation. Particularly in the case of companies, it could even cause conflict with HR if you list them without asking permission. – Peter Taylor Sep 12 '15 at 12:15
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    There’s no need to list an irrelevant affiliation, but it’s useful to list some kind of contact information. I wrote a joint paper with an undergraduate at another school who had taken my abstract algebra course when he was in high school, and he chose simply to give a mailing address. – Brian M. Scott Sep 13 '15 at 3:31
  • I disagree to some extend. In terms of independent research it may be of very interest, if a researcher is working for a company known for lobbying in that field. – Ariser Sep 15 '15 at 8:58
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The problem with affiliating the coauthor with university X is that if he does not manage to enter X for some reason (maybe because he leeched, for lack of a better term, on their fame by a false claim of affiliation), either the paper will have wrong affiliation which may mislead people, or you will have to submit a correction to the paper. In addition, this might damage the academical career of the coauthor, even if it wasn't his decision.

In extreme cases, it might lead to rejection of the paper because if you're lying about something as trivial as the affiliation, what else might you be lying about? At the very least, if one of the reviewers knows that it's wrong, they could submit it as an error you should correct.

There is nothing wrong with listing the coauthor's high school as his affiliation. If the coauthor were to work for a company, you would also put down their company, right?

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I published during high school and my advisor listed me as being affiliated with his university. I think it was fair because I did the work on their premises and was basically a volunteer/unpaid intern at the university. I even went to their group meetings so I feel like I was part of the lab.

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