I am a PhD student, in the process of submitting a paper and I was asked to check (or not check) a box to state if :

This contribution was solely written by students and/or doctoral candidates.

This paper was solely written by me as first author, with my supervisors as co-authors for reviewing. It deals mostly with measurements and their interpretation, which were done by me exclusively, the only non-original content is a figure I'm citing from another paper. However, my supervisors reviewed this paper, and also gave me advice during the research.

Is this sentence to be interpreted drastically (meaning I should not check it since the work is done by a supervised student, and not student(s) exclusively). And in a more general way, to which point would a paper be no longer considered as "student contribution" ?

This may seem obvious but I'm not familiar with publications processes since it's the first time I submit something.

  • This is usually used for deciding canidates for "best student award" which is for papers where ALL co-authors are students. So, if your supervisor is a co-author then "This contribution was solely written by students and/or doctoral candidates" does not apply to you.
    – Alexandros
    Mar 4 '16 at 18:03
  • 1
    @Alexandros Some sub-fields of CS allow faculty coauthors on "best student paper" winners, as long as the student is first author. Others (like my own) do not.
    – JeffE
    Mar 5 '16 at 21:20
  • It seems to depend a lot on the subject area. In mine, the answer would very clearly be yes, it would be considered a student paper. You have to be the main author and done the majority of the work. It goes without saying that the supervisor/advisor is on the paper too - of course he is! What's important is that a student is the main contributor.
    – Ela782
    Apr 29 '17 at 22:58

In my experience, such declarations are typically defined in terms of authorship. Thus, you will see, for example, a prize to be awarded for papers with a student first author, or for papers with only students as authors.

I would therefore generally interpret "solely written by" as meaning "all co-authors are."

If you want to be certain, however, it should not be any problem to request clarification from the organizers.

  • Is that why they ask that question? Do journals give out awards for papers authored only by students? Mar 5 '16 at 17:16
  • Conferences certainly do; I don't know of journals that do, but some might.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 5 '16 at 17:45

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