I am in a very biological sciences heavy laboratory where every one has a basic background in the biological sciences and that's pretty much it. I was recently hired as a research employee (non grad student) in this laboratory originally as a biological sciences research assistant. Upon finding out I have a graduate degree in statistics (it was on my CV so I don't know why they were surprised), my PI has considered using me as a hybrid researcher/data analytics person to streamline some past data and make it more quantitative in nature. Some of my data analysis is very niche, and pseudo-original because of the context of the problem that we're working out. There is no backup person capable of doing any data analysis. Is there any way I could use my role as leverage and formally request authorship from my PI (in a polite way of course)?


I have future goals in mind, professionally speaking, and those goals would be much more facile in approach if I could get my name on a paper.

1 Answer 1


With that description, especially if you write up the technique used for the paper and any conclusions drawn, you should be a coauthor. Anything else is ethically suspect in my mind. You should talk about authorship with the primary author, the lab director, or the PI about this now rather than waiting for the analysis to start or the paper to start coming together. There's no better way for resentment to start than to wait for the thing to be nearly done for you to start the conversation about authorship.

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    Yeah, this. When you do a major part of the research and analysis behind a paper you are an author. It's possible your adviser thought that went without saying, but a request to clarify is reasonable.
    – The Nate
    Jun 24, 2016 at 18:15
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    @TheNate, this kind of stuff always went without saying in the lab where I did my PhD. Anyone that did any work that contributed to a paper was always included as an author. There was no gift authorship, and it all worked out well. Some labs are stingier for reasons I cannot fathom.
    – Bill Barth
    Jun 24, 2016 at 19:29
  • @BillBarth Thank you for your reply! I will be sure to contact my PI.
    – John F
    Jun 24, 2016 at 19:54
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    I also agree that you should bring this up now rather than after the work is nearly done. I've been excluded as author in a similar manner more than once because I did not ask in advance. Some PI's just fail to give credit where it is due. Jun 24, 2016 at 20:27
  • I agree with this as well. As a PI in an adjacent field, I can't imagine not assuming you should be an author, given your description of your role.
    – Fomite
    Jun 26, 2016 at 1:06

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