I'm an undergrad student working at a large research hospital over the summer. My research has been making very good progress; my PI has implied that we are likely to ultimately publish it. My abstract was selected for a prestigious oral presentation (fewer than 10% of [not exclusively undergrad] students were selected), but something doesn't sit right with me about the authorship she suggested.
My PI added a few authors who never actually contributed, but she hoped would. At least one of them still hasn't. This didn't bother me but is starting to because a student who has put a lot of work in is being excluded.
This grad student conducted and scored the neuropsychological assessments for most of my participants, and those scores are key for my research question and results. The student works in a lab that collaborates closely with mine. I suggested that she should be given authorship, but my PI told me that she should not be. After sending my abstract to the list of collaborators, one of them even asked me why the grad student student was not asked to be an author.
Since this is a niche field that I likely want to work in, I am worried about creating resentment. I know that this is ultimately just a summer research project, but if it goes further and becomes published I would not feel right with my exclusion. It just doesn't sit right.
My question is two-fold:
(a) Is it worthwhile to ask that the student be given authorship? The PI of the other lab is notoriously abrasive, and I wonder if my PI wants to avoid giving her too many footholds in this project. I don't want to stick my head into institutional politics. Does this student even deserve authorship?
(b) How do I approach this subject with my PI? She is a very nice person and I don't usually feel intimidated by her, but I'm keenly aware of my position as an undergraduate researcher at the bottom of the academic ladder.