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I'm an undergraduate at an American university. I have been working with a collaborator (at a different university) on a paper for the last few months. I recently set up a meeting to discuss the work with a professor at my institution who is an expert in one of the topics related to this work. In the meeting he clarified a lot of my ideas.

The discussion was only an hour or so, but as of now I do think at least one of his suggestions will make its way into the final paper. Thus, it seems clear that he should be an author. I'm wondering, what is the typical way that this subject is brought up? Should I just ask him at the next meeting, "Would you be interested in being a coauthor?" Is that the typical way this conversation goes? This is the first paper I've worked on where the authorship hasn't been determined at the very beginning, so I really have no idea how this works.

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Should I just ask him at the next meeting, "Would you be interested in being a coauthor?" Is that the typical way this conversation goes?

In short, yes. "I think you contributed valuable ideas to the paper. Would you like to be a coauthor?" would also do. If he rejects, you can insist, say, two more times for politeness reasons, and if he still rejects, go on without him. But also be prepared for an answer "it is too early to speak about my contribution; I did not do too much yet". The deal is: you would be trying to make him work on a paper (via writing, discussions, or by providing ideas) and would offer him a place among the coauthors commensurate with the contribution.

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    This is good advice. I would modify it slightly, however. In the event that the professor declines, it is usual to ask (at least in my field) whether he would agree to be acknowledged for his help in clarifying relevant issues. Note that it is important to ask permission because many journals wish you to provide proof that the person being acknowledged does, in fact, accept being acknowledged. Good luck! – user65587 Dec 2 '16 at 9:27
  • Oh, I didn't mean (nor realise) that a second person could modify an answer someone else had written, @LeonMeier. I think it should have been more appropriate to state that I wanted to give a slightly different view. Overall, spot on, though. – user65587 Dec 2 '16 at 9:59

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