There is a business(sole proprietorship) which has collected a large amount of data relevant to a scientific (psychology) publication, and is providing access and helping implement unique meta-analysis of their data in assistance to the research.

Should I consider a co-authorship with this individual, and if so (given they themselves only previously had a bachelors degree in a different field and are unaffiliated with any university or large institution currently) what would be the proper format for their inclusion in the publication?

They have not been involved in previous publishing work as part of their business so they do not have a previous protocol for this. Their contributions could be considered to be worth more than an acknowledgement.

  • I'd prefer an answer that is field agnostic but provided the clarification in case such an answer is impossible.
    – Skyler
    Apr 22, 2017 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


This may vary by field, though common sense suggests some general applicability. I'm in CS and will offer my personal experience.

You raise a couple of independent points.

Does their affiliation/experience matter? Not in the least IMHO. I saw a paper at a strong conference with a high school student as coauthor!

Do they merit coauthorship? I'd say if they simply provided data, likely not, but you've already asserted they go beyond a simple acknowledgement. And you can certainly involve them enough going forward for there to be no question.

Seems to me you've answered your own question. But if you specify a field and someone in that field says no, you can't possibly publish if you aren't somehow credentialed, it's another story.

Good luck!

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