Years ago, I, as well as a team of other engineering students, conducted some pretty solid research for an undergrad project. We didn't end up commercializing it or anything, but I believe it would be a great fit for an upcoming conference.

I am no longer affiliated with the university where the research was originally conducted. The original paper was horrible, and needs to be re-written (I've been published before and am familiar with writing styles and the process of submitting a paper, despite not having an adviser).

Can (or should/must) I use the university as my (and my team's) affiliation? What does this actually mean? Does the university have to know I'm publishing a paper with their name on it? If so, who typically signs off on this?

I've tried to find an answer online and have come across this answer, but I'm not sure if it applies since I am not currently enrolled as a student, and because the paper is being re-written.

  • Just to check: the original paper was never published? Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 16:55
  • Correct. It was just an undergraduate capstone project. It was submitted to the course, but not published.
    – JSideris
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Your affiliation is listed so that you can be identified/contacted. Thus, your affiliation should be listed as your current employer.

Given that your university provided resources to conduct the research, you should list them in the acknowledgements section.

You should probably invite whoever supervised your project to co-author the paper. You should also invite your fellow team members to co-author the paper too.

  • Great idea. I will reach out to the supervisor. Maybe he can help out with the paper. And I'm sure he's got access to all kinds of other resources. Yes, the other team members will definitely be on the paper if I can help it, but due to some complex circumstances (more appropriate for a whole other question), one of them has dropped out of contact.
    – JSideris
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:32
  • I think you'll need permission from everyone involved to publish the paper. (That's probably been answered on here somewhere.) It might be worth getting an initial agreement from everyone in advance. You'll want to ask again once the paper is prepared.
    – user2768
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:34
  • Your current employer may not look kindly upon you listing them under your affiliation. As it may be misinterpreted as saying they endorse the work (or that it was arrived out on their behalf). I think I have scene it suggested elsewhere on this sight that you are safest just to give no affiliation. Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:41
  • @LyndonWhite, JSideris must abide by any contractual obligations put in place by his current employer.
    – user2768
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:44
  • While one only is required to follow contractual obligations, but if for example I was an engineer working for a company the produces mining drills, and I wrote a paper was called "On the Significant Dangers of Mining Drills, Compares to other Technologies" and assuming my contract allowed me to do this kind of thing in my free time (without say giving the company ownership), then it is entirely possible that I have neither violated my contract, nor even broken any formal company rules. But when my boss finds the paper, and sees my affiliation listed as "Big Drill Co" ... Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:53

Is your then-adviser also a co-author on the paper? If so, and if they are still affiliated with the university, it may be enough that their affiliation is listed.

If your undergrad research was funded, that funding information should appear on the paper. This usually means that funding was provided through your adviser's grant(s).

If neither is true, i.e. you got no co-authors that are still affiliated with the university and no grants to report, you can still state somewhere in the paper (e.g. in the acknowledgements section) something along the line of "during the original research, author was affiliated with university X", if you feel inclined.

In general, your and every co-author's affiliation should be the current one and you are obliged to state your funding sources, if you have any.

  • Thanks. I wasn't aware of the obligation to list funding sources (even though this is in the paper). The original adviser did not co-author the paper or provide us with funding, however the research was minimally funded by the university (aka the tuition we paid to take the course).
    – JSideris
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:21
  • You can write something like "this work was partly conducted at University XYZ" in the acknowledgement section.
    – user2768
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 15:35

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