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A few years ago I worked in a lab as a visiting researcher (something like internship). As the result, I had to write a short report which at that moment didn't look like a proper paper. Recently I've discovered that my supervisor literally 3 months after my leave decided to present a conference paper with the results of, well, our work (at least I think that these two documents contain the same idea).

I do prefer to keep my old works and emails so that I can always check and find something. It seems that I sent a copy to my supervisor and the paper was submitted approximately one month later.

Since it's not so common, I've asked my former supervisor already and I've got a reply "What are you talking about?". Now I'm confused and feel a bit stupid because I might be wrong as well.

I've checked related questions: Is it plagiarism for my thesis advisor to publish a paper using content from my thesis without citation? What should I do if my master's advisor used a figure from my thesis in a publication without citation or acknowledgment? and I need to clarify my problem a bit. The idea of the project came from my supervisor, I was needed as a person to read a lot of papers and to do a lot of routine calculations (6 months(!)).

Is there anything I can do now? It's not like I care now about a conference paper, however, at that moment I was looking for a PhD position and all professors kept asking me about my publications and results of my internship. And I've sent that letter already.

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    "at least I think that these two documents contain the same idea" what makes you think that and why are you not sure? – BPND Jun 23 '17 at 9:28
  • Since your report is not a proper paper, I am not sure you deserve citation. But, I would mention your name in the acknowledgement section if I were your supervisor because you did 6 months tedious work. – scaaahu Jun 23 '17 at 9:44
  • @BPND we planned to establish some math relations and both documents contain them. However, since I'm not a pure mathematician as my supervisor, I can miss something important which changes the picture. – Vladimir Jun 23 '17 at 9:45
  • @scaaahu That sounds reasonable. So, when a person deserves citation in this case? – Vladimir Jun 23 '17 at 9:55
  • @BPND I decided to read it properly. At least one subsection (about a page) of that paper basically contains some results from my report. Not really great, notations have been changed, however, I'm sure because I spent at least a month deriving that damn equation. – Vladimir Jun 23 '17 at 11:09
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People's work on a publication is attributed in two main ways: authorship and in the acknowledgement section. Here, you need to know if your contribution was significant enough for an authorship (it sounds like it wasn't), and whether your work actually appeared in these publications. There are a number of resources and guides regarding authorship: one, for example here. The typical defining factor is making an intellectual contribution. The information you have provided suggests that you do not deserve an authorship, but probably should have been noted in the acknowledgements.

In my opinion, this is not worth making a fuss over. In my experience, admission committees are unlikely to care about whether you appeared in this section or not. They care whether you were an author on a paper, and how your reference letters discuss you and your work. You will have the latter, as long you don't burn any bridges. In your discussions with potential advisors, demonstrate an understanding of why the project was important, and detail how you assisted the main researchers.

Citing your project write-up is unlikely to be appropriate - and plagiarism would probably only come into play if they copied and pasted your text without your permission.

  • I see the significance of the contribution different now, in the light of OPs latest comment (posted after your answer) to the original question: "At least one subsection (about a page) of that paper basically contains some results from my report. Not really great, notations have been changed, however, I'm sure because I spent at least a month deriving that damn equation." – BPND Jun 23 '17 at 11:41
  • @BPND - I'm still inclined to believe it is not significant enough, but for anyone not directly involved it's probably going to be difficult to make the best judgement call. But the fact that it was difficult for him or took him a long time doesn't make it a contribution; it also depends on how he is using the word derived and what it entails. – user58322 Jun 23 '17 at 12:39

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