I recently received a request from another researcher in my area, who is guest editing a volume of a mid-level physics journal. He wanted me to submit an article for the special issue dealing with our research area. I agreed to submit something by the end of the summer. I told him that I would produce an article about my current research, providing a careful conceptual discussion of some previously published work, as well as some recent (but not particularly exciting) advancements that have not previously been published. The number of researchers in this area is not especially large, and acceptance of my article is a virtual certainty.
At about the same time as I got the invitation, I had a graduate student come to me, wanting to do research. He started working with me on the same topic that I will cover in my (mostly review) article. This student is, as another professor put it, "not as bright as he thinks he is." He is qualified to get a Ph.D., but it is very unlikely that he will have a career in academia. He has been doing calculations for me, but so far, he is only duplicating results that I have already completed myself. (I hope that, by the fall, he will be able to start producing new results.)
My question is: Does it make sense to include him as an author on the paper I am going to submit at the end of September? He should have completed some calculations by then that have not previously been published. However, all those calculations will be duplications of things that I have already done myself. I could write the paper without his input at all, which suggests against making him an author. On the other hand, he is exerting significant effort checking my own calculations, and if I had not done all the calculations before, he would be making a minor but meaningful contribution to the paper. The student knows that he is, thus far, only duplicating my previous work, so I don't think he has any expectation of being included as an author on any publications including it. However, I admit that I feel uneasy setting a student to re-do my own unpublished work, with the intention of publishing it without adding him as a co-author.
This specific publication is unlikely to make a real difference for either of us, professionally. I have more than enough publications in top journals to be promoted to the next level, and, as I said, this student is extremely unlikely to have a long-term career in academia. So, in the absence of any compelling outside pressure one way of the other, I am wondering whether I should include my student as a author on this upcoming publication.