few years ago I did my Master's thesis at University, when I worked in a lab and was performing various experiments on different materials. The thesis defense I held officially in front of commission, and the thesis is available on Internet.

As I was looking for some research papers, I discovered that there is this new publication, which uses the results I got during the experiments, as well as few other Master student who worked on their thesis. Our names are mentioned at the end, where authors are thankful for our assistance. I have two questions:

  1. Is is possible to use and publish results which were actually already part of someones Master's thesis?
  2. If these results of experiments were used in the new publication, is it right just to mention names of persons who performed them, and not putting them as co-authors?


  • Yes, you can use these results, that is ok. How to properly quote them (co-authorship, cited as a source, thank you note, etc.) is a different question and depends on how strongly the paper was influenced by the theses. – Dirk Nov 30 '17 at 11:36
  • Results that I got, and also results from another Master's student were basis to model material behavior numerically. So, probably half of the work is about results developed from experiments. There is no citation, no co-authoring, just a thank you note at the end. Seems little bit weird for me, but maybe I am wrong. – blackarrow Nov 30 '17 at 11:45
  • It seems more appropriate to make a citation, but coauthorship seems to much to ask for. – Per Alexandersson Nov 30 '17 at 11:55
  • I agree, since I did not take any part in writing the research paper. However, since the results were already presented as part of my Master's thesis, a citation would be logical, or is that too much as well? – blackarrow Nov 30 '17 at 12:10

You should normally be a co-author if you contributed a substantial amount of data (and be invited to at least check the paper before submission), but apparently the authors of the paper decided that your contribution was not big enough. It is hard to judge if they are right without knowing the details of who contributed what exactly.

If you are not co-author, an acknowledgement is perfectly normal: A Master thesis is usually not publicly available so there is no point to cite it. This also answers your first question: yes, it is fine to publish results from an MSc thesis in a paper.

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    The Master's thesis is available on Internet and can be downloaded from the website of University. Of course, it is hard to judge if my contribution was enough to be one of the co-authors. Rough said, results from experiments I performed, as well as of one other Master student were used to develop the model on how the material tested behaves. Some of the conclusions were already mentioned in my thesis. – blackarrow Nov 30 '17 at 12:43
  • With the paper already published, there is not much you can do about it unless you want to start a lot of trouble, and one paper is not worth that much trouble: it would more likely to impact you negatively than positively. My advice: stop worrying about it. It does not matter who is right, the fact is that you are not an author. Disappointing, but no big deal in the long run. You can still mention on your CV that you contributed to the paper. Whether your master thesis is cited or not does not make much difference, and it is still fine to use the data in a paper. – Louic Nov 30 '17 at 13:46
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    I disagree that it’s normal to not cite Masters theses because they’re not available online. You should always cite your sources, I dependent of how public ally accessible they are. – Stella Biderman Nov 30 '17 at 16:32
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    The master thesis is not a "source" because the work was done by the same team and they define the paper, published in a peer-reviewed journal, as the source. Just like people publish papers with data from their own PhD thesis without citing the thesis itself. – Louic Nov 30 '17 at 23:12

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