Dissertation Partner being published but not me-same data



I am currently doing a masters and am completing my dissertation in collaboration with another student. It was a very extensive and time consuming project and we have collected all data together, with me probably collecting the majority. I have now found out that my supervisor has spoken to my dissertation partner about getting their dissertation published on several occasions, even giving a timeline and plan for later this year to get it submitted to journals. Not once has my supervisor mentioned anything of the sort to me.

Can this be published without my name on it even though it was a joint project? I'm so upset and feel like I have been completely pushed out and kept in the dark.

Thank you.


There are no generic rules about publication credit in academia, only general perceptions of what is/isn't cool (which varies between groups, institutions, and disciplines).

It sounds like you had a significant role in the work related to the potential output. Author credit to me would seem appropriate. This is probably an introduction to politics, in academia. In my experience, navigate as follows...

1) Are you sure you're being excluded from the output, as you're working forwards from a worst case scenario, it seems. Unless barriers are being put up I would just speak to the colleague and supervisor in terms of 'so I heard there's a plan to publish the data I helped collect? Just let me know what I can input to the paper' (and input your name as a co-author while you do it!) as this is a) helpful and b) not needlessly confrontational. Possibly do this with the supervisor first as they're far less likely to be massively invested in it, and your colleague is likely to follow their direction.

2) If it seems like they want to deliberately exclude you or incredibly pent-up on who co-authors what, then either a) they're jerks, and are needlessly burning bridges on the basis that having 1 additional author on a paper will meaningfully impact their careers; or b) there's a consensus you didn't meaningfully contribute and are trying to leech credit. In either case, you'd need to consider then confront and state your case very carefully.

Folks can probably advise in more detail on 2) but I'd really make sure 1) isn't the case first.

Avatar for rewt

I agree with abababa, usually a simple conversation can solve misunderstandings like this without any drama. I know in my field (engineering) there is a tendency sometimes to avoid putting someones name on a paper unless necessary.

A third alternative to abababa, is write your own paper with the data. Suggest to your supervisor that you think it is publishable and that you want to try. I have seen 2-3 papers come out of the same project that focus on different approaches/conclusions. If your work is different enough your supervisor might like the idea of 2 papers.