Should I add my PI as a co-author if he has not contributed to my work?
I am a PhD student almost finishing my PhD. I am very close to submitting my manuscript. Working in a big lab, I was always supervised by the Postdocs in my lab and my PI never contributed significantly in any part of my research project. Do I need to add him as a co-author in my paper?
Yes, if the PI made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; You may not realize how much the PI is required to both get the grant and meetings to run the grant with the post-docs. You should find out about their contribution rather than assume.
Assigning authorship to your manuscript is a daunting task. Several early career researchers face an ethical dilemma about who should be added and who should not be added as a co-author. Authorship to manuscripts can help researchers to build and advance their careers. Therefore, authorship should be assigned wisely. Individuals who have made significant contribution to the work should be given due credit and assigned authorship. On the other hand, individuals who have made some contribution, but not significant enough to assign authorship should be acknowledged in the acknowledgement section. In order to deal with misconduct in the assignment of authorship, many journals now require that you specify the contribution of every author that is added to the author list. There are clear guidelines available on assigning authorship to manuscript by authoritarian organizations like the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
According to the guidelines stated by ICMJE, an author is someone who has-
- Made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work;
- Drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content;
- Given a final approval of the version to be published;
- Agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Therefore in your case, considering that the PI has not contributed in your work, you are not obliged to add his/her name as a co-author. However, you could add his/her name in the acknowledgement section considering that he/she has contributed towards acquiring grants for your project. You would also need to politely communicate this to your PI before you submit your paper for publishing to avoid any conflict/confrontation at a later stage.