Acknowledging the

Steve Simon


Dear Professor Mean,

A while back you assisted me with stats on my paper. I am finally ready to submit and wanted to know how I should appropriately acknowledge you for your participation since you are no longer at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Dear Reader,

Thanks for asking. An acknowledgment is important, because there have been controversies recently about pharmaceutical companies hiring ghost writers. This scandal means that every primary author should bend over backwards to admit the source of any substantial assistance in the writing of the paper.

The actual form of the acknowledgment is less important. You can thank me at the end of the paper for my assistance or list me as a co-author, depending on the degree of assistance that you think I provided. I do not quibble about this, so it is entirely your choice.

You also have the choice of listing my current affiliation (P.Mean Consulting) or my affiliation at the time the assistance was provided (Department of Medical Research, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics). I don’t have a preference, though I suspect that some of the people at CMH would prefer that you list the latter affiliation.

If you do list me as a co-author, some people fuss about where they are listed in the author list. I do not really care. I’m never first author, of course, and that is the only location that makes a real difference in my opinion. So go ahead and list me second, third, fifteenth, or whatever.

I do need to see a copy of anything that my name is listed on in any fashion before it goes out. I will also provide a quick review if you want it, but can’t do any substantial revisions without a discussion of payment. Anything requiring more than an hour or two of effort should be talked about in advance. It is unlikely that your paper would need such an effort, but as an independent consultant, I have to limit the amount of work that I offer for free.

I’m glad that you are hoping to get this paper published. Good luck!

You can find an earlier version of this page on my original website.