Scientific Publication without providing company affiliation

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Does anyone know what are the general policies for engineers working in a company to publish in scientific journals? Does one have to provide the company name as affiliation or leave it blank or something else?
 

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  • #2
AlephZero
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If you are publishing something related to the company's business, you will probably need to get the company's permission. A big company will probably have a formal way to handle this, possibly as part of its puiblic relations and/or intellectual property management activities. In a small company it might just be a matter of getting your manager's approval. Doing that is a good idea anyway, since you don't want to be personally liable for accidentally publishing something that is commercially sensitive!

If it's not related to the company, then I would have thought the company affilation is irrelevant - i.e. don't mention the company at all.
 
  • #3
Evo
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If you are publishing something related to the company's business, you will probably need to get the company's permission. A big company will probably have a formal way to handle this, possibly as part of its puiblic relations and/or intellectual property management activities. In a small company it might just be a matter of getting your manager's approval. Doing that is a good idea anyway, since you don't want to be personally liable for accidentally publishing something that is commercially sensitive!

If it's not related to the company, then I would have thought the company affilation is irrelevant - i.e. don't mention the company at all.
This brings up an interesting issue about intellectual property. I know that my company required that you clear any industry related information you intended to publish. This was due to trade secrets mainly. I don't consider engineers to be scientists, so I'm not sure what the OP is referring to.
 
  • #4
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I would recommend that you clear your paper with your firm's management, even though your subject matter is not related to work/products produced by your firm. You will be on the safe side by estabishing up front that your research was a self-sufficient effort and was not aided through your use of the company's lab equipment or other company resources.

OF
 
  • #5
dlgoff
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You would have to make sure that no company trade secrets are revealed.

A company can protect its confidential information through non-compete and non-disclosure contracts with its employees ...
 
  • #6
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I'm sorry that I was not clear in my OP. Say, I intend to conduct research in a different field than my company. Also, in that field my company has no interest at all and no company resource will be used. However, my company might or might not react badly about my research (I'm unsure). Is it necessary to bring my companies attention to me and show them I have other interests as well apart from their field? (Thus I intend to hide my affiliation as it has nothing to do with the journal where I might publish.)
 
  • #7
D H
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However, my company might or might not react badly about my research (I'm unsure). Is it necessary to bring my companies attention to me and show them I have other interests as well apart from their field? (Thus I intend to hide my affiliation as it has nothing to do with the journal where I might publish.)
You might well be putting not just your job but your very career at risk. How companies view such actions greatly from company to company, and from country to country, but I suggest you very carefully read your company's employee ethics manual and any intellectual property statements you signed at your employment (or in some places, once a year).

Your employer may be of the opinion that every idea you have is the property of the company, whether or not the idea is work related and whether or not you came up with it during working hours. That your employer thinks this way might be hidden in some seemingly innocuous paragraph in the employee ethics manual or IP agreements. Read those things!

If this is the case, your employer can fire you for doing this work without approval. Your job is at risk. What's worse is that your entire career might be at risk. Suppose your do publish this paper and your employer fires you for doing so. When future prospective employers query the company regarding your employment at that company, the company can (at least in the US) report that you were fired for ethics violations. That is a death knell.


So read your employee manual, read your IP agreement, and if things look at all dubious, check with your manager. If the work truly isn't work related, they'll probably give an okay.
 
  • #8
AlephZero
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I don't consider engineers to be scientists, so I'm not sure what the OP is referring to.
I think I know what you mean, but engineers working in industry publish papers in peer reviewed journals, so I'm not sure there is a real difference between engineers and scientists over this.
 
  • #9
turbo
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I think I know what you mean, but engineers working in industry publish papers in peer reviewed journals, so I'm not sure there is a real difference between engineers and scientists over this.
There is no difference IMO. You don't even have to be a licensed engineer to publish. Is your premise logical and supportable and able to be replicated by others? Then you can publish. There is no "secret key" to the journals.
 
  • #10
Evo
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I think I know what you mean, but engineers working in industry publish papers in peer reviewed journals, so I'm not sure there is a real difference between engineers and scientists over this.
Yes, there are many journals for engineers. But he specifically said "scientific publication", so I was wondering if he actually meant science with nothing to do with his engineering job. That would be a somewhat different issue. Which he seems to be pointing to in his post #6. But as others have pointed out, he needs to check his company's policies.
 
  • #11
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There is no difference IMO. You don't even have to be a licensed engineer to publish. Is your premise logical and supportable and able to be replicated by others? Then you can publish. There is no "secret key" to the journals.
I believe you need to support the premise with valid data to publish your paper in an engineering journal. Unless OP is working in a college lab as partime, I wonder how/where he will be carrying out the research. If he wants to use the company data then without doubt, he will need to provide the company affiliation.

It's easy to publish a conference paper but journals require you to do quite a lot of work before they will accept your work.
 
  • #12
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Thank you for all your useful comments. I wouldn't need company hour or resource. I plan to do it at my spare time and running small code in my laptop. However, D_H is right, and I shouldn't risk my career for it. I'd rather carry on my work in my spare time and if I have to publish I'll negotiate with my manager to ensure that there wont be any problem.

@Evo - You're very correct and believe me that's the way engineers are wanted to be in industry. It's all about completing a project in time with "mundane" scientific knowledge. However, I'm a little different from that when I have enough time. :P
 
  • #13
Astronuc
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The ownership of one's own research (in areas not related to or claimed by one's company) should be spelled out in one's employment contract. I specifically made sure that there was a clause in my employment contract that in areas outside of my work, I retained certain proprietary rights. Read one's contract with regard to IP and proprietary rights to IP outisde of the areas of the company current interest.

I was told at one company that outside of working hours, professional employees should be thinking about ways to market the company or otherwise develop business. One contract attempted to restrict what I could do outside of working hours and claimed proprietary rights on any IP I might develop outside of normal working hours. I think that some folks do not realize that they forfeit certain rights and privileges in their employment contract.
Does anyone know what are the general policies for engineers working in a company to publish in scientific journals? Does one have to provide the company name as affiliation or leave it blank or something else?
One might be required to notify one's company and obtain permission if one wishes to publish unrelated work in a scientific or engineering journal.
 

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