In my PhD thesis, I wish to describe a software toolbox that I created in equal parts along with 2 other people (say Alice and Bob).

Should I say

"This software toolbox was co-created with Alice and Bob?" or "This software toolbox was co-created by Alice and Bob?"

Since it is my Phd thesis, it is implicit that I am a creator. In fact, the university requires a covering statement that everything I say in the thesis is entirely my contribution, unless explicitly stated otherwise, properly acknowledged and appropriately referenced.

If it matters, this is in England, and although I am from India, I am not considered a native speaker by my institution.

  • Or along with ? – Dr. Shmuel Sep 28 '18 at 11:27
  • What do other people put in theses? Google ngrams isn't helping much. – Pam Sep 28 '18 at 11:34
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    @Shmuel, you meant "created along with", right? – krishnakumar G Sep 28 '18 at 11:37
  • You're asking your audience / readership to infer the unspoken but implicit highlighted element was co-created by myself along with Alice and Bob. If you only preserve the first preposition (by), that's not really a credible interpretation. If you're not going to explicitly mention yourself, the only way you could reasonably expect to be understood would be to use with (which forces the audience to recognise that there must be someone else involved besides Alice and Bob). – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '18 at 11:54
  • @FumbleFingers This is a PhD thesis, which is primarily an individuals own work, that of the author (A Phd thesis cannot be co-authored). However, these days, we live in a cross-disciplinary collaborative environment wherein better progress can be achieved by leveraging the expertise of another one for a specific sub-task. That is fine, as long as in the document that other contributor is properly acknowledged specifically identifying to what sub-task the other person contributed to. – krishnakumar G Sep 28 '18 at 12:03

"Created by Alice and Bob" means that only those two people were involved: "Co-created by Alice and Bob" I would expect to mean the same since co- means only that more than one person was involved, which the reader can tell from the word and. If you use either, you can expect a question about whether you actually played any part in the creation of this software.

"Created with..." or (better) "created together with..." would be the way to indicate that this was a three-person job.

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    Thank you for the accept, but it is usual to wait a day or two, in case somebody provides a better answer. – TimLymington Sep 28 '18 at 12:07
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    Or even "in conjunction with...". @OP: You say "it is implicit that I am a creator" but that isn't necessarily so. It would be quite normal for other people to have created a toolbox that you only use. – TripeHound Sep 28 '18 at 14:25
  • @TripeHound Not for a Phd thesis at a degree granting university – krishnakumar G Sep 28 '18 at 20:50

Both of these suggest that you were not included. The co- could just mean Alice and Bob did it together. So the co- serves no useful purpose here and should be removed unless you wish to emphasise that it was a co-production.


I created it with Alice and Bob


Alice and Bob created it with me


It was created by Alice, Bob and myself.

This last is, in my opinion, the most elegant and does not prioritize anyone.

To meet the requirements, you may wish to emphasise that it was a co-creation so you can add co- to any of these.

  • +1 , Using this will not be ambiguous about the involvement of OP. – Prem Sep 28 '18 at 14:18
  • +1 for getting rid of the passive voice, which is a main source of the trouble. – Acccumulation Sep 28 '18 at 19:31
  • I disagree: I would definitely understand “co-created with X and Y” to mean the authors were X, Y, and the current speaker/writer. – PLL Sep 28 '18 at 19:49

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