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Deciding the order of authors on a paper


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How to Order Author Names and Why That Matters
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In mathematics, the authors are usually listed in alphabetical order this is the so-called Hardy-Littlewood Rule. This usage is described in the "Information Statements on the Culture of Research and Scholarship in Mathematics" section of the American Mathematical Society website, [5] specifically the statement: Joint Research and Its Publication. In other branches of knowledge such as economics, business, finance or particle physics , it is also usual to sort the authors alphabetically.

The medical field defines authorship very narrowly. According to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals , designation as an author must satisfy four conditions. The author must have:.

Acquisition of funding, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship. Many authors - especially those in the middle of the byline - do not fulfill these authorship criteria. Between about the average number of authors in medical papers increased, and perhaps tripled. The APA acknowledge that authorship is not limited to the writing of manuscripts, but must include those who have made substantial contributions to a study such as "formulating the problem or hypothesis, structuring the experimental design, organizing and conducting the statistical analysis, interpreting the results, or writing a major portion of the paper".

Like medicine, the APA considers institutional position, such as Department Chair, insufficient for attributing authorship. Neither the Modern Languages Association [11] nor the Chicago Manual of Style [12] define requirements for authorship because usually humanities works are single-authored and the author is responsible for the entire work.

From the late 17th century to the s, sole authorship was the norm, and the one-paper-one-author model worked well for distributing credit.

In particular types of research, including particle physics, genome sequencing and clinical trials, a paper's author list can run into the hundreds. In , the Collider Detector at Fermilab CDF adopted a at that time highly unorthodox policy for assigning authorship. CDF maintains a standard author list.

All scientists and engineers working at CDF are added to the standard author list after one year of full-time work; names stay on the list until one year after the worker leaves CDF.

Every publication coming out of CDF uses the entire standard author list, in alphabetical order. Other big collaborations, including most particle physics experiments, followed this model. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in reported on a clinical trial conducted in 1, hospitals in 15 different countries, involving a total of 41, patients.

There were authors listed in an appendix and authorship was assigned to a group. Large authors lists have attracted some criticism. They strain guidelines that insist that each author's role be described and that each author is responsible for the validity of the whole work.

Such a system treats authorship more as credit for scientific service at the facility in general rather that as an identification of specific contributions. I have not been aware of any valid argument for more than three authors per paper, although I recognize that this may not be true for every field. Alternatively, the increase in multi-authorship might be a consequence of the way scientists are evaluated.

Traditionally, scientists were judged by the number of papers they published, and later by the impact of those papers. The former is an estimate of quantity and the latter of quality. Both methods were adequate when single authorship was the norm, but vastly inflate individual contribution when papers are multi-authored. Furthermore, there is no cost to giving authorship to individuals who made only minor contribution and, actually, there is an incentive to do so.

Hence, the system rewards heavily multi-authored papers. This problem is openly acknowledged, and it could easily be "corrected" by dividing each paper and its citations by the number of authors.

Finally, the rise in shared authorship may also reflect increased acknowledgment of the contributions of lower level workers, including graduate students and technicians, as well as honorary authorship, while allowing for such collaborations to make an independent statement about the quality and integrity of a scientific work. Honorary authorship is sometimes granted to those who played no significant role in the work, for a variety of reasons.

Until recently, it was standard to list the head of a German department or institution as an author on a paper regardless of input. However, it is plausible to expect that it is still widespread, because senior scientists leading large research groups can receive much of their reputation from a long publication list and thus have little motivation to give up honorary authorships. A possible measure against honorary authorships has been implemented by some scientific journals, in particular by the Nature journals.

They demand [24] that each new manuscript must include a statement of responsibility that specifies the contribution of every author. The level of detail varies between the disciplines. Senior persons may still make some vague claim to have "supervised the project", for example, even if they were only in the formal position of a supervisor without having delivered concrete contributions.

The truth content of such statements is usually not checked by independent persons. However, the need to describe contributions can at least be expected to somewhat reduce honorary authorships. In addition, it may help to identify the perpetrator in a case of scientific fraud.

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Researchers develop a theoretical model to reduce antibiotic resistance. Courses Stem cell divisions in tissues indicate cancer risk. Deciding the order of authors on a paper. Shazia Khanam Oct 16, , views. Save to read later. Republish on your website.

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We suggest that the first author should get credit of the whole impact, the last author half, and the credit of the other authors is the impact divided by the number of all authors [as in 2 ]. There is a trend to detail each author's contribution following requests of several journals [ 7 ]. This should also be used to establish the quantified credit.

Our suggestion of explicit indication of the method applied, including the simple method of weighing authors' rank in publications in a quantitative way, will avoid misinterpretations and arbitrary a posteriori designations of author contributions. Multidisciplinary scientific collaboration indeed must be encouraged, but we need to avoid misinterpretations so that current and future scientific communities can evaluate author contributions.

We applied the SDC approach for the sequence of authors. Teja Tscharntke is Professor and Tatyana A. The authors received no specific funding for this article.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Jan This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Open in a separate window. Acknowledgments We applied the SDC approach for the sequence of authors. Multiauthor papers on the rise.

Why does author order matter?

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Jan 16,  · In multiauthored papers, the first author position should clearly be assigned to the individual as suggested by previous authors. Authorship order only reflects relative contribution, whereas evaluation committees often need quantitative measures. University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany. Michael E. Hochberg is Research.

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It’s rare that an article is authored by only one or two people anymore. In fact, the average original research paper has five growing list of collaborative research projects raises important questions regarding the author order for research manuscripts and the impact an author list has on readers’ perceptions.

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The complete guide to writing a brilliant research paper If you are looking for help in writing your research paper and want all the Deciding the order of authors on a paper. Shazia Khanam | Oct I am going to discuss the order in which author names should be included in a multi-author paper. The order of authors on a scientific paper. Author order research paper. The aim of the journal is to stimulate research and discussion of public policy problems in Canada. When a book, paper, or article has no identifiable author, cite it as Anon.

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In some fields, the first author is the one who is primarily responsible for the paper (what that means can vary, too), the last author is the lab head or primary grant-holder, and the order of authors in between is sometimes influenced by other norms. In a multiple author paper, what should be the order in which individual authors name come? Should it be alphabetically, seniority wise or by amount of contribution? Where should the research.