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How to determine authorship order quantitatively

April 19, 2013 Filed under Blog, Featured, Resources, Writing 

Feuding coauthors on your paper? Petty arguments about who did more work? Colleagues whining because you didn’t include them in the author list of your latest Nature paper?

I recently discovered the following paper, which reminded me of several articles that produce a quantitative approach to determining author order.

Authorship of scientific articles within an ethical-legal framework: quantitative model by Vallejo et al. (2012) in Universitas Scientiarum, Vol. 17 (3): 315-329.

Things got so bad with one of my papers that I had to resort to a quantitative method, and it kept the peace. Give it a try!

See also:

Schmidt, R. H., 1987: A worksheet for authorship of scientific articles. Bull. Ecol. Soc. Amer., 68, 8–10.

Ahmed, S. M., C. A. Maurana, J. A. Engle, D. E. Uddin, and K. D. Glaus, 1997: A method for assigning authorship in multiauthored publications. Fam. Med., 29 (1), 42–44.

Devine, E. B., J. Beney, and L. A. Bero, 2005: Equity, accountability, transparency: Implementation of the contributorship concept in a multi-site study. Amer. J. Pharm. Educ., 69, 455–459.

Tscharntke, T., M. E. Hochberg, T. A. Rand, V. H. Resh, and J. Krauss, 2007: Author sequence and credit for contributions in multiauthored publications. PLoS Biol., 5 (1), e18.

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2 Responses to “How to determine authorship order quantitatively”
  1. Curtis Wood says:

    Hi. This seems a good list to consider before hitting ‘submit’ in the manuscript submission system. I did my PhD jointly with “Rothamsted Research”; and there they had a form that one should complete before submitting a paper. I can’t quite remember, but it had similar fields to that mentioned in Vallejo et al. (such as conception, implementation and completion). I know some people are allergic to ‘red tape’ – but such a process increases the chances of correct attribution. Whilst in the excitement/closure processes of finally completing a manuscript, it is easy for one to overlook one of the contributions that made the work possible.

  2. Hi Curtis,

    That sounds like a wise approach, especially with large projects that may involve many support staff or other potential players that you may overlook when compiling the author list.



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