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How to resolve authorship disputes

We've had a great response so far debating the fairness of authorship rules. Give us your recommendations for how to change or improve the system of authorship by Wednesday, September 26 to help shape an upcoming feature in our Careers section

By | August 14, 2007

Judging from recent debacles over authorship of papers, such as occurred in the journal of Fertility and Sterility earlier this year when the omission of a coauthor led to accusations of plagiarism and the retraction of a prominent paper, authorship in science is not an issue to be taken lightly. Among the guidelines put forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, one states that authors should have made substantial intellectual contributions to a study, not have just provided oversight or funding for the project. Despite these clear guidelines, authorship disputes are common. How does your lab deal with these situations -- who should go on the author list and in what order? Tell us here.
When multidiscipline groups collaborate, the situation gets even more complicated. How does your lab manage author order when you collaborate with other labs both in your field and outside of your field? You've shared your opinions with us about whether the tenure process needs to change. Now help us shape an upcoming careers feature about authorship rules. Tell us your experiences here in a comment to this story, or email us at mail@the-scientist.com. Both good and bad, we want to hear what you have to say. Here are some other issues worth considering: What are some ways we can improve the system of deciding authorship? Should there be one standard that applies to all disciplines? Some have suggested making a contributions section on each paper a requirement for publication, what else can we do to alleviate unfairness in authorship or disputes over author order? Links within this article: A. McCook, "Controversial fertility paper retracted," The Scientist, April 27, 2007. http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53170 International Committee of Medical Journal Editors http://www.icmje.org/index.html Mail to The Scientist mail@the-scientist.com
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Avatar of: shashi

shashi

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

Most of the work is done by posdocs and technician. However, the senior authors gets the limelight which is not justified. There has to be a system like Hollywood movies where each person should gets a clear recognition of their work such as who has written the manuscript and who has edited and who has put the visual effect. This way most of the senior authors will be screened out as a reviewers

August 14, 2007

I think that there should be guidance from Journals as to whom gets Authorship and in what order. You must prove that a first author has done the majority of the intellectual and physical work for the experiments listed in the manuscript. In my lab, everyone has their own "projects". You are automatically the first author on any papers from your "project", but in this case you have also performed the majority of the work. The hierarchy of authorship then "flows down the line", with the most senior investigator (who is usually also the one with the biggest grant(s) funding the project) as the last author. This has worked fairly well throughout the years, and there is no hurt feelings or squabbles about authorship. In the previous lab I worked in, the first author also had a say in who else could be listed on the manuscript, and that created some conflict with petty personality clashes and some research assistants being left off of papers they in all rights had done 50% or more of the work for the paper, and at least deserved a second or third authorship for.
Avatar of: Robert Schmidt

Robert Schmidt

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

I give this to all of my graduate students.\n\nSchmidt, Robert H. 1987. A worksheet for authorship of scientific articles. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 68(1): 8-10.\n\n\nA WORKSHEET FOR AUTHORSHIP OF SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES\n\n Inclusion as an author in a scientific publication is important to many ecologists for reasons of prestige and advancement. Publications are a key factor in deciding on promotions for many ecologists at universities (Jackson and Prados 1983, Croll 1984). The order of listed authors on a paper is assumed to be an indication of the relative contribution of each of the included authors.\n\n Day (1983:15-19), Croll (1984), Kennedy (1985), and Jackson (1986) reviewed contemporary difficulties with decision-making in assigning authorship. Dickson et al. (1978) proposed guidelines for determining inclusion and ranking in authorship of a scientific publication. They divided research investigations into 5 areas: conception (including funding), design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation, and recommended that authors need to make, at a minimum, a significant contribution in manuscript preparation and in at least 1 other area. Authorship order was determined by a ranking of the number of areas in which significant contributions were made.\n\n This paper details a method for assisting in 1) deciding who is to be listed as an author on a paper, and 2) the ordinal ranking of authors listed on a paper. Of course, the best procedure for dealing with potential problems in assigning authorship is to deal with the issue at the beginning of a study. However, even preassigned roles can have complications, especially when personnel on a project change, or when responsibilities are transferred. In addition, people often underestimate the inputs required, especially time, for the various contributions, making initial agreements, in retrospect, seem unfair. The trend toward multiauthored papers may indicate how research is becoming increasingly interdisiplinary. In these situations a method for defining authorship roles becomes useful. This simple technique should be a useful decision-making aid, especially for projects with many researchers involved.\n\n A general framework for a decision-making worksheet, with an example, is given in Table 1. For each of the 5 parts of the research investigation (as defined by Dickson et al. 1978), the relative contribution of each participant is assessed. For each part, total contributions should equal 100 percent. When all contributions have been assigned, row values are added, resulting in a "score" of between 1 and 500. The relative contribution of all participants can then be assessed, and a natural break between subsets of scores on the lower end of contributions can be used as a cut off to delineate inclusion as an author. Scores can then be ranked for order of authorship.\n\n This technique has a number of assumptions. First, it assumes that each of the 5 parts of a research investigation are weighted equally. In some situations, this may not be the case. For example, a study may require minimal funding, the infrastructure of a principal investigator's laboratory may be essential to a successful project, or the data set may be collected over several years. This situation is easily dealt with by weighting the unbalanced part with a multiplier. For example, all values in the "data collection" column can be multiplied by 1.2, if data collection is judged to have been 20 percent more important than the other areas.\n\n Secondly, this technique assumes that all contributions can be judged fairly and accurately. This may not always be the case; indeed, it may be that this technique would only be necessary for papers where it is difficult to assess contributions. Two points are suggested for resolving this. First, it must be recognized that each contribution score is usually an estimate, and, as such, has some corresponding error associated with it. Therefore, the difference of only a few points between participant's scores is probably not sufficient to rate relative contributions, and other methods must be utilized to determine authorship ranking (perhaps even a flip of a coin). Secondly, a concensus-type survey system, such as the Delphi system ( Schuster et al. 1985), may be useful as an in-house tool for resolving difficult authorship assignment problems, although it is recognized that assigning authorship is rarely a democratic process.\n\n How are contributions assessed? One method that could be used is the actual time (hours, days, years) put into each of the 5 parts of the research investigation. A key problem here is the importance of experience. For example, how would you rate a 2 hour contribution to a project's design from a person with 30 years of experience with a 2 hour contribution from a person with little or no experience? Another method, admittedly subjective, is an assessment of the "importance" (relating to intellection) of contributions in each area. Again, a concensus type survey can be helpful in arriving at an acceptable and agreeable assessment. The development of some criteria for better assessment of contributions is needed. Time should be minimized while intellectual contribution should be maximized, yet it is easy to visualize a project in which time is a real measure of effort.\n\n Finally, there is a situation which involves teams of workers\ninvolved in 1 of the 5 parts. A realistic example would be having many workers assisting in data collection. Although the team's contribution may be large (perhaps 100 percent of the data collection), the relative contribution of each team member is small. The "points" given to this team may then be assigned to the team coordinator or leader. There is some question whether a "technician" should ever be a coauthor, especially if his or her sole responsibility is data collection or data collection and analysis, when the analysis is limited to performing perfunctory operations rather than interpretation (Dickson et al. 1978).\n\n It must be repeated that this system for determining authorship of scientific articles should not replace authors consulting with each other. However, it should be useful in delineating relative individual contributions when there are many, and it can help project coordinators or senior authors identify personnel whom have contributed in a significant way to a study's conclusion. Authorship is a symbol that means taking\nresponsibility for the contents of the paper (Jackson 1986). If the responsibility is there, inclusion as a coauthor is appropriate. This worksheet should be helpful in defining this responsibility.\n\nAcknowledgments\n For helpful comments on this essay, I thank C. Shugart, W. Howard, J. Aloi, R. Case, T. Tomasi, D. Anderson, R. Johnson, J. Tully, P. Moyle, and T. Salmon.\n\nLiterature Cited\nCroll, R. P. 1984. The noncontributing author: an issue of credit and responsibility. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 27:401-407.\n\nDay, R. A. 1983. How to write and publish a scientific paper. ISI Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.\n\nDickson, J. D., R. N. Conner, and K. T. Adair. 1978. Guidelines for authorship of scientific articles. Wildlife Society Bulletin 6:260-261.\n\nJackson, C. I. 1986. Honor in science. Sigma Xi, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.\n\n-----, and J. W. Prados. 1983. Honor in science. American Scientist 71:462-464.\n\nKennedy, D. 1985. On academic authorship. American Council of Learned Societies, Office of Scholarly Communications and Technology, Scholarly Communication Reprint 4:1-5.\n\nSchuster, E. G., S. S. Frissell, E. E. Baker, and R. S. Loveless, Jr.\n1985. The Delphi method: application to elk habitat quality. U. S. Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Research Paper INT-353.\n\n\n\n Table 1. Format and example of a worksheet for determining the relative contributions of participants in a research project. Values listed are percent relative contributions. In this example, a natural cut off for authorship status would be between Technicians C and D. Authorship ranking should be Leader A, Leader B, and Technician C. The number in parenthesis\nis a multilpier (see text for details).\n_______________________________________________________________\n[note table is split into 2 parts to facilitate e-mailing... I hope. There are 7 columns: investigator, conception, design, data collection, data analysis, writing, and total.]\n\nINVESTIGATOR CONCEPTION DESIGN\n (1.0) (1.0)\n______________________________________\n\nLeader A 50 90\n\nLeader B 50 10\n\nTechnician C 0 0\n\nTechnician D 0 0\n\n_____________________________________\nColumn totals 100 100\n\n\nDATA DATA\nCOLLECTION ANALYSIS WRITING TOTAL\n(1.0) (1.0) (1.0)\n_________________________________________\n0 70 40 250\n20 0 30 110\n40 30 30 100\n40 0 0 40\n__________________________________________\n100 100 100 500\n\n\nRobert H. Schmidt\nUtah State University\n
Avatar of: Ruth Rosin

Ruth Rosin

Posts: 117

August 14, 2007

A comment by an anonymous author, on the issue of "The Perils of Industrialization", suffices to show that the existence, or non-existence, of rules, matters little, when the practice often verges on the criminal. Except that there are no appropriate laws to deal with the problem; unless one could perhaps apply the Law Against Slave-Labor: \n\nAnd graduate students? \nby Name witheld due to concern over retaliation
Avatar of: Paul Keyser

Paul Keyser

Posts: 2

August 14, 2007

I work in a large computer-science institute, where authorship of patents and papers is important. Generally all members of the team (usually 3 to 12 people) who worked on the project are made co-authors, in alpha order, of any patent or paper. Sometimes a "primary contact" author is identified, usually the person who was primarily responsible for writing the contribution (but that person is not regularly the one who "contributed the most", a measure I have never heard being taken). Since the system is (known to be) standard, it is widely understood.
Avatar of: Nejat Duzgunes

Nejat Duzgunes

Posts: 10

August 14, 2007

Authorship is not a straightforward issue to which strict rules can be applied. I believe the most important consideration is fairness regarding contributions to the work.\n\nIf the project had not been thought of in the first place, it would never have been done. Thus, the person who has conceived of the idea should be included as an author. It would be ideal, of course, if that person goes on to contribute to the work to further justify authorship.\n\nIf no benchwork were done to test a hypothesis, the project would never have been carried out. Thus, the technician who carried out the work, regardless of his/her contribution to the idea, should be among the co-authors.\n\nIf a scientist provided a plasmid, an antibody, a cell line or transgenic mice that they generated and this element was crucial to the project, she/he should be offered a co-authorship. They can decline if they wish.\n\nIf the lab leader or a lab member generated the grant money that paid for the work, assuming that the grant application actually proposed the project or a very similar one, they should either be among the authors or be offered authorship.\n\nI remember a paper with 3 co-authors, and showing one differential scanning calorimetry scan. The authors thanked someone else for the scan in the acknowledgement! This is an example of unfair co-authorship. In another example, a paper based on numerous electron micrographs generated by a technician merely acknowledged the technician.\n\nLab groups should realize the importance of recognizing important contributions to the work. Colleagues who are slighted by being bumped off the authors list will be left with a sour taste and will be unwilling to contribute to projects in the future.\n
Avatar of: Naren Vyavahare

Naren Vyavahare

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

In our lab the student to whom the project is assigned and done most of the work is given first authorship. Others who not only helped but made some intellectual contributions will be added to the list. Correspoding author (myself) is always the last one.
Avatar of: Vig Natio Usk

Vig Natio Usk

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

The unfortunate case is that Copernicus' "Commentariolus" would be rejected by 99.99% of today's publications, given their current editorial methods but the knowledge available in 1514.\n\nWe err on the side of dogma.
Avatar of: Frank Jenkins

Frank Jenkins

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

In my lab, authorship requires that an individual performed one of the following:\n1. Performed the experiemnts reported in the paper\n2. Wrote or helped write the manuscript \n3. Helped design the experiments \n4. Analyzed the results.\n\nGenerally, first author is the person who performed the majority of the experiements and wrote the first draft of the paper. After that the listing is based first on those who performed the experiments followed by those who helped design the experiments or analyzed results and finally anyone who may have had a significant role in writing the paper (but none of the other requirements). As senior author, my position is generally the last author.
Avatar of: Jorge S. Burns

Jorge S. Burns

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

This is a very important question, because it has such direct personal consequences. There are rules and regulations governing authorship that can be found in guidelines to some journals and also in reports from the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE)...but not everyone will be aware of such guidelines. Key factors governing authorship are one's degree of responsibility and ability to defend the contents as well as contribution to the conceptual framework and study design. Questionable ethics often surround situations of "gratuitous" or "gift" authorship from a department director, but often the input from a research director is more than what may be apparent to a "foot soldier" at the bench. Generally, one hopes that a sense of fair play prevails and it generally does. Perhaps the best advice to someone who feels aggrieved about not being included or receiving enough recognition is to first ask themselves why. If there is genuine unfairness, one should be able to find a senior mentor to help mediate the necessary correction. Certainly, having a frank discussion of authorship at a relatively early stage in a project can alleviate tensions at the end. For those who have had a real injustice dealt, well, the best advice is probably not to dwell on dissatisfaction with the past, but to write one's way to a brighter future...this has never been easier now that we write without ink...the more publications, the merrier!
Avatar of: GKo

GKo

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

There is a chapter "Writing Papers" in the book "At the Helm- A Laboratory Navigator" by Kathy Barker, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, with great description about the guideline on authorship. My lab uses this guideline as the basis for the authorship.
Avatar of: ss

ss

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

The authorship rules are always twisted in favour of the PI and faculties. Recently I came across a paper where a faculty from other institution published meta-analysis on the data where the postdocs who were generated the data were not on the MS but all the PI's and Faculties were on it. After quering the mentor the Postdoc was told that he has not contributed anything for the paper, and since the data is already published his name cannot be put. My question to the editors and all the senior scientists is then why the name of all the faculties and PI was on that paper, their name was also on the previous paper when the data was published. I think there should be a rule to put the name of post docs because he is instrumental in generating the data which was used by some conviving faculties to publish their names on all the future metaanalysis papers.
Avatar of: pdf

pdf

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

The article cites "According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, authors who should be given credit on scientific studies should have "made substantial contributions to conception and design of studies, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data on a paper; been involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and have had final approval of the version of the paper to be published."\n\nIn my view the Scientist is still scratching the surface very superficially on the primary authorship issues, while i am expecting someone to take a deeper look at the other issues such as \n1. what should be the authorship after postpublication of the data when some other faculty does the metaanalysis on the published data. We do see the name of all the faculties on the metaanalysis MS except the post docs and graduate students who worked to generate that data the reason given is "the pdf/GS did not contributed to the study". \n\n2. the problem of bumping off the authors as sugested by one poster.\n\n3. preferential selection is still the issue in some cases.\n\nIn my view the rules of authorship are now too old, they need a long awaited overhaul
Avatar of: A. N. Author

A. N. Author

Posts: 1

August 14, 2007

I have worked in a different labs where a number of policies regarding authorship have been applied, from the PI being first author with all other contributors following alphabetically, to the person who carried out most of the experiments being first followed by other people who contributed and the PI last.\n\nI have no problem with any of these systems as long as everyone who contributes including technicians is recognised. \n\nThe real problem comes with granting agencies who assume a particular system has been used al the way through ones career path, I regularly get stupid comments of the PI only has X number of first author and Y number of last author papers. Although if they actually looked at the papers they would realise the multi-disciplinary nature of the paper and note the fact that there can only ever be one author listed first and one author listed last, however in effect several of the authors may have made equal contributions and the papers may in fact have resulted from grants where there are two or more PI's contributing equally but who each have expertise in different areas.\n\nMost of the pressure on authors arises not from the need for their contribution to be recognised, but from the ridiculous way the "authorship" of papers can be used to determine a persons future career path.
Avatar of: Cepheus

Cepheus

Posts: 2

August 14, 2007

This is the general format carried out in my lab:\n\nThe student who has done all the labwork gets first authorship only if he writes the paper (or at least a workable draft). If he doesn't, first authorship goes to the person who wrote the paper. I think this is fair, its easier on the head of the lab and also it motivates the students to write.
Avatar of: Ruth Rosin

Ruth Rosin

Posts: 117

August 14, 2007

Really, what's the point in discussing this issue when no official organization authorized to issue rules that would be binding on all scientific-researchers, even just in the U.S., let alone in all other countries all over the world, even exists at all?
Avatar of: XYZ

XYZ

Posts: 1

August 15, 2007

I totally agree that it is not fair always. Some times it hearts very much to the unjustified author and it may even ruin his/her carrier.\n\nThe sad thing is majority it happens in well known and highly productive labs. The Big Boss never look in to the projects only job is get money and keep attending meetings . Then there will be a senior postdoc/ Asst prof will be taking care of project and lab and post doc/ technician will do entire bench work etc. Big boss needs corresponding authorship and if post doc/technician gets first author as he/she deserves then what happens to senoir postdoc/asst prof ? So big boss will care much and favors to senior post-doc/asst prof than the person who did bench work as big boss depends on senior-postdoc/asst prof . Another sad thing is big boss writes during grant review/project review that the author does not have enough first author publications and he/she is very junior in the field, so he/ she may not be able to justify to award this grant or project. \n\nAnd you keep writing there are many episodes !!!
Avatar of: busuan

busuan

Posts: 1

August 15, 2007

One does science soley because one loves science.\n\nThe sad reality is scientists are people first. Bread and butter are always at the highest priority.\n\nAuthorship (and its ranking) is the token into next round of natural selection. Rules? Survival is the only rule. Hence in the real science community, there are so many wonderfully designed rules, and also no rules.\n\nBut one still does science, because love could not care less about rules or no rules.

August 15, 2007

The authors of the paper should be the people who does the work, and the guide under whom they work. Others who has helped but not contributed either at work or while writting paper can be acknowledged. As for the order of names, it is better to leave it at guide's discretion.
Avatar of: Javier Rey

Javier Rey

Posts: 1

August 15, 2007

I agree with the comment ?Authorship is not the real problem by A. N. Author? about the importance of authorship for promotion and getting grants. Probably, that is the major problem. Any rules on authorship should take into account this important aspect of the problem. I actually have no clear idea about the possible rules to regulate authorship, except for the obvious cases. Although debatable, PhD students and postdocs are obvious authors to sign a paper. As it goes to technicians?, I?m not that sure. They are professional people doing experiments. Their merits are not measured by the same scale as scientists. Writing papers or patents are not among their tasks. Of course, there are many different types of technicians and many exceptions to this general view of the role of technicians in research, and not always they should be excluded from signing a paper. However, assuming that technicians should sign papers, based on the argument that they do the experiments that support the discoveries described on them, lead us to ask the question of where to set the limits? For example, in doing a research that involves a lot of DNA sequencing, if the sequencing is performed by a company, should the company sign the paper? No, in my opinion. They are paid for doing that, and in fact they are doing a technician task.\nOther aspect to consider in paper authorship is the differences among disciplines. Whereas in most Biosciences the author position has a meaning, this is not the case in other areas like Physics, for example, where authors usually sign in alphabetical order. How the contribution level of each author to the paper can be measured in this way? The extreme cases are those with more than 100-200 authors, not so unusual among high energy physics papers. Of course, they sign in alphabetical order. It is not quite convincing to assume that every author in those papers have contributed equally to it. Even in the case that all authors must be recognized in a paper, principal authors and collaborators should be differenced. One possibility is that journals distinguish among these two types of authors in the author?s line.\nAlthough I am not familiar with patent authorships policy, it appears to me that the authorship is less a problem in this field of exploitation the research results. Perhaps the same rules that apply to patent authorship could be applied to paper authorship. The main big difference among both types of property rights, the intellectual and the industrial, is quite evident, in the latter money is probably the main player and this helps quite to have clearer ideas about who must sign. Intellectual property is easily more generously shared.\nWhatever the consensus for authorships will be, I think that this problem will largely change in the future (probably near). New ways of communicating research will do the change. Communicating research discoveries writing a ?classic? paper has probably not a large future ahead. The question is: what is the most important motivation of a scientific publication? The observations and interpretations or the ?literature? on it? When reading a paper, most people do it diagonally. They are only interested in what is new on it. Vastly, the very large majority of the scientific publications today are variations of a handful amount of the same topics, just turns of the same spirals, only a few carry really new concepts or discoveries. For example, involving a specific kinase in a novel pathway leading to cancer is probably a very significant discovery, relevant to health and economically important. However, there is nothing really new on it, it is another observation within the ?mainstream?. But not misunderstand my argument. This research is absolutely necessary and relevant. It is only somehow expected, and thus not really a paradigm breaker. These discoveries should be described in a much more direct manner, communicating the observations and the conclusions. A classic standard scientific article is not necessarily the only, and certainly not the best, way to do it. This should be more an item of a knowledge database than a research paper. Reviews and ?out of the mainstream? articles are different. The first are written mostly for scientists (people in general) outside the topic they address, and the writing must be cared to communicate properly the state of the art on a specific topic. When writing ?out of the mainstream? articles, careful writing is really instrumental, since most readers will not be prepared to receive it so easily.\nSo, I think future will bring to us radically different manners in communicating research results and discoveries. Traditional articles (today?s articles) are the adequate way for paper supported publications. Developments in electronic communications, digital data storage and management, the internet virtual multidimensional world, wiki spaces, etc., offer much richer means for sharing scientific knowledge and advances. Scientists may soon consider publishing their investigations using these media in manners better suited to their more ample possibilities, and not necessarily dependent on a major publisher. Not least, this will break the tyranny of some publishers and some scientific elites that impose their ?way of doing things? in the market. In this potential future scenario, meriting researchers should go a different way, authorship, in the classic sense we use it today, will not serve anymore.\n
Avatar of: Navid Nourani

Navid Nourani

Posts: 1

August 15, 2007

In our lab, the persons contributing directly to the outcome of the paper are credited with authorship. Other people in the lab that have helped with testing and our engineering support staff are accredited in the acknowledgment section.
Avatar of: Dr. Pawan Kulwal

Dr. Pawan Kulwal

Posts: 1

August 16, 2007

The lab where I worked for about five years the rules for authorship are defined. The student or the post doc who has been assigned the particular research work and has done most of the work yielding the data for the paper is given the first authorship; ofcourse he has to write the draft manuscript first. After the manuscript has been finalised and ready for submission, group leader asks the first author about the student(s) who has helped him in this work and is then asked to explain the amount of work done and if the leader is satisfied is given the authorship at second and subsequent positions. The group leader is ofcourse the corresponding author.
Avatar of: anon

anon

Posts: 2

August 16, 2007

A unique situation is authorship at the modern interdisciplinary laboratory. These government or university laboratories tackle cutting edge technologies, and require diverse scientific expertise. Scientific staff may include biologists, chemists, physicists, and, depending on the area, more applied pharmaceutical scientists and engineers. This diverse background brings with it issues related to the customs of publication in these various fields. This is uncharted territory and ripe for disagreement. Consensus as to who the primary contributors to a published work are, and the order of authorship, is not straight forward. Each field has its own precedent. Additionally, regardless of the manuscript?s focus, the work is often a conglomeration of efforts, with many participants feeling entitlement for authorship. Regardless, first author position is given to the project lead and primary writer of the manuscript. Commonly, the directors of these labs require last authorship, taking their lead from university and government laboratories. This is, however, quite a different situation from more focused academic or government powerhouse laboratories, where ultimately the principle investigator is the primary grant writer and a recognized expert in the field. Often the interdisciplinary directors are appointed, and do not provide the laboratory funding. Additionally, the director commonly has little or no expertise in the specific manuscript discipline, and their intellectual contribution to the published work can be minimal. A recent situation comes to mind, where a post doc and mentor received first and second author, respectively, and last author went to the lab director. The director had no experience in the field, and the staff scientist mentor felt their contribution was not being adequately recognized, despite being the corresponding author. The staff scientist?s feeling was that first and last author are given credit in the life sciences as the primary intellectual contributors. The other side of the coin is that these directors can not possibly be experts in all areas of research, and the reputation of the director as the laboratory head is important.
Avatar of: Danny Kingsley

Danny Kingsley

Posts: 1

August 16, 2007

Any discussion on authorship issues needs first to acknowledge that the concept of 'science' or 'scientists' as a single unified entity is nonsensical. What is true for one discipline is decidedly not true for others. \nI have interviewed scientists from several disciplines as part of my empirical work for a PhD in Science Communication and was astonished at the way authorship works in, for example Chemistry. In what appears to be very much a master/apprentice system, the senior scientist does the thought experiment, and then asks the post graduate students and postdocs to actually conduct the experiments. The senior scientist then writes the paper. So in this discipline at least it is quite possible for the person writing the paper to have not conducted any of the practical work, and those who conducted the experiement to have nothing to do with the writing of the paper. As an early career chemist you can have many papers listing you as an 'author' but have had nothing to do with composing the text that appears in that paper.\nThis contrasts strongly with, say, social science areas where supervisors are relucatant to contribute in any way to a paper for fear of 'influencing' the thinking of the student who is writing the paper.\nSo a definition of 'authorship' would be helpful - do you mean people who are composing the words, or the people who are doing the work? In an ideal world these would be the same people, in practice it is often not the case.
Avatar of: lori williams

lori williams

Posts: 1

August 16, 2007

I think the problem is not with assigning authorship, but in the ways we use the information. As others have commented, the precedents for how authorships are assigned certainly vary between disciplines, and between institutions and they also may have changed over time. Given that information and the fact that the average number of authors per papers is growing and most science is interdisciplinary, to me, it doesn't make much sense to assign so much importance to someone's place on an author list. I think any discussion about authorship should also include a much broader discussion on how else to recognize scientific contributions. Number of first or last authored papers is an incomplete measure of a person's scientific contributions.
Avatar of: Michael Pyshnov

Michael Pyshnov

Posts: 10

August 16, 2007

The scheme perpetrated by my former PhD supervisor was simple: she declared me a "lapsed candidate" and, when I left, published my research as her own. (See the details and the scanned documents at http://ca.geocities.com/uoftfraud/)\n\nWhen I found her three plagiarised papers and complained, the University of Toronto covered up the fraud by FALSIFYING THE RULES OF AUTHORSHIP: \n\n1. Although the University of Toronto definition of plagiarism ("Representation as one's own the work of another without permission and/or without due acknowledgement") specifies "the work" (not only words of another), the university investigators declared that since my former supervisor wrote the papers herself, there was no plagiarism. \n2. The university had admitted that "the theoretical foundation" of my research was based on my article published in The Journal of Theoretical Biology a year before I came to this university. But, they said that my former supervisor "repeated" and "replicated" my research and that she is not guilty. (Can anyone acquire the authorship of the discoveries made by Newton after repeating his experiments?)\n3. The university had declared that my former supervisor "salvaged" my research.\n4. The university stated that since I was receiving for five years "financial support", my former supervisor "had a responsibility to the sources of the research funding" to "salvage" my research. (Could my scholarship, the best in Canada at the time, take away or buy my authorship? Can the money change the fact of authorship?)\n5. My former supervisor had presented what she called "the concept of intellectual property" in which she stated that my discoveries belong to "community" and, therefore, she had right to publish my research. \n6. My former supervisor had declared that I "forfeited a publication for naught". (Can the fact of authorship be "forfeited"?)\n7. Therefore, University of Toronto, in fact, expropriated the authorship of my PhD research of five years and reassigned it to my former supervisor.\n8. This falsification of authorship and of the very rules of authorship has left my academic record falsified also. My former supervisor stole the research before it was published by me and before I wrote the thesis. In fact, she prevented me from writing the thesis. Fortunately, there are internal documents (scanned on my web site, see above) from which my authorship can be ascertained unequivocally, but this is nowhere in the public record.\n\nMy research and discoveries are not "salvaged", they are published by a person who never made them and who had only a vague impression of them, but who knew their scientific value very well. These published papers are defective and incomplete to say the least. \n\nTwo years ago, a computer model of cell proliferation in tissue was published on the Internet (www.cell-division-program.com), continuing my work and proving an important concept developed earlier. For the first time it is possible to theoretically understand and actually see it on the functioning model - how the cells that are always bound together within the structure of a tissue can maintain a fast proliferation rate without breaking the structure, and how the stem cells can remain in a tissue for a long time while producing other cells. However, I have no access to a laboratory and cannot conduct experimental research, my academic record being falsified. Ironically, in one of her earlier recommendations, my former supervisor had stated: "Mr. Pyshnov's demonstrated creativity in conceiving of this novel approach plus his superb technical skills uniquely qualify him to carry out these studies of far reaching significance."\n\nThat a university has power to falsify the rules of authorship is an outrage. But this is only a part of the problem. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) that had investigated the case, had FULLY SUPPORTED the falsified rules of authorship presented to it by the University of Toronto.\n\nThe rules of authorship, no matter how different they can be in details, certainly do not allow expropriation of authorship or any fraudulent schemes such as "salvaging" of research. No wonder that University of Toronto is trying hard to prevent any public disclosure of the documents written by its officials. During the nine months of my protest on the campus, the campus press was forbidden to say a single word about my protest and the case. \n\nIt has recently been admitted in the Journal of Canadian Medical Association that "It?s the classic Canadian response to a problem like scientific misconduct" - "Deny, deny, deny. Sweep it under the carpet." Canadian academia already has a disastrous record of concealment of fraud (see http://pyshnov.wordpress.com) Not a word, however, has been published about my case.\n\nRAISING THE QUESTIONS ABOUT RULES OF AUTHORSHIP IN SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY SEEMS PRETTY USELESS WHEN SUCH RULES CAN BE PERVERTED AND ABOLISHED WITHOUT PROMPTING ANY REACTION FROM SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.\n\nI WISH "THE SCIENTIST" WOULD REPORT AND DISCUSS THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO DOCUMENTS.\n\nMichael Pyshnov\n
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xyz

Posts: 1

August 17, 2007

I am anguished by the last entry of Mr Michael Pyshnov. This is the sad fact of life in the US and Canadian Universities. Not all, but many professors regularly and routinely plagiarize with impunity, with the instruments of the University and Administration shielding their nefarious activities. The postdocs and students (especially from abroad or minorities) are given some selective lab recognition vs others at the time that they are carrying on the work, which is often excellent and involves long hours of painstaking research. This modus operandi adopted by the supervisors, which accords special recognition to the researcher, often keeps jealousies and rivalries intact and flourishing in the lab with other workers. When the time is ripe for these individuals to leave or they are forced to leave often towards the end of their projects or tenures, they are discredited enough (due to complaints made by co-workers and colleagues or perpetuation of this opinion by the supervior himself or herself)to justify stealing all their data and work. I have personally witnessed supervisors publicly making vicious fun of english writing capabilities and work of people, who have done excellent work but originate from non-english speaking countries, after they have left. The supervisor then has a free hand in publishing the individual's work often with himself or herself as the first author and justify the deletion of the name of the individual who did all the work, since that person left under disgrace and has been discredited enough by this time.\n\nI personally believe the the value system in these Universities is completely twisted. I also blame the postdocs and students who take these injustices lying down and are too self-centered and scared to support each other. They often get to know about the deed only after it has been committed. The system, perpetuates fear and clearly promotes disunity since 'letters of recommendations' and a 'good-word about behavior' are (in my opinion) over-valued in this system. \n\nI believe that this problem can be resolved only if there are rules which follow a system of submission of the work done by a postdoc, a student or anyone else, who is about to leave the lab to a Review Committee comprising of a panel of officials both from outside and inside the University so that this committee is aware of the work done by the individual. The posdocs (and other individuals) who feel that they have done the bulk of the work should also inform this committee, that they feel justified in writing their own manuscripts and publishing them. The manuscript may then be written in collaboration with the supervisor and other collaborators. This committee should be changed every five years and should preferaly be an elected committee involving individuals from all communities. \n\nThere is also an immense need for postdocs and students to look outside of their own narrow, petty individual benefits and to overcome their fear and inertia to address these issues.
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Michael Pyshnov

Posts: 10

August 17, 2007

I agree, xyz, this is about fear. But the fear should not have played a deciding role for the academic press. Routinely, the allegations of academic fraud are reported and investigated by the press (long before it goes to the court). \n\nThe University of Toronto case is unique: despite my agonizing efforts, continuing as we speak, and began in 1993 when I discovered the plagiarised papers and received the answer from the Department saying "There is no evidence of plagiarism...", no academic journal published a single word. \n\nThis is unique also because for the academia it is, first, the case of the University of Toronto and NSERC, the case of Canadian academia, and only then - the case of Michael Pyshnov. IT IS THIS MONSTROUS FALSIFICATION OF ACADEMIC LAW THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE HUGE HEADLINES IN ACADEMIC JOURNALS. It is also the case of ruined scientific research.\n\nThis is a unique case because the evidence is in the documents and the documents are written by the perpetrators themselves, by the university professors. There is no problem whatsoever with reading the evidence. There is also no problem with hearing "the other side", their "justifications" are there, in the documents.\n\nThe University of Toronto knows that they have nothing to be concerned about until they make the headlines. It is the unique case of hardened criminals.\n\nAgain, my appeal goes to The Scientist.\n\nMichael Pyshnov.

August 17, 2007

Authorship assignment must be sorted out first when collaboration is sought with other professionals. Generally the rules are that the person who contributes the most becomes first author while the senior author is usually the person who provides idea and/or guidance.\nSome years back we asked a faculty member at another university to quantiate collagen in heart samnples of our experimental animals. We were going to incorporate him as a co-author. However. when the findings turned out to be interesting he insisted on being the first as well as the corresponding author. In this case I was assigning first authorship to fellow who did most of work in our laboratory. This paper remains unpublished because we had not settled on order of authorship.\nThe lesson here is to have prior understanding on authorship documented so that unfortunate situations do not arise on account of those few who wish to scuttle the project
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still writing

Posts: 3

August 17, 2007

1st authorship in my lab goes to the one who writes the manuscript, analyzes the data, sets up the structure of the manuscript, etc. co-authors are those who contributed to the work. However, I know there are labs where the 1st author did not write the paper but the senior author did. While in grad school, a few of my fellow grad students were winning "best research paper" awards when they didn't write the paper, their advisor did. Most advisors say that writing a manuscript takes too long if they waited for the grad student or postdoc to write it. So apparently, allowing someone else to write a paper and put your name as 1st author is acceptable, whether you did the work or not. I disagree with this type of authorship.

August 18, 2007

In my opinion, most research groups in the biological/medical sciences follow a consistent set of rules, namely, the grad student or postdoc doing the bulk of the work becomes the first author while the PI whose grant paid for the work is recognized as the final author. Not surprisingly, the first and final authorships are the most highly regarded. The real problem is in recognizing the contributions of lab technicians, some PIs always include them as co-authors, while some never do. IMHO, such discrepancies are unfair and there needs to be a fixed rule to reward technicians, the unsung heroes of many research labs.
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Nitin Gandhi

Posts: 34

August 18, 2007

Some time ago there was the survey about whether there should be the tenure or no tenure? Impact Factor or citation is important? such controversey. Now the question about the authorship.\nOriginally the scientists were driven by plain curiocity, in present time the scientist is driven by careerism, leading to earning money.\nScience is and will remain self rectification system. The solution is simple to all the above conflicts.\nA time will come that there will be the machine or system which will find out in the true sense the curiocity, and aptitude and the sincerity and honesty in the scientist, some thing like the IQ system. Suppose the scientist is above some score then he/she will be left alone beyond the clutches of the grant/publication/impactfactor/authorship etc etc, the lessar mortals will be scrutinised and kept under vigil and the one's below certain point will be told to leave science. Untill this machine/system is invented we have to live with this controvercies of science. \n\n
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E. Tuckerman

Posts: 5

August 20, 2007

If a section showing individual contributions of the authors (including the initial ideas) was included in the paper (and was legally binding), trying to work out who did what from the order in whch the authors are listed would become redundant. In addition, the same should apply to oral and poster presentations at conferences.
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UK life

Posts: 1

August 20, 2007

There is one thing to what one may call formal rules of authorship and there is real life and practice. As it alsways is the case with formal agreements or ideals, they often do not stand the test of reality. \n\nThere is both fairness and unfairness, it is impossible to say something general about all cases and each experience, as there are fair supervisors or colleagues as much as there are those who exploit, copy or misuse others. There are also huge differences between disciplines, or science and social science, where in the former PhD students work much closer for the supervisor or within a research team.\n\nAnd unfairness or disregard of authorship by no means is anything entirely new or changed today compared to how it may have been in the past. There is a good example for instance from the mid 19th century in the case of Alfred Russel Wallace, who was on to similar research on evolution and natural selection as was Charles Darwin. Wallace knew of Darwin that he had already spent some more time on investigating similar fields, and he trusted his opinion and sent him a paper for review that he had just finished. When Darwin saw how close the far away Wallace - who was working in the Malay Archipelago at that time - came to his own genuinely new theory, Darwin sent the manuscript to Charles Lyell with a letter saying "he could not have made a better" and suggesting to offer him a publication. Distraught about his ill son, Darwin put the problem to Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker who decided to publish the essay in a joint presentation together with unpublished writings which highlighted Darwin's priority.\n\nDarwin who had always worried that the fierce reaction from the public to his a-theological ideas about nature and evolution, felt threatened by the overlaps with Wallace's well advanced work and was prompted to publish his 'On the Origins of Species' in late 1959. \n\nAs a result, it is only Darwin who is known to us today as the discoverer of evolution and the principle of natural selection, but Wallace tragically has been lost in history.\n\n\n
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Shaheen

Posts: 1

August 21, 2007

In our lab, senior author only contributes towards the grammatical editing of the manuscripts and still wants to be the last author. The justification for that is lab space was provided by the senior author. This is really unfair and misuse of the position. The Scientific Journals should come forward and every jurnal should ask for the specific contribution of each author. By just provididng the lab space should not entitle the last and corresponding authorship. The person who has concieved the idea, developed the idea, supervised the students on day to day basis and helped in solving the students problems is the most appropriate person to be the last or atleast the corresponding author.\n\nBSS\n\n
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Richard Lasker

Posts: 7

August 21, 2007

We built a fair amount of data from our research projects relating to a cattle feed program we were developing. Texas A&M was working on a similar project and acquired product we used in our work, (introduced to them by the supplier), and requested some guidelines to our dosage/usage in our programs of this material. We distinctly requested that our work & data remain our property and was assured this was only a "research for preliminary information" project.\nImagine our surprise when we were informed that our data, our terminology and our formulas had been copyrighted by A&M and we had no rights to the usage of our OWN work! The legality, they claimed, was that we gave this data freely and that we had not copyrighted it first therefore had given up our authorship rights. \nAuthorship is less the issue I would address: theft is more the issue when one writes, but does not receive, the authorship rights from one's own work. And, in cases like ours, if the actual author does not have the monetary ability to defend one's self; might makes right. This needs to be driven home in a college course or two so students understand exactly what their rights are in, and after, college.
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David W Rahfeldt

Posts: 1

August 21, 2007

The primary author or first author of a paper or in the case of n-tuple coauthors ... should ONLY be those individuals who are willing to accept FULL responsibility for the content of the paper.\n\nIf this is the untenured lab technician, who might not be a Ph.D., so be it, if it is a respected and tenured faculty member with multiple Ph.D.s so be it.\n\nIn essence, like the captain of a ship or the command pilot of an aircraft, there has to be somewhere ... someone ... that the buck stops with and that is responsible for the content of the paper.\n\nThe rule should be "if your signature is on the paper you are betting your career and even tunure on its accuracy" ... \n\nSo, that would force personal responsibility issues. \n\nTenured faculty who want to take credit and feather their caps but did little or nothing and have little knowledge of the actual methods or research would be little interested in risking their position by wanting authorship ... \n\nSimilarly, many individuals who are currently anonymous or transparent to the system, but who genuinely deserve credit, would be happy to take and recieve credit for their insights and hard work.\n\nWe need to create a system that holds sacrosanct two principles: 1> that the true contributors get real and full credit 2> that delivering a paper into the academic process or public process as an author or signatory to the work is a committment to its accuracy, with the risk being automatic firing from any and all positions if it is fraudulent (even if you did not do the work)\n\nIn short - fair credit and absolute accountability and responsibility need to be restored to our system.\n\n
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Wendell Sun

Posts: 1

August 21, 2007

If a legally-binding statement is required to attach to each of research papers, saying that all authors will take personal responsibility as to research data, I bet that the number of authors for a paper will decrease. We only need to look at the authorships of many retacted papers from Science, Nature or other high impact journals. How many co-authors distanced themselves from the first authors when suspicion was raised? Suddenly it is all clear whoelse cheats.\n\nMany senior scientists in a group are more than happy to have their names added to a paper without substantial contribution to the research. When you work as a team or in a group, you discuss ideas and get suggestions from others, do such normal interactions deserve authoship? Most probably not.

August 21, 2007

While really none of our work from our labs is available in public jourals or sources, we rigidly adhere to a publication principle for papers we hold internally or deliver to our customers or chain of command.\n\n1 > everyone on the team must agree that the methods and results are correct or express any disssenting conclusions or concerns (included in the paper) before it is released. Even the supreme court when adjucating recognizes differences of perspective or analysis by including dissenting opinions in the record. Science should do no less than the judiciary does. Probably more in this regard.\n\n2 > any problems with the protocols, methods, analysis, tools, or any uncertainties ought to be documented and noted.\n\n3 > all supporting data from the experiment or observations are and ought to be included in both raw forms and formatted forms along with any meta-data and dictionaries needed for comprehending it.\n\n4 > certifications on all instruments, specificiations as to the instruments and their precision in the realm of the analysis done ... and their metrology and calibrations ... must be included with the data. \n\n5 > When papers had to be limited in size and scope due to being published in paper form, there was a genuine rationale for not including all data and methods and pictures of the experiment etc. Today in the world of electronic interchange and collegiate sharing ... there is no rational reason not to included everything possible in the paper as a package deal. We do so, everyone should do so.\n\n6 > ALL presumptions that resulted in decisions on methodolodies, protocols, analysis etc. should be included in a separate section labeled "presumtions". Everyone does, of course, state basics in their methodology section but really a more complete section is needed stating ALL presumptions from conversion formulae used to lists of standard regents used for calibrations. Someone reviewing the work needs at hand everything they need to follow every computation or data element generated and understand it.\n\n7 > More extensive proof records should be created. In the day when the only way to record work visually was 35mm stills or 16 or 35mm motion picture film, extensive documentation of every experiment, every aparatus, every action, every day, was simply way too expensive and time consuming. Today when digital cameras and motion picture cameras are in nearly every student backpack and digital recording for an entire years experiemnt is a 500gb or terabyte hdd at a cost of $150 and $400 respectively, there is no excuse not to record all work visually both for proof of achievement and to "debug" any unexpected results. EXAMPLE: A video review of a day that had unexpected results showed to an external observer that the results were due to the sunshine hitting the backside of a critical instrument ... whereas all other days the shades had been drawn, that day they were up and unexpected results occured. Without the video record this anomolous result would never have been explained and the instrumentation and data validity might have been called into question.\n\nSimply put, we should behave as if anything that is not documented, reproducible, and provable did not happen.\n\nEvery instrument calibration should be recorded visually as well as on paper or electronic records.\n\nMore than one researcher has been saved considerable effort by having video and still backup images of the work they did showing what "went right" or "went wrong" for later analysis, or even just showing the actual instrument readings as they went by as a backup to the digital recordings ... \n\nEvery team member is responsible for at the end of every day, providing the full records of that days work for team review.\n\nThis tends to keep time wastage to a minumum and give time for cross training of skills so that no one is "stuck trying to figure something out" any longer than necessary.\n\nThis also documents who exactly deserves credit for that components of the effort.\n\nDaily review ... not supervision but review and assistance meetings keep everyone on track and prevent any mistakes or frauds from getting very far.\n\nAt the end of the project, we review who did what from the SOW (statement of work) created from the daily work logs and meetings and make sure everyone from the janitor who contributed an idea ... to external peers who assisted with theory or instrumentation insights is given credit.\n\nThose who accept responsibily for the work are named as primary authors. Again this is not limited to the most senior team members. I can be anyone from a visiting graduate student to the janitor to a senior fellow.\n\nDeliberate fraud or mistakes that are hidden from the team or administration result in immediate termination without possibility of rehire.
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Sean

Posts: 1

August 21, 2007

Talk, it's only talk. The authority is composed of those people who constantly take credits without much or any intellecutal inputs. The infra structure of scientific industry safeguards the unfair practice, from authorship on publication to grant application. It is classical capitalism. What else can we expect?
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Ron

Posts: 2

August 22, 2007

FAIRNESS is a term easy to write, harder to describe and harder still to satisfy in complicated cases. My grad school and postdoc mentors were deeply committed to fairness in assigning credit for publications, and for that I will always be grateful. \n\nHowever, how should credit be assigned when a fellow hard-working postdoc, who happened to possess wretched English language skills, needed a writer? I had contributed no more to the science of his work than any other member of the laboratory, but was I merely a language technician for his project? \n\nIn discussions, we decided that's exactly what I was, and I wasn't acknowledged on the paper. The important issue for me at the time was that WE HAD THE DISCUSSIONS. \n\nSo, my experience of fairness in grad school and postdoc training was all positive, right? Wrong. I was nearly fired for writing a personal letter to the editor of a scientific journal. It turned out that was an unapproved communication...
Avatar of: Michael Pyshnov

Michael Pyshnov

Posts: 10

August 22, 2007

University science is not sold to individual consumers, it is funded by taxpayers. It is believed to be a win-win situation. Scientists, when doing scientific work, basically receive money for the authorship of papers. In the last two or three decades they learned to play games with authorship within this win-win situation. Come and sign our papers, we are not greedy! And we will sign yours! Aside from some cases of extreme dishonesty, one of which ended in shooting (Concordia University), it's an endless merry-go-round. \n\nBut, science needs the real authors even more than the authors need credits. If we go back to science, this is what I think must be remembered:\n\n1. Scientific paper is a report of the work done. As a work of science, it is such work that had never been done before. Although it contains elements that were repeated many times in the past, only its original part makes it science.\n2. Authorship is a fact accomplished. This fact, when correctly stated, says who did the original part of the work. There is no authorship in the non-original parts of the paper. Authorship can be claimed only for the work that had never been done before.\n3. The original part of the work comes as a result of intellectual effort. In experimental science this effort results also in the original experiments. This is why authorship is called "intellectual property". \n4. In law, authorship is not transferrable. This is because any transfer would simply be a false statement of fact.\n5. Plagiarism, therefore, is a falsification of the fact of authorship; and this is my definition of it.\n6. There is no such thing as self-plagiarism, because there is no falsification of authorship in it.\n7. Authorship can be claimed for different kinds of work. In scientific work, the authorship is not claimed for the order of words or the sentences (this is just a copyright), but for the ideas and the findings. Therefore, simply writing an article, a report, is not sufficient to become its author; usually, however, writing involves much more.\n8. Plagiarism must be punished in all cases except one - when the author of the false claim of authorship did not know that such work was previously done by someone else; and this is the only case where plagiarism is considered unintentional.\n9. It is wrong to consider plagiarism as only a violation of the rules of citation. The correct approach is to consider a paper without proper citation as a paper that the author had no right to publish. \n10. It is wrong for the journals to be involved in deciding who must be the author and who must not, or dictate new rules or the order of authorship. The rules are those that always existed: they are based on the principle that only a contribution satisfying the requirement of originality in scientific work gives you authorship.\n11. On the other side, everyone who contributed to the scientific originality of the work must be on the authors' line. Authorship can not be expressed in an acknowledgement, unless there is a written consent. Understandably, the acknowledgement and thanks must be specific, otherwise it is fraud.\n12. It is my belief that PhD students must be mature enough to present their thesis projects based on their own ideas. And, in case their supervisors wish to make scientific contribution to the work, it must be done in writing, otherwise supervisor cannot later claim any authorship. US court said that PhD supervisor has fiduciary obligations toward a student researcher (http://law.duke.edu/journals/dltr/articles/2001dltr0035.html). One important application here is in that fiduciary is prohibited to compete with his beneficiary.\n13. It must be remembered that the law books consider the value of the person's name (and that includes the person's achievements in life) as precious as his or her life itself. The mental torture and exasperation of victims of plagiarism is almost beyond belief. I mentioned the shooting above, but, in another case, a young lady (who later received $1.6 mln. compensation judgement) testified that she would throw up fifty times a day. These were the cases where universities were covering up fraud. We cannot rely on universities, period.\n14. Whatever are the investigative procedures for the allegations of plagiarism, the only guarantee of justice is in the free, independent and fully accessible academic press. The courts cannot function in vacuum, there must be a scientific community present.\n\nMichael Pyshnov.
Avatar of: Fergus Kane, UK.

Fergus Kane, UK.

Posts: 1

August 22, 2007

There are a number of decent guidelines on authorship. For example, The Vancouver Group has produced some fairly clear guidelines for the life sciences. The problem is that they are constantly flouted. Writing as a PhD student at a well regarded research institution, this seems to be merely a symptom of a more general lack of leadership and integrity. If, in order to gain either funding or personal advantage from drug companies, senior researchers are willing and able to spout nonsense (nonscience), can we expect integrity in other areas? Reinjecting integrity into science is a difficult task, so in the meantime the best solution may be a binding set of rules, strictly enforced and common to all journals.

August 22, 2007

\n We could put names of everyone who participated in a research project in alphabetical order and list precisely what their participation was. It would require good working relationship and that the PI actually knows and recognizes who did what, in multidisciplinary paper it would be the fairest and then it would not be possible to add authors name for political reasons unless it is stated (which would give an idea of the group credibility!)\n\nAlternatively since we care for science and are paid by the public we could publish anonymously, the group work would be recognized by posting of papers on university web page. \n\nSince all the problems are due to survival and progression concerns, solving the issue of job tenure and how jobs are financed would be essential. Today a lot of scientific work by non-tenured people resembles slavery, the only freedom is to give up everything and go (it is of course better than no option at all, but is it an option?).
Avatar of: John Toradze

John Toradze

Posts: 9

August 22, 2007

I suggest that you get an attorney, which will take some interviewing. File a suit on grounds of copyright violation. As the original writer, you have an automatic copyright. As far as I know this is true in both the USA and Canada. This suit can be filed first against the professor(s) involved, and then against the University. \n \nIt's good that you are fighting. Most people don't fight. I can tell you from experience that filing a lawsuit against the professor(s) involved will get their attention. At a minimum, it will cost them tens of thousands to defend themselves, and that's if you don't win. If they lose, they have bet their career, their house and maybe their marriage (if the have one) and lost it all. \n\nIf you get some help from a sympathetic attorney or paralegal you may even be able to do it yourself. If you can do so, ask for a jury trial. \n\nSomething many people don't know is that if you put statements into a court record in the form of a lawsuit or testimony, then news media can report it without fear of being sued for libel or slander. This is often a significant factor inhibiting reportage. But a lawsuit filing - that is grounds for everyone from Nature to The Scientist and CNN to quote and interview both sides about the matter. \n \nSuing US universities tends to be difficult because many have a staff who do nothing but stonewall all lawsuits. But, reforms do happen when people do this. Many major changes have occurred because of a lawsuit. I don't know how University of Toronto is structured relative to such things. An attorney should be able to tell you. (PS - I tired to email to michael@tht.net, but it bounced as a bad address.)
Avatar of: Michael Pyshnov

Michael Pyshnov

Posts: 10

August 22, 2007

Thanks, John Toradze. If you look at my site - http://ca.geocities.com/uoftfraud/ - this is given in my first post here, you will find that I filed law suit in 1994, and that almost all of it was thrown out of court, and that I restored all of it on the appeal at High Court of Ontario where I spoke before three judges (I had no lawyer). But, I could not go any further because professors-experts who wrote two letters confirming plagiarism, were in fact betraying me. This is all on my web site: letters, court documents. I have no money. My law suit can continue, but I cannot go to court alone and face UofT experts who will testify that UofT had right to "salvage" my research. \nI don't want to hijack the discussion here, but the fact is that the press was never scared by any potential law suit. UofT must keep total silence: if they start answering publicly - they go down the drain overnight. They just watch that not a word appears in the press.\nImportant: there could be problems with communications and with my site. Write in Google "University of Toronto Fraud", click on Cached and retrieve a copy.\n\nMichael Pyshnov.
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Cynos Le

Posts: 17

August 23, 2007

My own experience tell me that, even if the rule was clearly applied, fairness and unfairness is in the boss's hands.\nWhile doing my first postdoc in an Asian country, where Science is just second or third in this world, I can see that postdoc, especially the one that does not share nationality with PI doesnt have much room to stay. They wont be given an independent project from its start to its ends. As the result, they do not have a voice to claim authorship in a paper. And one fine day the PI told me that "in this Lab authorship is decided by me". Although well paid, and not at the end of the appointment I decided to quit. When I tell him that I quit, he told me "If you stay for another year, I will try to get you a paper on PNAS, although for this Lab PNAS paper is not easy". I quitted because I did not know if I will have a paper even if I tried hard (because it's not depending on me), thus it would be difficult for me to find another position after the appointment is ended. In fact, in that Lab now, another foreign postdoc who has stayed there for 03 years hasnt got a paper and by now facing the difficulty of looking for another position.\n\nHere in the States, you just can not say each person has his/her own project and then thing will be fair. I saw example that there are people who have very tough and risky project while others have somethings that is relatively less risky and do not require much effort!\n\nIn the end I can conclude that "it is only the work ethic of the boss" that can make thing fair or unfair regardless of the presence of any rules or regulation over this issue.
Avatar of: Michael Pyshnov

Michael Pyshnov

Posts: 10

August 23, 2007

I do not believe that authorship or the order of names should be dictated by the journal or by the university. However, universities can make it obligatory to hold a meeting, before any paper goes to publication, where authorship is discussed by all people who participated in the project. Also, such meeting can be held at the beginning of the project.
Avatar of: John Toradze

John Toradze

Posts: 9

August 23, 2007

Michael, the system is so corrupt, so broken, so completely filled with people without backbones that it will never be possible to salvage it that way. The reason those professors betrayed you is that they are beholden to a system that can cause them harm. It's pre-feudal. When I talk to much older friends who went through their graduate studies in the 50's and 60's and I talk about what is routine today, they all tell me that it wasn't like that for them. The break point seems to be around 1970 and after. Today, it is absolutely horrific what graduate students are subjected to as a matter of course. Just awful. It is small wonder that native born people quit in disgust, or don't bother. \n\nThe solution lies in two venues. First, journals can get together and draft policies of fairness and enforce them. That enforcement should extend to involuntary retraction of the papers. \n\nSecond, legislation needs to occur at the federal level that dictates how authors appear, what is legal for investigators to do, and how graduate students may be treated. \n\nNow, there is no redress. It's a wild-west situation in which P.I.s do whatever they like. Some are honest and above board. But a phenomenal percentage are not. I think it's worst in the biosciences. \n\nThis is a very important matter. Because what is happening now is that we are selecting for the second raters and the liars far too much.

August 24, 2007

I have read comments about US and Canada which are really sad and unfair. If this happens in the "civilized" world, please imagine what happens in Mexico, where there are academic pressure to publish or be fired from the University. There are multiple cases wherein the advisor annex their couples or friends who have to publish or be fired and exclude the really important authors, which are not only the students but also the technical staff. The arguments used by authorities are: You are very young and will have further contributions, please allow your advisor and her/his couple to be the first and last author in your paper.\nHow can a graduate student progress with this kind of corruption????\nHow can we defend ourselves from this kind of injustice??\nHow can we believe in science, ethics, and all those values you have, when you not only see, but experience in your own flesh this kind of behaviour??\nHow can you take legal actions when your PHD grade is in play??\n

August 24, 2007

A published paper is a basic currency in the world of academia; therefore all the laws, as well the abuses of the laws, of economics apply to it. I would like to think that "on average" most of the people who should be coauthors end up as coauthors. Or, perhaps more precisely, that, in the long run, most of the people get compensated for their contribution through coauthorship in one of the papers, not necessarily the ones they contributed most to. This is my impression from the field of chemistry; I would accept that different rules -- or more flagrant violations of rules -- are prevalent in biomedical research where "there seems to be more at stake" (i.e. money-wise and career-wise). The problems with paper authorship I have encountered are of two types: first, people who contributed little or not at all (i.e. "significant others", deans of the school, program directors, etc.) are included as coauthors. I believe this -- fairly common behavior -- is what underlies the functioning of organized crime. Second, the corresponding author sometimes (often times, in my experience) does not really know or fully understand what a particular paper "under his/her name" was about. "He brought the money and made the project possible!" -- would be a defending argument. Fine, this person should be mentioned, like in the movies, as a PRODUCER, not as a superior player among the people who conceived, carried out the research and wrote most of the paper. (And let's not forget that it is often the public, taxpayers money, allocated and disbursed for research.) In the end, to cite a catch-phrase from many movies about mob -- "It's all about business". And this is the sad part of this, ultimately intellectual creation.
Avatar of: Keith Robinson

Keith Robinson

Posts: 1

August 27, 2007

I would say that in my Institute, the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (as quoted in your article, authorship is justified for those who "made substantial contributions to conception and design of studies, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data on a paper; been involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and have had final approval of the version of the paper to be published.") are generally followed, with the following exception: key Institute leaders or officers who may not have even made critical review or commentary, are also included as co-authors. I am somewhat conflicted about this (unspoken) rule; in my younger days, I was keen to include them both out of gratitude as well as in hopes of increasing my chances for publication. Later and having become at least temporarily somewhat jaded, this approach seemed a step towards hypocrisy. Having mellowed into my more reflective phase now (and being in a more senior post myself) I have come to appreciate that a 'nod' to the boss by co-authorship can be important both for the sake of recognition of accomplishment and ownership, as well as collaborative solidarity.\n
Avatar of: Gary A. Bulla

Gary A. Bulla

Posts: 1

September 5, 2007

Claiming authorship should include only those that contributed substantially to the effort. This includes those individuals whose results are shown, the lab director (if that person is indeed directing the project, and not just one who provides space)and others that contributed in a tangible way to the effort (and, no, this does not include providing a reagent, statistical formula, or some friendly advice or participation in a lab group). The one who did most of the leg work (and thus generated most of the data) should be first author and the lab mentor last author. The remaining authors should be sandwiched in between, listed in order of importance in the project. \n
Avatar of: Michael Pyshnov

Michael Pyshnov

Posts: 10

September 7, 2007

I think that accepting the first rule proposed in the column by McGee ("Me first!") would be wrong, and, probably, it will be appropriate to discuss it here. This rule simply takes away the presumption of honesty that scientists, I believe, still need. \n\nThe problem is aggravated by two factors:\n1) There is a very fast growing social trend to PREVENT rather than to PUNISH, making everyone a suspect. It would be wrong to introduce this well known feature of a totalitarian society into science.\n2) The response to the cases of dishonesty in academia (mounting since the '80s), was a steady decrease of the level of responsibility for dishonesty: first, it could amount to fraud, then - to misconduct, then - to integrity violation, then - to ethics violation.\n\nI believe that the level of ACTUAL responsibility must be increased, and that the responsibility must be for the acts of dishonesty. Responsibility should not be understood as an amorphous social concept, but as a punishment. That proverbial Head of the Department who signs every paper, must be told that he is abusing his power and committing acts of dishonesty, not that he is violating the policy on ethics. Needless to say that the deterrent conveyed by punishment would serve as a much more effective and economical way to restore "fairness" in authorship than plugging the papers into something. It, also, would not degrade every scientist, and would not create an impression that science is basically being conducted by suspects. \n\nThe problem is rarely in that plagiarism is undetected, the problem is in that it is insufficiently punished, and often even covered up, "justified" by that same people who issue policies. Indeed, McGee is telling us that he had received "a dozen calls" alerting him to a case of plagiarism. \n\nThe second rule proposed, I think, is good because it should bring the ACTUAL "disputes" to the attention and discussion, the attention and discussion presently being rather cowardly directed toward policies. Completely useless (to say the least), in my opinion and in my sorrow experience, are the institutes making theoretical advances in academic ethics and integrity; their jobs should be eliminated and given to state prosecutors. There must be restored a sharp border between Right and Wrong. No one benefits from smearing all with ridiculously diluted Wrong.
Avatar of: Shane Rea Ph.D.

Shane Rea Ph.D.

Posts: 1

September 10, 2007

My colleague, Christopher Link Ph.D., once mooted the idea that all journals adopt the policy of actually citing co-first authors (Smith, Jones et. al., instead of Smith et. al. And for those journals that cite all authors Smith*, Jones*, Brown and Wong, instead of Smith, Jones, Brown and Wong i.e. use an asterisk to indicate equal authorship). With very little effort, many arguments regarding author position in the final listing could perhaps be avoided.
Avatar of: Zbignev

Zbignev

Posts: 1

September 18, 2007

Three years ago I have left NIH. Up to the moment, when I access PubMed I occasionally run into my former co-workers proudly publishing my protocols and data. It was me driving the experiments, working late, analyzing the data, blah-blah-blah. Was I considered being invited as a co-author (skip 'first author')? I have no idea. Was not, anyway: as if I am proclaimed dead after moving to another city. First time I saw it happening I almost had a heart attack, now I get used to it a bit. Well, I've seen a couple of co-authors appearing in my papers 2 hours prior to submission because "they need publications". Or someone becoming a first author (and you the second) for about the same reason. And that was US, fellows, - not Korea or Iraq. What I keep saying to myself is "I would never do anything like this to my own subordinates" (yes, I now have some). Does it help much in terms of feeling fine about this? No. But take my word: any set of rules (wisely discussed here) is one thing. Having or not having a conscience is quite another.

September 18, 2007

Authorship has little meaning considering the wide variety of significant contributions from a number of people that lead to publication of research. I strongly believe that explicit disclosure of contributions in the published manuscript is a fairer alternative. Then, we could do away with the author byline. All this said, eventually, it comes down to honesty in disclosure of contributions. \n\nBesides disclosing contributors to the study, I strongly believe it is essential for journals to explicitly acknowledge peer reviewers of manuscripts in the published manuscript. This will ensure reviewers obtain due credit for their contribution and that they remain accountable for it [2]. Eventually, the quality of the peer review process will also improve. \n\nReferences:\n\n[1] Rennie D, Yank V and Emanuel L: When authorship fails. A proposal to make contributors accountable. JAMA, 278: 7, August 20, 1997. \n\n[2] Prakash ES. Open Peer Review of Manuscripts Submitted to Journals for Publication: The Only Way of Setting the Record of Contribution to Science Straight Enough. Med Educ Online [serial online] 2007;11. Available from http://www.med-ed-online.org\n
Avatar of: Karyn Popham

Karyn Popham

Posts: 1

September 21, 2007

ICMJE members want authorship to stand for two things: you actually wrote at least some of the paper, and you take responsibility for what it says.\n\nBut authorship is used as a proxy for CREDIT in academia. As long as authorship and credit are confused, the debacles (and injustices) will continue.\n\nDifferent fields have different processes--and those facts need to be taken into account when discussing authorship. Much public health research, for instance, is "conducted" by part-time data collectors who interview people at schools, churches, etc. Delineating, a priori, how those people differ in kind from the postdoc running an experiment in a lab is more difficult than it might seem. And yet clearly the postdoc who figures out how to do an experiment and gets it to run is a different sort of contributor from a temporary field worker.\n\nUltimately, the problem goes back to the entire tenure and promotion process. As long as the metric for T&P is publication, and as long as publication is measured in terms of authorship, the two sides of the publication partnership--the authors and the journal editors--are at fundamental loggerheads.\n\nYes, I believe tenure is a fundamental good. The problem is the rules-bound evaluation process. What is set out in numbers can't be argued with; "quality" is always open to charges that it isn't "objective". But what is "objective" isn't always the most revealing.\n\nFor one junior faculty member, I turned the documentation process upside down. Instead of grouping what the faculty member could claim authorship to by publication venue (peer-reviewed articles, professional presentations, etc.), I focused on what had been the "products" of the various grants on which the person had served as project manager, co-PI, or PI. \n\nOne project alone for which the faculty member had been PI had (at last count) generated three doctoral dissertations and three master's-level theses, seventeen conference presentations, and eleven published peer-reviewed papers. The PI was chair of all six student committees, first author on eight of the presentations, and first author on one of the papers. Eight additional papers were in preparation, of which the PI was to be first author on three. \n\nThe other grants the PI had been responsible for had similar outcomes. This faculty member might not have "made the numbers" by the usual metric of first-authored published papers. What was clear, however, was the PI had launched a number of careers, and that the research funding had been put to extremely productive use. \n\nIf academic institutions will let go of "first authorship" as the only acceptable metric for "contributions to the field", they will solve a great number of the problems they inadvertently generate.\n\nIt might also be noted that authorship disputes at our research center are rare, in part because it is standard procedure that an authorship protocol is the first thing written by a project group. And the first author is always the person who writes the bulk of the paper, gets the co-authors to cough up their subsections, crafts the results into a coherent whole, and makes sure the manuscript hangs together as an intellectual work. We call this "taking the lead" on a paper. If that person is a grad student, so be it--the PI may take "senior" authorship by being the last in the authors list. \n\nICMJE sees six sections of a standard research article and does not see how there can be more than six "authors". Multidisciplinary, multi-center research teams see dozens of people whose careers are invested in a project, and who will suffer if they do not receive appropriate "credit" for their work. \n\nAs long as credit is the coin of the realm for academic careers, researchers and journal editors will have very different perspectives on what is the "right" answer.\n\nI speak for myself and not my institution.
Avatar of: Andre Balla

Andre Balla

Posts: 1

September 21, 2007

Any method used will have some subjectivity, but here are two simple, all encompassing rules to be accepted as an author:\n\n1) Did you offer significant INTELLECTUAL contribution, AND \n2) Are you capable of defending the content of the paper?
Avatar of: Dr.Raam, Shanthi

Dr.Raam, Shanthi

Posts: 43

September 23, 2007

I read all the fifty nine comments.The only way to avoid authorship disputes especially in a multi-lab collaborations it seems to me, is to tweak the system and render it favorable to multiple first authorship. Instead of lining up the authors in a single line, we could envision a system of multiple columns. In the first column, the first authors are listed in alphabetical order to be followed by the second column and so on till the final column lists the seniors like chairman of the department. Those in the first column should be the ones who conceived the idea, designed the experiments, analysed the results, in fact who would be responsible for truthfulness in reporting. They are the ones who would be contacted in case of any questions about the study. Senior authors provide their names to give clout to the publications and are those who have been responsible for overall funding support, lab space etc. At times senior authors also happen to be first authors if they did the bench work too. It seems to me, mutiple first authorship and senior authorship may solve the in-fighting.
Avatar of: Dr.Raam, Shanthi

Dr.Raam, Shanthi

Posts: 43

September 24, 2007

The title of the comment #sixty should read: Thinking outside the box.Thank you.
Avatar of: Luciana

Luciana

Posts: 1

September 25, 2007

I have been working in four different laboratories; two of them in South America, and the other two in the US. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Biomedical Sciences. \nI chose to be a biochemist when I was 14 years old; I am now 27 years old and still think that I have made the right decision. \nSo far, I have personally seen (and experienced) all type of stories regarding authorship, ranging from gaining authorship through personal favors, up to offering authorship to people who did not even expect their names to be included in such publications, and some of them, being honest enough, rejected the offer. \nI have seen PIs fighting for the rights and prestige of their graduate students/post-docs, and I have also seen other PIs putting their most hard-working, intelligent and committed students/post-docs down, in order to take advantage of their hard-work and creativity, later on. \nOn the other hand, I have seen very lazy, laid- back graduate students and post-docs, going in and out of the lab as they please, wasting grant funding, without accomplishing anything significant after two years of contract, threatening their PIs so the get to be included for free in somebody else's publications/projects, and unfortunately, I have seen PIs saying "yes" to such requests. \nSometimes, in a genuine effort to keep "a good work environment", PIs, who are usually the most experienced human beings on earth when it comes to scientific matters and interpersonal skills, do make mistakes. \nTherefore, in my opinion, taking into account both my very short experience in research environments (6 years) and all the comments and cases listed in this forum, I have arrived to the following conclusions:\nIf there is such an external and bias-free system, institution, alliance or company that could be implemented with the specific task of overseeing and controlling scientists at all levels (from graduate students to PIs) in terms of their HONESTY and INTEGRITY when dealing with the responsibilities associated with the generation, handling, revision and publication of scientific data, then, fairness and consensus are ALMOST POSSIBLE. \nThere is not such a thing as "scientific integrity" or "scientific honesty"; a person is honest or is not. And as someone has mentioned elsewhere, first of all, scientists are human beings. This is the reason why, I believe, fairness and consensus are ALMOST possible at the time of designing and implementing authorship rules.\n
Avatar of: Michael Webb

Michael Webb

Posts: 1

September 26, 2007

I was brought up scientifically in an environment in which authorship depended directly on either a substantial intellectual contribution (unlikely to be satisifed by "passive support" or idle corridor conversations) or significant technical contribution (unlikely to be satisfied by provision of reagents unless they were specially prepared for the study in question). "Honorary" authorship, even by the head of the lab, was not an accepted concept, nor was the inclusion of authors for "political" reasons. These basic principles seem grounded in common sense and fairness, and I have tried to adhere to them throughout my own career.
Avatar of: Anonymous

Anonymous

Posts: 1

September 28, 2007

When I recently objected to my arbitrary and discriminatory exclusion from a manuscript to which I had provided a key experimental model my boss opined: \n\n"I should [also] mention that authorship attribution is not a legal question, it is an academic question, and the authority and responsibility to decide upon authorship lies with the PI."\n\nHowever, he then went on to quote the following:\n \n"Nevertheless, the University recommends/adopted rules by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. \n\nICMJE Guidelines\nUnder this definition, someone is an author if and only if they have done all of the following: \n1) made substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; \n2) drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content; and \n3) approved of the final version to be published."\n\nHowever, I still feel that my PI's statements are in conflict because the PI STILL feels he has the final say regardless of the objective guidelines set by the University (i.e. by adoption of the above standards). That is, he felt he was the final judge of what "substantial" meant and to what extent each of the 3 criteria had to be meet by each of the co-authors. It is is a real problem because if you will notice the PI can effectively block your participation in the later two criteria AFTER you had already done all of the work. So, despite my PIs acknowledgement of the criteria he couldn't explain why he had for example: 1) given an authorship to someone who provided a commercially available cell line, and 2)in given authorship to a collegue for reading the finished manuscript or 3) "given" away first authorships on some of his papers to non-drafting participants. Basically when these examples of his past behavior were pointed out to show that my contribution was more, or at least as significant than the others he basically then engaged in the equivalent of selective criteria weighting. My contribution wasn't significant because "I was paid to do the work", and the university "owned" my experimental system. WHAT?!!! Does anyone out there NOT get paid?\n\nMy feeling is that many journals have determined that authorship attribution is a real problem and that is why they have set the guidelines; to 1) both give proper credit where credit is due; and 2) avoid the padding out of authorship lists with gift authorships to strategic allies. \n\nMy question to the general scientific community is this: who are students, graduate students, and post-docs (the exclued ones) actually supposed to turn to? The academic institution, the journal, other collegues, the co-authors on the paper? To not do something when your career depends on proper attribution and publication seems like suicide, but rocking the boat also can be a nail in your coffin ...\n\n \n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

September 8, 2010

Hi,\n \nI would like your views over authorship issue regarding scientific papers. I am a masters student and unfortunately had a supervisor who was NOT doing his work properly. He was not giving any technical feedback to my thesis or papers, he was NOT even recommending papers. Practically, he was doing nothing. \n \nIn general supervision, he just looked at my work which I gave him and then made grammar based comments on a Computing Paper NOT in his qualification or area regarding English grammar such as 'every paragraph must have a topic sentence', or re-wrote ONE line in a paper without any technical value as far as the algorithm or results of the research are concerned.\n \nThings didn't work out and I eventually told him that he cannot supervise. This did NOT go well with him and he even got violent and assaulted me. All he was interested was his personal interests of getting publication. I gave him my work and submitted some of my papers to a conference for which I gave him full feedback of the report. These were VERY POOR conferences and I did NOT register or get them published in a conference proceeding. So there is NO published work.\n \nNow this dilettante is CLAIMING because he has the papers I GAVE him to be some coauthor WITHOUT meeting such guidelines, and is trying to usurp my work. He is BY FORCE claiming to send the paper to some scientific journal/conference BY HIMSELF, and retain me as the main author with him as the second author. \n \nI have WRITTEN declarations in his OWN signature, with him declaring the papers are MY WORK and that he was a basic guide. I am NOT CONVINCED with his authorship credentials and my university has NO guidelines (which is a joke) regarding authorship.\n \nI may even agree to give him co-authorship, but I want to write papers in my OWN time and send them. Also what rights do I have in processing my OWN paper and suggesting which journal it should go to, when CLEARLY he has NOT MADE SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION in anyway. \n \nI have eivdence in emails of him doing so. \n \nPLEASE HELP ME with some common guidelines to stop this and help me.

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