A Co-Author Declines

I enjoyed very much reading the article "Opting Out of the Numbers Game" . I hope that some attention is paid to the sentiments expressed. I spent better than 20 years in academia. I do not mean to pat myself on the back, but I have declined to be co-author on more papers than I have been a co-author. Sometimes I felt I was added as a co-author because I walked through the lab and I was better known internationally than were the primary authors.

By | May 4, 1987

I enjoyed very much reading the article "Opting Out of the Numbers Game" . I hope that some attention is paid to the sentiments expressed.

I spent better than 20 years in academia. I do not mean to pat myself on the back, but I have declined to be co-author on more papers than I have been a co-author. Sometimes I felt I was added as a co-author because I walked through the lab and I was better known internationally than were the primary authors. A number of bitter arguments resulted when I declined to be included. Perhaps it is typical that I am co-author of two or three papers that I never even saw. It is embarrassing to be confronted at a meeting by someone asking for details of a paper that was published without my knowledge.

I sincerely hope it will be possible for academia to opt out of the numbers game.

—Bruce F. Burnham
Porphyrin Products,
P.O. Box 31 Logan, UT 84321

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