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On Multiple Authorship: Describe The Contribution

Concern over the pressure to publish and its spawning of fraudulent publications has led to an examination of multiple authorship of scientific papers. In prestigious journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Science, papers with six or more coauthors are not uncommon. While many of the authors may have contributed to the work described in a paper, there are many instances in which names are added to the author list for political reasons. A scientist may supply a needed compou

Murray Saffran

Concern over the pressure to publish and its spawning of fraudulent publications has led to an examination of multiple authorship of scientific papers. In prestigious journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Science, papers with six or more coauthors are not uncommon. While many of the authors may have contributed to the work described in a paper, there are many instances in which names are added to the author list for political reasons. A scientist may supply a needed compound on condition that he is one of the authors; a chief may require that all papers from his laboratory bear his name as a coauthor a junior associate may add the name of his famous mentor to enhance the probability that the paper would be accepted for publication. In some cases of fraudulent publications, coauthors only discovered their coauthorship in the ensuing publicity over the fraud....

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