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Authorship

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  • Kenneth Graham
    I have a philosophical question and would be interested how other people or institutions have resolved it. It concerns the question of authorship of
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 29, 1998
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      I have a "philosophical" question and would be interested how other
      people or institutions have resolved it.
      It concerns the question of authorship of research, review or other
      scientific articles.
      How do you determine who is the primary author and who should be listed
      as a contributing author?
      For instance is the person who came up with the idea eligible for
      authorship; what about the person who designed the research study. Then
      there is the person who undertook the data collection from a technical
      perspective and what about the statistician? Of course we would all
      agree that the person who wrote the discussion gets a position; but what
      position?
      OK so its not too bad for a research paper; but what about a review
      paper? Take the case of two people one with good research and analytical
      skills and the other with literary skills and the time to put pen to
      paper. Who do we attribute primary authorship in this case?
      Finally, what about where a large number of people have been involved in
      the collection of clinical and other data and later someone wants to
      undertake a meta analysis. Who do we invite onto the author in this
      case?
      I am interested in responses to any or all of these cases (list them 1,
      2 and 3 so its obvious which one we are talking about and please if you
      think your comments will stimulate further discussion send them to
      Sportsci and not just to me.


      --
      Kenneth Graham
      NSW Institute of Sport ph 61 2 9763-0222
      Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia fax: 61 2 9763 0200
    • Will Hopkins
      Primary authorship is an enduring problem. You have to distinguish between first-named author and corresponding author. In my opinion the corresponding author
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 29, 1998
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        Primary authorship is an enduring problem. You have to distinguish between
        first-named author and corresponding author.

        In my opinion the corresponding author is the primary author. The
        corresponding author is the person who has generated most of the ideas and
        understandings in the Discussion, and is therefore the best person to
        addresss questions raised by reviewers and ultimately readers of the
        journal.

        Many supervisors agree to put their research students first on a paper, to
        indicate that the student spent most time on the study by doing most or all
        of the bench work. Putting the person who did the bench work first also
        recognizes that the study stands or falls on how well the data were got.
        But usually the supervisor should be the corresponding author. Not always,
        but usually.

        Some people suggest sorting out the order of authors at the beginning of a
        project, but it doesn't always work. What happens is that one author ends
        up contributing so much to the Discussion that s/he has to be the
        corresponding author. I speak from recent personal experience of an
        original study and a review. For a review, you could argue that such a
        corresponding author should also be the first author, especially if s/he
        put most of the words onto the page. But for original research involving
        data, the person who gets the data should be the first author, regardless
        of how much the corresponding author contributed to the design and
        understanding. In my opinion.

        This practice of the first author not being the primary author makes a
        nonsense of the Science Citation Index, which counts up citations only for
        the first author. Or has that changed now?

        Other issues of authorship are explored in an article on the Research
        Resource pages at http://www.sportsci.org/.

        Will
      • Eric A. Talman
        ... In an ideal world the address for correspondance would indicate the primary author who is most familiar with the work and can discuss/defend the work with
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 29, 1998
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          >In my opinion the corresponding author is the primary author. The
          >corresponding author is the person who has generated most of the ideas and
          >understandings in the Discussion, and is therefore the best person to
          >addresss questions raised by reviewers and ultimately readers of the
          >journal.

          In an ideal world the address for correspondance would indicate the
          primary author who is most familiar with the work and can discuss/defend
          the work with the highest authority.

          I think in the real world the address for corresponance is whom to write
          when asking for reprints (i.e. the person with a positon or tenure) not
          the graduate student who does not know where he/she will be in the near
          or far future.

          Maybe I am misled?


          Eric Talman
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