Who deserves authorship?

Submitted by chaky on Thu, 05/31/2018 - 01:12

When I was a Ph.D. student, it was often confusing to me who should I put as the "second author" vs. "third author", and the like.  Of course, as a young kid, I want to make everyone happy.  Fortunately, I was involved in an ethics campaign organized by Japan Research Society where I was asked to learn the "right" way of authorship crediting.  Here I would like to summarize some key points:

  •  The one who deserves authorship is the one who "significantly contributes" to the research paper.
  • What is considered "significant contribution"
    • Drafting and revising the papers, laying out the logical flow of the main concept
    • Conducting analysis that requires certain technical expertise (e.g., machine learning, neural imaging analysis)
    • Providing important ideas to the experiment design and executing the experiments
  • What is considered "insignificant contribution"
    • Conducting "way too simple" analysis (e.g., finding an average, making beautiful graphs; put them in Acknowledgement though)
    • Providing funding, finding participants, etc. (i.e., put them in Acknowledgement as well)
    • Checking grammar

Nature has recently published a survey, revealing the opinions of 6000 researchers, regarding who deserves authorship.  Take a look.

Authorship Credit
Source: Nature