Author Sequence and Credit for Contributions in Multiauthored Publications. Tscharntke, T.; Hochberg, M. E.; Rand, T. A.; Resh, V. H.; and Krauss, J. 5(1):e18+.
Author Sequence and Credit for Contributions in Multiauthored Publications [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
A transparent, simple, and straightforward approach that is free from any arbitrary rank valuation is required to estimate the credit associated with the sequence of authors' names on multiauthored papers. [Excerpt] The increasing tendency across scientific disciplines to write multiauthored papers [1,2] makes the issue of the sequence of contributors' names a major topic both in terms of reflecting actual contributions and in a posteriori assessments by evaluation committees. Traditionally, the first author contributes most and also receives most of the credit, whereas the position of subsequent authors is usually decided by contribution, alphabetical order, or reverse seniority. [...] The situation in our area of research – the ecological and environmental sciences – has changed in recent years. [...] Although reducing evaluation of authors' complex contributions to simple metrics is regrettable, in reality it is already in practice in most evaluation committees. Hence, in our opinion, we need a simple and straightforward approach to estimate the credit associated with the sequence of authors' names that is free from any arbitrary rank valuation. [...] We suggest that the approach taken should be stated in the acknowledgements section, and evaluation committees are asked to weigh the contribution of each author based on the criteria given by the authors. This would make reviewers aware that there are different cultures to authorship order. The usual and informal practice of giving the whole credit (impact factor) to each author of a multiauthored paper is not adequate and overemphasises the minor contributions of many authors (Table 1). Similarly, evaluation of authors according to citation frequencies means often overrating resulting from high-impact but multiauthored publications. The following approaches may be identified. [::1] The ” sequence-determines-credit” approach (SDC). The sequence of authors should reflect the declining importance of their contribution, as suggested by previous authors [4-6]. Authorship order only reflects relative contribution, whereas evaluation committees often need quantitative measures. We suggest that the first author should get credit for the whole impact (impact factor), the second author half, the third a third, and so forth, up to rank ten. When papers have more than ten authors, the contribution of each author from the tenth position onwards is then valuated just 5\,%. [::2] The ” equal contribution” norm (EC). Authors use alphabetical sequence to acknowledge similar contributions or to avoid disharmony in collaborating groups. We suggest that the contribution of each author is valuated as an equal proportion (impact divided by the number of all authors, but a minimum of 5%). [::3] The ” first-last-author-emphasis” norm (FLAE). In many labs, the great importance of last authorship is well established. We suggest that the first author should get credit of the whole impact, the last author half, and the credit of the other authors is the impact divided by the number of all authors [as in (2)]. [::4] The ” percent-contribution-indicated” approach (PCI). There is a trend to detail each author's contribution (following requests of several journals) [7]. This should also be used to establish the quantified credit. [\n] The SDC approach (as a new suggestion), the EC norm (alphabetical order), the FLAE norm, and the PCI approach may be combined (e.g., FLAE and SDC), but need to be explicitly mentioned in the acknowledgements. [...]
@article{tscharntkeAuthorSequenceCredit2007,
  title = {Author Sequence and Credit for Contributions in Multiauthored Publications},
  author = {Tscharntke, Teja and Hochberg, Michael E. and Rand, Tatyana A. and Resh, Vincent H. and Krauss, Jochen},
  date = {2007-01},
  journaltitle = {PLoS Biology},
  volume = {5},
  pages = {e18+},
  issn = {1545-7885},
  doi = {10.1371/journal.pbio.0050018},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0050018},
  abstract = {A transparent, simple, and straightforward approach that is free from any arbitrary rank valuation is required to estimate the credit associated with the sequence of authors' names on multiauthored papers.

[Excerpt] The increasing tendency across scientific disciplines to write multiauthored papers [1,2] makes the issue of the sequence of contributors' names a major topic both in terms of reflecting actual contributions and in a posteriori assessments by evaluation committees. Traditionally, the first author contributes most and also receives most of the credit, whereas the position of subsequent authors is usually decided by contribution, alphabetical order, or reverse seniority. [...] The situation in our area of research -- the ecological and environmental sciences -- has changed in recent years. [...] Although reducing evaluation of authors' complex contributions to simple metrics is regrettable, in reality it is already in practice in most evaluation committees. Hence, in our opinion, we need a simple and straightforward approach to estimate the credit associated with the sequence of authors' names that is free from any arbitrary rank valuation. [...] We suggest that the approach taken should be stated in the acknowledgements section, and evaluation committees are asked to weigh the contribution of each author based on the criteria given by the authors. This would make reviewers aware that there are different cultures to authorship order. The usual and informal practice of giving the whole credit (impact factor) to each author of a multiauthored paper is not adequate and overemphasises the minor contributions of many authors (Table 1). Similarly, evaluation of authors according to citation frequencies means often overrating resulting from high-impact but multiauthored publications. The following approaches may be identified.

[::1] The ” sequence-determines-credit” approach (SDC). The sequence of authors should reflect the declining importance of their contribution, as suggested by previous authors [4-6]. Authorship order only reflects relative contribution, whereas evaluation committees often need quantitative measures. We suggest that the first author should get credit for the whole impact (impact factor), the second author half, the third a third, and so forth, up to rank ten. When papers have more than ten authors, the contribution of each author from the tenth position onwards is then valuated just 5\,\%.

[::2] The ” equal contribution” norm (EC). Authors use alphabetical sequence to acknowledge similar contributions or to avoid disharmony in collaborating groups. We suggest that the contribution of each author is valuated as an equal proportion (impact divided by the number of all authors, but a minimum of 5\%).

[::3] The ” first-last-author-emphasis” norm (FLAE). In many labs, the great importance of last authorship is well established. We suggest that the first author should get credit of the whole impact, the last author half, and the credit of the other authors is the impact divided by the number of all authors [as in (2)].

[::4] The ” percent-contribution-indicated” approach (PCI). There is a trend to detail each author's contribution (following requests of several journals) [7]. This should also be used to establish the quantified credit.

[\textbackslash n] The SDC approach (as a new suggestion), the EC norm (alphabetical order), the FLAE norm, and the PCI approach may be combined (e.g., FLAE and SDC), but need to be explicitly mentioned in the acknowledgements. [...]},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-1048890,~to-add-doi-URL,authorship,open-science,research-management,research-metrics,research-team-size,scientific-communication,transparency},
  number = {1}
}
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