Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 237–243

A proposal for a new system of credit allocation in science

  • David B. Resnik


This essay discusses some of the problems with current authorship practices and puts forward a proposal for a new system of credit allocation: in published works, scientists should more clearly define the responsibilities and contributions of members of research teams and should distinguish between different roles, such as author, statistican, technician, grant writer, data collector, and so forth.


authorship publication credit responsibility ethics policies 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and references

  1. 1.
    LaFollette, M. (1992) Stealing into Print. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    I do not take credit for this idea, since it has been discussed in the literature for a number of years. See Macaulcy, D. (1992) Cite the workers. British Medical Journal 305: 120; Fotion, N. & Conrad, C. (1984) Authorship and other credits. Annals of Internal Medicine 100: 592–594; White, B. & Knight, J. (1997) Multiple authorship. Science 275: 461, and Hopfield, J. (1997) Authorship: truth in labeling. Science 275: 1501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    McLellin, F. (1995) Authorship in biomedical publications: how many people can wield one pen? American Medical Writers Association Journal 10: 11.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Drenth, J. (1996) Proliferation of authors on research reports in medicine. Science and Engineering Ethics 2: 469–480.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fuchs, S. (1992) The Professional Quest for the Truth. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Panel on Seientifie Responsibility and the Conduct of Research (1992) Responsible Science, Volume 1. National Academy Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Whitbeck, C. (1995) Trust and trustworthiness in research. Science and Engineering Ethics 1: 403–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Relman, A. (1983) Lessons from the Darsee affair. New England Journal of Medicine 308: 1415–1417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (1991) Guidelines on authorship. New England Journal of Medicine 324: 424–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Broad, W. & Wade, N. (1993) Betrayers of the Truth, new edition. Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Huth, E. (1986) Irresponsible authorship and wasteful publication. Annals of Internal Medicine 104: 257–59.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rose, M. & Fischer, K. (1995) Policies and perspectives on authorship. Science and Engineering Ethics 1: 361–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Huth, E. (1986) Guidelines on authorship of medical papers. Annals of Internal Medicine 104: 269–74.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kennedy, D. (1985) On Academic Authorship. Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Aristotle once claimed that we should not expect more precision from a subject than the subject admits. See Aristotle (1985) Nichomachian Ethics, Trans. by Irwin T. Hackett, Indianapolis.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Resnik
    • 1
  1. 1.The Center for the Advancement of EthicsUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

Personalised recommendations