Determining appropriate authorship recognition in student-faculty collaborative research is a complex task. In this quantitative study, responses from 1346 students and faculty in education and some social science disciplines at 36 research-intensive institutions in the United States were analyzed to provide a description of current and recommended practices for authorship in student-faculty collaborative research. The responses revealed practices and perceptions that are not aligned with ethical guidelines and a lack of consensus among respondents about appropriate practice. Faculty and student respondents agreed that students deserve more authorship recognition than they get in common practice but they did not agree on the appropriate authorship arrangement for several of the collaborative scenarios described in the study or on the relative value of various contributions to research projects. The misalignment with ethical codes and lack of consensus among the respondents is problematic because student-faculty collaborative research is common and authored publications are powerful indicators of research competency. With these detailed results, students and faculty can better anticipate areas where their perspectives are likely to differ and faculty can work to clarify ambiguous expectations.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
American Counseling Association. (2005). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria: Author.
American Educational Research Association. (2000). Ethical standards of the american educational research association. Washington: Author.
American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Washington: Author.
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the american psychological association (2nd ed.). Washington: Author.
Apgar, D. H., & Congress, E. (2005). Authorship credit: a national study of social work educators’ beliefs. Journal of Social Work Education, 41(1), 101–112.
Association for the Study of Higher Education. (2003). Principles of ethical conduct. Las Vegas: Author.
Crespi, T. D. (1994). Student scholarship: in the best interests of the scholar. American Psychologist, 49(12), 1094–1096.
Endersby, J. W. (1996). Collaborative research in the social sciences: multiple authorship and publication credit. Social Science Quarterly, 77(2), 375–392.
Fine, M. A., & Kurdek, L. A. (1993). Reflections on determining authorship credit and authorship order on student-faculty collaborations. American Psychologist, 48(11), 1141–1147.
Geelhoed, R. J., Phillips, J. C., Fischer, A. R., Shpungin, E., & Gong, Y. (2007). Authorship decision making: an empirical investigation. Ethics & Behavior, 17(2), 95–115.
Goodyear, R. K., Crego, C. A., & Johnston, M. W. (1992). Ethical issues in the supervision of student research: a study of critical incidents. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 23(3), 203–210.
Harvard Medical School. (1996). Authorship guidelines. Boston: Author.
Ilakovac, V., Fister, K., Marusic, M., & Marusic, A. (2007). Reliability of disclosure forms of authors’ contributions. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 176(1), 41–46.
Kitchener, K. S. (1984). Intuition, critical evaluation and ethical principles: the foundation for ethical decisions in counseling psychology. Counseling Psychologist, 12(3), 43–55.
Kitchener, K. S. (1992). Psychologist as teacher and mentor: affirming ethical values throughout the curriculum. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 23(3), 190–195.
Koro-Ljungberg, M., & Hayes, S. (2006). The relational selves of female graduate students during academic mentoring: from dialogue to transformation. Mentoring & Tutoring, 14(4), 389–407.
Louis, K. S., Holdsworth, J. M., Anderson, M. S., & Campbell, E. G. (2008). Everyday ethics in research: translating authorship guidelines into practice in the bench sciences. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(1), 88–112.
Merton, R. K. (1973 ). The normative structure in science. In R. K. Merton & N. W. Storer (Eds.), The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations (pp. 267-278). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Messick, S. (1995). Validity of psychological assessment: validation of inferences from persons' responses and performances as scientific inquiry into score meaning. American Psychologist, 50, 741–749.
Netting, F. E., & Nichols-Casebolt, A. (1997). Authorship and collaboration: preparing the next generation of social work scholars. Journal of Social Work Education, 33(3), 555–566.
Nguyen, T., & Nguyen, T. D. (2006). Authorship ethics: issues and suggested guidelines for the helping professionals. Counseling and Values, 50, 208–216.
Pope, K. S., & Vetter, V. A. (1992). Ethical dilemmas encountered by members of the American Psychological Association: a national survey. American Psychologist, 47(3), 397–411.
Robins, L., & Kanowski, P. (2008). PhD by publication: a student’s perspective. Journal of Research Practice, 4(2), 1–20.
Sandler, J. C., & Russell, B. L. (2005). Student-faculty collaborations: ethics and satisfaction in authorship credit. Ethics & Behavior, 15(1), 65–80.
Shapiro, D. W., Wenger, N. S., & Shapiro, M. F. (1994). The contributions of authors to multiauthored biomedical research papers. Journal of the American Medical Association, 271(6), 438–442.
Spiegel, D., & Keith-Spiegel, P. (1970). Assignment of publication credits: ethics and practices of psychologists. American Psychologist, 25, 738–747.
Winston, R. B. (1985). A suggested procedure for determining order of authorship in research publications. Journal of Counseling and Development, 63, 515–518.
This study was supported in part by the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Welfare, L.E., Sackett, C.R. Authorship in Student-Faculty Collaborative Research: Perceptions of Current and Best Practices. J Acad Ethics 8, 199–215 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-010-9119-7
- Order of authorship
- Student-faculty collaborative research
- Intellectual property