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The Perception of Scientific Authorship Across Domains

  • David JohannEmail author
  • Sabrina Jasmin Mayer


We extend previous research by systematically investigating whether perceptions of scientific authorship vary between domains. Employing regulations for authorship of scientific journals as well as the Scientists Survey 2016 conducted by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), we provide a comprehensive picture of perceptions of scientific authorship across domains from the perspective of the supply side (journals) as well as the demand side (researchers). We find considerable differences in the perception of authorship across disciplines on both sides. Hence, not only domain-specific “formal norms,” but also domain-specific statements about ideals can be observed with regard to scientific authorship. The results have important implications: in order to avoid that researchers in disciplines with much narrower definitions of authorship are disadvantaged when compared to their colleagues from disciplines that rely on broader authorship definitions, domain-specific perceptions of authorship should be taken into account when allocating funding and jobs.


Perception of scientific authorship Co-Authorship Publication ethics Disciplinary cultures 



Order of co-authors is alphabetical. The authors contributed equally to this manuscript. We would like to thank Kathrin Thomas and Theresa Kernecker for their helpful comments on previous drafts. We would also like to thank Jakob Kemper and Erik Wenker for their assistance with the coding of the regulations for authorship of scientific journals. Last but not least we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers as well as the participants of several conferences and workshops for their constructive and concise feedback.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 39 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of SociologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Political ScienceUniversity of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany

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