Can authors’ position in the ascription be a measure of dominance?

Abstract

Authorship and authorship ordering in the by-line have been gaining interest in the recent past. Unlike authorship in single-author which is an open-book, authorship in multi-author papers have been murky in certain aspects especially, in ordering, among others. Authorship implies responsibility and so, should not order in by-line reflect measures of responsibility on the basis of their contribution? But it hasn’t been that way especially, the authors in middle order and last place, they are addled positions. However, the position of first author is undisputable because of one’s relative contribution or responsibility. On this note, I propose dominance index (DI) and dominance co-efficiency (DC) of a scientist or an author. These measures are on based on the number of times as first author, the total number of multi-authored papers and the total number of times of co-authors. The average number of times as first author is the dominance score and the number of times as first author divided by mean of co-authors gives dominance co-efficiency. These measures are put to test on faculty members of a Department of a University to show how the indexes would look like. The data sets are collected from their biodata and supplemented from SCOPUS database. The results obtained seems quite tenable. But the usage of these indexes is left to the discretion of evaluators. Some pertinent implications and questions such as, the significance of a paper, omission of single-authored papers, the role of corresponding author, the practice of noblesse oblige, the effect of team size, the regulation of authorship and ordering in the by-line are discussed. Further, an alternative measure of dominance is also given on the sine quo non that order of authors in the by-line is strictly according to relative measure of contribution. In this case, the dominance index is a measure of an author’s standing or prominence among his co-authors based on the ranking or position in the ascription of all the co-authored papers. It gives relative rank or position of an author or scientist among one’s co-author(s) of the times of co-authoring based on the ascription of all the paper of significance. Dominance co-efficiency is the product of paper of significance and dominance index. A negative or low DI or DC scores of a scientist or an author do not mean that the scientific or research contribution is low or insignificant. On the other hand, a high DI and DC scores of a scientist or an author do not necessarily mean that his or her scientific contribution is excellent or important.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    See Vinkler (2010).

  2. 2.

    These are data set of four Price Medal awardees.

  3. 3.

    This is the title of the article.

  4. 4.

    https://www.casrai.org/credit.html.

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Peidu, C. Can authors’ position in the ascription be a measure of dominance?. Scientometrics 121, 1527–1547 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03254-1

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Keywords

  • Authorship
  • Authorship ordering
  • By-line
  • Dominance Index
  • Dominance co-efficiency