In a large and detailed survey on the ethics of scientific coauthorship, members of the American Physical Society (APS) were asked to judge the number of appropriate coauthors on his or her last published paper. Results show that the first or second coauthor are more appropriate than later coauthors about whom there is equal and considerable doubt. The probability of any third and subsequent coathors being judged as inappropriate is 23% for the APS guideline, 67% for the tighter guideline of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, 59% if the guideline requires “direct contributions to scientific discovery or invention”. Only 3% of respondents report having personally rejected an undeserving scientist who expected to be an author on the last published paper. Respondents seem to be divided into two non-overlapping populations—those who report no inappropriate coauthorship and those who have a more graduated view.
Keywordsauthorship credit physics intellectual property
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Scheetz, M.D. (1999) Office of Research Integrity: a reflection of disputes and misunderstandings. Croatian Medical Journal 40: 321–325.Google Scholar
- 2.Vasta, R. (1981) The matter of publication credit: a survey of APA members, Journal Supplement Abstract Service Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology 11: 2–3.Google Scholar
- 3.Tarnow, E. (2000) How do we bring authorship out of the bedroom? Science Editor 23: 183.Google Scholar
- 4.Swazey, Judith P., Anderson, Melissa S. and Louis, Karen Seashore (1993) Ethical problems in academic research, American Scientist 81: 542–554.Google Scholar
- 6.Eastwood, S., Derish, P., Leash, E. and Ordway, S. (1996) Ethical Issues in Biomedical Research: Perceptions and Practices of Postdoctoral Research Fellows Responding to a Survey, Science and Engineering Ethics 2: 89–114.Google Scholar
- 8.Tarnow, E. (1999) The Authorship List in Science: Junior Physicists’ Perceptions of Who Appears and Why, Science and Engineering Ethics 5: 73–88.Google Scholar
- 9.Yank, V. and Rennie, D. (1999) Disclosure of researcher contributions: a study of original research articles, Annals of Internal Medicine 130: 661–70.Google Scholar
- 10.Taylor, Humphrey (1999) Does internet research work, International Journal of Market Research 42: 51–63.Google Scholar
- 11.Tarnow, E. (1991) Scientific authorship — what’s in a name, Physics Today 44: 13.Google Scholar