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Authorship Issues
 

Authorship Issues

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Slides from the lecture "Authorship issues" in Phil 133 ("Ethics in Science") at San Jose State University.

Slides from the lecture "Authorship issues" in Phil 133 ("Ethics in Science") at San Jose State University.

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    Authorship Issues Authorship Issues Presentation Transcript

    • Authorship issues. Phil 133 – Ethics in Science San José State University
    • Why does the author line matter?
      • Communication – who did the research, made this contribution to the shared body of knowledge?
    • Why does the author line matter?
      • Communication – who did the research, made this contribution to the shared body of knowledge? Authors need to be available in the ongoing scientific conversation about the work.
    • Why does the author line matter?
      • Communication – who did the research, made this contribution to the shared body of knowledge? Authors need to be available in the ongoing scientific conversation about the work.
      • Credit – who gets to count this contribution in the scientific scorekeeping?
    • Why does the author line matter?
      • Communication – who did the research, made this contribution to the shared body of knowledge? Authors need to be available in the ongoing scientific conversation about the work.
      • Credit – who gets to count this contribution in the scientific scorekeeping? Who shoulders blame if results don’t hold up?
    • How do you read the author line?
      • Firsty McAuthorson, Nexty Segundo, T.H. Author III, and Lasty Corresponding*
      • Corresponding author (*) responsible for fielding questions (and requests for reprints).
      • Is the first author the one who deserves the most credit?
    • How do you read the author line?
      • Depends on scientific field!
      • In some fields, the convention is to list authors alphabetically:
      • T.H. Author III, Lasty Corresponding*, Firsty McAuthorson, and Nexty Segundo
      • no matter who made the biggest contribution. (All share responsibility for the whole paper.)
    • How do you read the author line?
      • Sometimes PI always takes first author slot:
      • Lasty Corresponding*, Firsty McAuthorson, Nexty Segundo, and T.H. Author III
      • because PI is the brains of the operation (with grad students, postdocs, technicians working under PI’s direction and supervision).
    • How do you read the author line?
      • Often the PI takes the last author slot, with first author slot for person who executed research and analysis:
      • Firsty McAuthorson, Nexty Segundo, T.H. Author III, and Lasty Corresponding*
      • Corresponding author because PI usually has most stable position and address.
      • (Still assumed to be the brains of the operation?)
    • How do you read the author line?
      • Assigning credit (and proportional credit) when there are many authors is pretty hard.
      • Some situations where who’s listed as an author doesn’t correspond to what readers expect that an author has contributed.
    • Problematic situations:
      • Ghost writers (didn’t contribute to research, yet write the paper – and aren’t identified as writing the paper) Articles in medical journals written by (unnamed) pharma employees
      • “ Guest authors” (people who didn’t actually contribute to the research or writing) Gerald Schatten in Korean stem cell fraud
      • Surprise! You’re an author! http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2006/05/the_author_unaware.php
    • Problematic situations:
      • What makes them a problem is that they mislead readers about who is accountable for what’s in the paper, and who deserves credit for the scientific contribution. Misleading is awfully close to lying.
    • ICMJE authorship standards:
      • Substantial contribution to conception and design of the research, OR acquisition of data, OR analysis and interpretation of data; AND
    • ICMJE authorship standards:
      • Substantial contribution to conception and design of the research, OR acquisition of data, OR analysis and interpretation of data; AND
      • Drafting the article OR revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
    • ICMJE authorship standards:
      • Substantial contribution to conception and design of the research, OR acquisition of data, OR analysis and interpretation of data; AND
      • Drafting the article OR revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
      • Final approval of the version to be published.
    • ICMJE authorship standards:
      • Only people who meet all three conditions count as authors.
      • Every person who meets all three conditions counts as an author.
    • ICMJE authorship standards:
      • “Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.”
      • Does this mean PIs shouldn’t be listed as authors so much of the time?
    • ICMJE authorship standards:
      • “Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.”
      • Can the reader tell which authors take responsibility for which portions of the content?
    • Explicit authorship:
      • Authors required to identify their contributions to the work described in the manuscript.
      • Details of these contributions included in the published paper.
      • The standard in some biomedical journals, ecology journals.
    • Explicit authorship:
      • Makes it less important to work out author rankings (2 nd vs. 3 rd vs. 4 th )
      • Better for follow-up questions, especially in interdisciplinary research
      • Still possible to misrepresent contributions (although requires a conscious lie).
    • Peer review
      • Ideally , critical engagement with other scientists reviewing your manuscript helps you exercise skepticism, provide good evidence for your claims, be more objective.
    • Peer review
      • In practice , scientists express concerns about operation of peer review:
      • Reviewers too conservative (wedded to old theories and results)
      • Reviewers not competent to evaluate (outside the area of their expertise)
    • Peer review
      • Reviewers more interested in protecting their scientific turf (want their lab to get to the discovery first)
      • Reject, stall manuscripts from competitors
      • Steal important information from manuscripts of competitors
    • Peer review
      • Why should just three scientists get to decide whether my results are worthy of scientific notice?
      • Wouldn’t it be better to announce them and let the whole scientific community make the decision?
    • Peer review
      • Quality control before publication?
      • After publication?
      • Both?
      • (Who else counts on peer review as a quality control screen?)