How authorships in papers are to be decided is something that every researcher learns more by observation and personal experience than by any set standards. And, more often than not, the research and lab culture that one hails from has a huge say in what one considers as normal or abnormal. Hence, it is always interesting to know about existing literature where some of these issues are discussed.
Papers authored by groups of researchers may soon need detailed declarations of the contributions made by each author, a feature already introduced by some journals. In a recent editorial, Bruce Alberts, the editor-in-chief of Science outlines changes of policy, designed to discourage ‘honorary authors’. He cites a 1994 report of the US National Academy of Sciences, which states that ‘just providing the laboratory space for a project or furnishing a sample used in the research is not sufficient to be included as an author’ (Science, 2010, 327, 12).
A must-read piece. Take a look!