09 July 2012
By Rob Hardwick
An interesting article in The Scientist (http://the-scientist.com/2012/07/01/alls-not-fair-in-science-and-publishing/) describes the experience of an academic who did not get a mention on a journal publication despite offering crucial advice to the interpretation of the results.
This got me thinking - what contribution to a research project is worthy of an authorship? In this case the scientist involved gave his interpretation of the data to his collaborator, who then proceeded to publish without offering him an authorship. This sounds wrong to me – surely he should be a co-author as his intellectual contribution formed the basis of the paper’s conclusions. But where do you draw the line with advice received from colleagues and authorship? What about other contributions, like routine experimental work? Has anybody else felt they have been denied a paper authorship they have deserved?