Research Authorship
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Research Authorship and Allocation of Credit

What is research authorship

Research authorship refers to the author or authors who have contributed to it and once the research is published there name appears as author name on the research. There can be a single author who did the research but many times there are two or more than two authors. Authors carry the responsibility of the research and they are the primary contributor to it.

When to decide the authorship

The researchers decide about the authorship and its order from the beginning of the research. They decide about their roles in conducting the research. The order of authorship also depends on the quantity and quality of contribution each author had to the research. It is wise to decide in advance otherwise there might be a conflict in the order of the authorship.

Sometimes the order of authorship of the research can not be decided in the beginning of the research. The authors should be well aware that the order of authorship will be decided at the end of the research. Throughout the research process the authors should continuously seek each others point of view on the order of authorship. At the end when the team already knows who put much effort and who should be the first one and then second and so on the published research paper.

Communication among authors

Each author that contributes to a research makes a team. The team meets each other after the completion of each phase of research, in between when there is an issue that needs urgent attention, when the things do not work the way it was decided, when there is a conflict among some of the authors, or due to any other need that should be talked and resolved. The team keep in touch with each other and every member should be aware of any changes in plan or any advancement. It is a breach of the research ethics to take charge of the research but fail to communicate each member the advancement in the research.

The research team should be well aware of the research objectives and hypothesis. In case there is an issue in using the proposed plan the researcher can think of some other ideas that do not conflict with the research objectives. Although it is wise to inform the team before changing any plan. Conflicts arise among the authors because they could not communicate properly.

Rules in authorship and its order

There are some rules that can be applied in deciding about the research authorship and its order. When the research is initiated by an expert researcher and some of the students worked along with the expert researcher the expert will get more credit for it. When the research is started by an experienced researcher but students add to major development they should be credited. There should be a generous attitude by the experienced researchers towards students in crediting them as they work hard to earn the reward. It is more important for the students to earn credit for a research then it is for the experienced professional researcher.

Author responsibility

When a person or person take credit for a work they are also responsible for it as it gets published. Any error or mistake found in the research paper would be directly authors’ responsibility and they cannot attribute that error and mistake to someone else. Every author listed in the author list on the published research should take the responsibility of the research. If an author is last in order in the authorship does not mean that he has less responsibility.

If a study is interdisciplinary and the authors are from different field they should make sure that they check each part of the research be it from their own discipline or from other discipline. They can get the part that does not belong to them checked by an expert from that field. If authors from different disciplines work together and they wish to take responsibility for only their own discipline they should mention it in the research.

Other contributors

There might be other people who contributed to the research but they are not considered as the author of the research. These people can include research advisors, mentors, professionals, experts in statistical analysis, respondents, friends, relatives etc. Some or many of these people might have helped the researcher in conducting the research. The help they rendered should be acknowledged properly. These people helped in the research but the difference between these people and the authors is that they do not solely and primarily contribute to the research.

Scientific papers do not allow crediting a person as an author if that person did not substantially contributed to the research. People who contributed to the research in other ways like financially, morally, or with their experiences are not the sole contributors of the research. The author should be a person who intellectually helped in the research, for example, in the formulation of research question; in developing or executing research design; or in analyzing and interpreting the research data.

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