[ASC-list] Significance of author position on a research paper

Heather Bray heather.bray at adelaide.edu.au
Thu Feb 9 00:03:43 UTC 2017

Hi Bianca (and everyone)

It’s discipline specific (and very different in HASS to Sciences), and what happens in practice is often different from what should happen. I know there was an awesome tool called ‘authorder’ to help PhD students in particular navigate this but I wasn’t able to find a good link to it.

Ideally, authorship should be established using the Vancouver protocol. I found a link here: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/roles-and-responsibilities/defining-the-role-of-authors-and-contributors.html

Tldr: An author should be someone who contributes to the concept, experimental design, data collection, analysis, interpretation of findings, drafting the paper, and being prepared to take responsibility for the work.

The order should be in order of contribution, although there is a convention that the most senior researcher (who supervises some of the other members) goes last, esp in the sciences. Some journals are asking us to detail the contribution of each member in our papers.

It is really important to have discussions about this even before you start work when you are in a team.

Hope that helps.




Dr Heather Bray

Senior Research Associate
Department of History
School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts
The University of Adelaide, AUSTRALIA 5005

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From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Bianca Nogrady
Sent: Thursday, 9 February 2017 10:09 AM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: [ASC-list] Significance of author position on a research paper

Hi all,

this might be a stupid question, but what is the relative significance of the first and final author on a scientific paper? How is it decided?



Freelance science journalist and author
www.biancanogrady.com<http://www.biancanogrady.com>, 0411 420 913, Blackheath, NSW, Australia

The Best Australian Science Writing 2015<http://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/best-australian-science-writing-2015> - Editor (New South, 2015)

The End: The Human Experience of Death<http://www.theendbook.net> (Penguin Random House, 2013)

The Sixth Wave: How to Succeed in a Resource-Limited World <http://www.sixthwave.org> (Penguin Random House, 2010)
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