ISSN: 2394-0638
DOI: 10.21276/rjaes     

Definition for Authorship: Participate in drafting, reviewing, and/or revising the manuscript for intellectual content.

A large percentage of scientific journal articles have multiple authors. The commonly accepted guideline for authorship is that one must have substantially contributed to the development of the paper.

Did the particular scientist initiate or develop the central ideas discussed in the journal article? The development of ideas encompasses a wide scope of tasks. Included are contributions that determine whether an individual or group designed the research plan and/or developed the funding for the research program. The latter is not a small contribution. Many good ideas are not investigated because there is no funding to examine the proposed hypotheses.

Potential authorship roles include individuals or groups who actually gather the data needed by the program in progress. The data may or may not have been in the initial study design. Some papers include data that are relevant to the problem being investigated, but were gathered for other purposes. Often, the main person responsible for gathering the external data set is included as an author, especially if that scientist has not published an article using the data.

There is a subtle problem associated with these criteria, however, as larger projects often have one or more research scientists that design how data is to be collected and may have a technician or set of technicians who configure the instruments or carry out the specified analyses. If the technical staff contributes to an analysis, refines or improves the analysis, and also discusses with the research staff how the results of the analysis affects the hypothesis under study, they are usually included in the authorship list. Additional articles may be written that address new developments in analytical or instrumental procedures. A technician is usually the first author on these articles.

Finally, who actually writes the paper is significant. An individual who has written substantial sections of a paper that describe: 1) why the research problem is important, 2) how it fits into the general knowledge available on the subject, and 3) how the new paradigms advance the state-of-the-art knowledge in that field, is usually considered the first author.

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