Who deserves authorship?

Submitted by chaky on Thu, 10/21/2021 - 20:33

questionWhen I was a Ph.D. student, it was often confusing to me who should I put as the "second author" vs. "third author", and the like.  Of course, as a young kid, I want to make everyone happy.  Fortunately, I was involved in an ethics campaign organized by Japan Research Society where I was asked to learn the "right" way of authorship crediting.  Here I would like to summarize some key points:

What is considered "significant contribution"

  1. Drafting and revising the papers, laying out the logical flow of the main concept
  2. Conducting analysis that requires certain technical expertise (e.g., machine learning, neural imaging analysis)
  3. Providing important ideas to the experiment design and executing the experiments
  • What is considered "insignificant contribution"
    1. Conducting "way too simple" analysis (e.g., finding an average, making beautiful graphs; put them in Acknowledgement though)
    2. Providing funding, finding participants, etc. (i.e., put them in Acknowledgement as well)
    3. Checking grammar

Nature has recently published a survey, revealing the opinions of 6000 researchers, regarding who deserves authorship.  Take a look.