Challenging the social norms of authorship assignment

Morris, S. E. (2009). Challenging the social norms of authorship assignment. In: Society for Research into Higher Education Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference, Newport, Wales, United Kingdom, (). 7 December 2009.

Author Morris, S. E.
Title of paper Challenging the social norms of authorship assignment
Conference name Society for Research into Higher Education Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference
Conference location Newport, Wales, United Kingdom
Conference dates 7 December 2009
Publication Year 2009
Sub-type Fully published paper
Language eng
Abstract/Summary “I’m the head of the research group and therefore am the first author on all papers from this group. It’s the way it was done when I was a student and it’s the way that it’s always been done. It’s just common knowledge that the senior researcher in the group gets top billing.” How would you handle this situation if your senior colleague or Research Higher Degree (RHD) supervisor held this view regarding authorship of a manuscript relating to ‘your’ research? You have several options: (1) challenge the status quo and potentially damage any future chance you have for promotion/tenure/quality supervision; (2) walk away and accept the decision; or (3) accept the decision for now, and reconvene once you obtain more information regarding authorship guidelines. For researchers and students faced with this dilemma, option 3 would be the most desirable for resolving the problem, but for many, is not considered viable. Research on authorship guidelines inevitably leads to the ‘Vancouver Protocol’. The ‘Vancouver Protocol’ was developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and establishes a set of authorship guidelines for manuscripts submitted to many biomedical journals. These guidelines have been adopted in policies written by governments (e.g., Revision of the Joint NHMRC/AVCC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia, 2007)), universities (e.g., University of Oxford, 2004), and associations (e.g., American Psychological Association, 1992) as minimum requirements for authorship determination. Despite the existence of these policies, which clearly state minimum authorship requirements, issues like the one illustrated above still exist. Junior researchers and students who experience problems may perpetuate the cycle of unethical authorship practices as they progress through their careers, believing that these methods for assigning authorship are acceptable. The end result for many researchers and students who encounter unethical practices may be unwillingness to collaborate or publish in the future, increased time to RHD completion, or even withdrawal from their postgraduate degrees (Morris, 2008). This paper will explore and challenge the social norms of authorship assignment and suggest ways institutions can change authorship practices in their organisation so they are consistent with the institution's authorship and research ethics policies.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
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Created: Thu, 02 Dec 2010, 14:01:03 EST by Dr Suzanne Morris on behalf of Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)