The Responsibilities of Authorship
A dark side of collaborating is that the system invites abuse. Well-known individuals may lend their name to a manuscript to boost its prestige, even though they had nothing to do with its creation. Scholars with seniority may insist on listing their names first, even though more junior scholars did all the innovative thinking and research on a project.
It’s the responsibility of everyone whose name is listed as an "author" to attest:
- Their bona fide contribution to the work
- Support of the research and conclusions
- Working knowledge of the project or ideas described
- Their position in the list of co-authors as an accurate representation of their contribution to the project
If you are invited to add your name to a list of "authors," be sure that you can live up to these responsibilities!
In addition to your responsibilities to the collaborative team, you have responsibilities to yourself – to identify and use the tools that will make your life easier and streamline your process as you develop your publishing experience. From these "big picture" questions, let’s zoom in on some specific details.
When co-authorship works best:
It's really critical to know your co-authors and their working style, and to establish clear guidelines for a project -- i.e. who does what and how and by when, who is in charge, order of author names in final product. As co-authors we also have a responsibility to speak up early in the process if the project is moving in a direction we don't agree with. It's easier to change course earlier than later.
-- Crystal Sharp, author