Academic authorship: who, why and in what order?

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Hundley, Vanora ; Van Teijlingen, Edwin ; Simkhada, Padam (2013)

We are frequently asked by our colleagues and students for advice on authorship for scientific articles. This short paper outlines some of the issues that we have experienced and the advice we usually provide. This editorial follows on from our work on submitting a paper1 and also on writing an academic paper for publication.2 We should like to start by noting that, in our view, there exist two separate, but related issues: (a) authorship and (b) order of authors. The issue of authorship centres on the notion of who can be an author, who should be an author and who definitely should not be an author, and this is partly discipline specific. The second issue, the order of authors, is usually dictated by the academic tradition from which the work comes. One can immediately envisage disagreements within a multi-disciplinary team of researchers where members of the team may have different approaches to authorship order.
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