Some perspective / protocol regarding credit on research papers
- It's mainly the first author's name that counts in publications.
Though some universities are beginning to recognize that some
disciplines routinely have multi-author contributions.
- Forgetting to credit someone can become a major point of
contention in the "real world" especially when $s are involved.
- Yes in some cases you just forget- accidents happen. But at the
same time you should always be thorough. And if there is a way to
correct the situation, by all means do so.
- In general I always err on the side of being generous with
credit. If someone has something remotely to do with the paper, you are
almost always better off crediting someone than not. People who don't
play well with others are often excluded from the party in the future-
even for brilliant scientists. If you don't credit someone, they won't
credit you in the future. So playing nice can pay dividends.
- When you do add someone to a paper you should always ask them for
permission first. Your paper may suck and they may not want their name
associated with it. Some researchers may actually not want their names
on papers if they feel they really haven't contributed significantly to
it. Also, on a slightly related note: when you put someone as a
reference on your resume, it is generally polite to ask for permission
- If you feel you should be on a paper and you are not, simply, and
politely ask to be included. Don't just assume they left you out
because they don't like you. Assume it was an honest mistake.
- Try to get in the habit of resolving these issues amongst
yourselves rather than having Luc, Xi, Andy or I always mediate-
if something happens more than once then by all means bring it to our
So here's a bit of protocol: for
anyone who is writing a paper, please send out the final version to the
entire group and ask everyone to check to see if they feel they should
be credited, before final submission to the conference/journal/magazine