A worksheet for authorship of scientific articles

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Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America

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Inclusion as an author in a scientific publication is important to many ecologists for reasons of prestige and advancement. Publications are a key factor in deciding on promotions for many ecologists at universities (Jackson and Prados 1983, Croll 1984). The order of listed authors on a paper is assumed to be an indication of the relative contribution of each of the included authors. Day (1983: 15-19), Croll (1984), Kennedy (1985), and Jackson (1986) reviewed contemporary difficulties with decision-making in assigning authorship. Dickson et al. (1978) proposed guidelines for determining inclusion and ranking in authorship of a scientific publication. They divided research investigations into five areas: conception (including funding), design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation, and recommended that authors need to make, at a minimum, a significant contribution in manuscript preparation and in at least one other area. Authorship order was determined by a ranking of the number of areas in. which significant contributions were made. This paper details a method for assisting in (1) deciding who is to be listed as an author on a paper, and (2) the ordinal ranking of authors listed on a paper. Of course, the best procedure -for dealing with potential problems in assigning authorship is to deal with the issue at the beginning of a study.

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