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Coauthor Distribution

A fairer way to author publications
  [vote for,

The sequence of authors of scientific research papers tend to be perceived to attribute the significance of contribution of an author to a paper.

However, there is a significant number of cases, when authors feel to have had equally much contributed to a paper, and feel it is unfair to be listed as a second or third author. Moreover, the more such equally contributing authors, the more unsatisfied parties.

The "coauthor distribution" is a fairer replacement for "author list". It is a combination of two lists: an alphabetical list of authors, and a list of weights of their contribution, defining a categorical multinomial distribution. It inherently does not contain information about order, but is flexible enough to include such information if necessary.

Inyuki, Apr 16 2012

Practically http://i.mindey.com/prm/coauthors.pdf
Simply use alphabetical order for author list, use subscripts to denote the weights of contribution. [Inyuki, Apr 16 2012, last modified May 03 2013]


       For research papers where authors and works are merely cited, this would work when certain authors have been clearly plagiarised. Listing oneself as the author second to Noam Chomsky or whomever was the originator of the overarching thesis.
rcarty, Apr 16 2012

       There are a dozen systems already used to try to address this problem, none effective.   

       A lot of journals allow (or require) statements of contribution for all authors. Many others allow statements such as "Joint senior authors". And, in some disciplines where author lists are typically large, alphabetized author lists are sometimes used.   

       The problems I see with this are that:   

       (a) if the paper is cited in another journal that uses the "Abel et al 2012" format, then "Abel" gets recognition regardless of his or her contribution.   

       (b) authors will argue about what numerical value they are assigned, just as much as they currently argue about author order.   

       So, I don't think it really helps to convert author contributions into numerical values, compared to the established practice of converting them into authorship positions. The former system is just a more cumbersome equivalent of the latter, shirley?
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2012

       Perhaps add the attribution list as a random smattering of credits, like the signatures on the American Declaration of Independence?   

       That seems to assign no particular weight to any one author, except John Hancock, who took pride of place and used up more space than anyone else.   

       It could even end up something like the weighted representation of a Facebook "Yearbook" page, or whatever it's called.
UnaBubba, Apr 17 2012

       Leave the page blank and include a sheet of sticky labels with the names on.
pocmloc, Apr 17 2012

       How about if you used some sort of software that allows you to selectively specify which author contributed to which part of the paper. You'd then assign each author a bit value of between 1 and n. The text would be colored according to a palette of 2^n-1 colors, corresponding to which author(s) contributed to each part. This would probably be workable for up to maybe 5 or 6 different authors.
ytk, Apr 17 2012

       anagrams of the authors' names in crossword-puzzle format, complete with paper-relevant clues ?
FlyingToaster, Apr 17 2012

       [ !"#$%] the scientist formerly known as Zmendrick.
4whom, Apr 17 2012

       It's all good fun until "Prince" gets his doctorate.
UnaBubba, Apr 17 2012

       On occasion I enjoy clicking on 1st, 2nd, or last author's names on a paper at pubmed to read more about their work. Alphabetizing would mess with that.
beanangel, Jan 10 2018

       So if Johnson the undergrad spent two years in the library doing research, James the undergrad spent 1 year turning it into something resembling a paper, MacGuir the technician spent 6 months on a supercomputer crunching the numbers, and Professor Brown spent 2 months putting it all together into something worthy of publishing, who contributed the most?
Voice, Jan 10 2018

       The convention (at least in bioscience) is that the first author is the one who did most of the hands-on work, and the last author is the one who conceived the research. Positions near the front or near the back reflect diminishing contributions in each aspect.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 10 2018


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