Science is now more collaborative than it used to be, increasing the average number of authors per paper. Authorship standards also are changing (see also here and here). All of which means that authorship, and author order, are increasingly difficult-to-interpret summaries of scientists’ contributions to a paper.
Hence the increasing prevalence of author contribution statements: formal statements of who did what. Many journals, such as Nature, now require author contribution statements. I like author contribution statements and routinely include them in all my papers. But as with any trend, not everyone likes the trend towards author contribution statements. Further, it’s not clear that anyone pays much attention to author contribution statements. Maybe author contribution statements are like some rare deep sea fish–most people are glad that they exist, even though they have no practical effect on anything?
So here’s a short poll, asking you a few questions about authorship and author contribution statements. Who should get to be an author, and are author contribution statements useful? I’ll share the results in a future post. Looking forward to your responses!
p.s. Thanks to Meg for the inspiration to do a poll on this, though I can only hope my poll will live up to the high standard hers set.
UPDATE: The poll is now closed.