Author names on poster/paper

posted
05-Mar-18, 14:32
edited about 11 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
I collected data and did the stats for a project - and wasn't added to the paper! No hard feelings! I was learning and getting paid... I was a part-time RA... I wasn't formally part of the research group at the time... the person I was doing it for was an early stage researcher, and stood more to gain by being a single author (or one of a small number of authors) than adding me on when I was simply a student following instructions (and gaining experience and dosh). Some people might find this extreme judging by comments on this thread. But really - I had no say in the original idea for the project and didn't make any substantive decisions about anything... I was just doing a favour and getting experience for myself. That's how things are done in my department.

If, on the other hand, I'd grown really interested in the work, and had some ideas of my own, and fed them in, and we'd come up with new ideas together of what to pursue next... maybe applying for a PhD under that person's supervision, I think that would have been different... I'd have had some ownership for the project, and would probably have been asked to write up the intro and results or something (and be a named author) - or design a poster (and be a named author on that).


It is ridiculous that you were not included on any paper for this project if you did more than a few hours of work, Your future career would have been helped by inclusion. It's extraordinary that you are cool with it and that you seem to be happy to consider the early stage researchers career given that they clearly used you for personal benefit without considering you at all but that is your choice I suppose. It would have made zero difference to have included you. Whoever told you otherwise is lying to you. You have been used I'm afraid. In a brutal industry, there is no honour in allowing others to do this to you for their sole gain. This person may well be your competitor for funding in a couple of years. You should always remember that.
posted
05-Mar-18, 16:18
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 9 months ago
pm133, it's not usual for people such as technicians and field assistants to be added to papers. What Tudor_Queen is describing is totally normal IMO.

Anyway, I have decided I will add the student's name to the poster. I'm still not convinced they should be included, but it doesn't really matter whether they are on there or not this time.
posted
05-Mar-18, 17:51
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 9 months ago
Great that you made a decision ToL! Stimulating thread this!

It isn't ridiculous pm133. It was completely acceptable in the context. I still interact now with those I was working for/with then, and I will do the same myself when I am in a position to! In my area of research, it does matter how many names are on a paper (especially if the person has not published much - or has only published papers where their name is one among many). I wasn't told this (or lied to about it) - I already knew it mattered. And I didn't expect to be on a paper unless I was contributing to it, rather than just collecting data, as I generally was doing.

Just to add - many papers have an acknowledgement section on, where various people (often students) are acknowledged for their assistance with data collection, coding, reliabilities etc. It really isn't so unusual.
posted
06-Mar-18, 21:44
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
Great that you made a decision ToL! Stimulating thread this!

It isn't ridiculous pm133. It was completely acceptable in the context. I still interact now with those I was working for/with then, and I will do the same myself when I am in a position to! In my area of research, it does matter how many names are on a paper (especially if the person has not published much - or has only published papers where their name is one among many). I wasn't told this (or lied to about it) - I already knew it mattered. And I didn't expect to be on a paper unless I was contributing to it, rather than just collecting data, as I generally was doing.

Just to add - many papers have an acknowledgement section on, where various people (often students) are acknowledged for their assistance with data collection, coding, reliabilities etc. It really isn't so unusual.


Who is telling you that it matters how many names are on a paper when you are either first or corresponding author?
posted
06-Mar-18, 22:03
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 9 months ago
No one is telling me that. Why?
posted
07-Mar-18, 00:34
edited about 6 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
No one is telling me that. Why?


You seem very sure that it matters. I was wondering what you were basing that on. If I am wrong to say it doesn't matter at all then I'd be interested in knowing. From my research into this from talking to people who have both failed and secured fellowships, I know that first and corresponding authorship certainly matters hugely but the number of names affects neither first or corresponding authors. I used that knowledge to ensure I was 1st author in almost all my papers with the rest demonstrating collaboration with wider groups - a balanced diet you might say.
posted
07-Mar-18, 11:58
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 9 months ago
It doesn't matter how many other authors there are besides you in first or last place, that's true. It does eventually matter whether some papers are without your PhD supervisors.
posted
07-Mar-18, 14:52
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 9 months ago
pm133 & ToL:- that's interesting/useful, I didn't really know about the ins and outs of it - always just thought fewer was better.
posted
07-Mar-18, 15:17
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 9 months ago
It might be in social sciences etc, but in science, more people can be a good thing because it shows collaboration as pm133 said.
posted
07-Mar-18, 17:44
edited about 19 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
pm133 & ToL:- that's interesting/useful, I didn't really know about the ins and outs of it - always just thought fewer was better.


It can certainly diminish your contribution if you are eighth in a list of 14 authors.
The way round this of course is to have a seperate supplementary document detailing which author did which work. This would be invaluable information but of course many academics would fight this because it would highlight how little some contribute. Interestingly, under that scheme, in the paper where you were omitted, it would have been obvious you needed to be added because the question from the editor would be "who collected the data?".

I would like to make one other point about your posts above Tudor. You have gone out of your way to play down your contribution to that paper you were not listed as author on. I would strongly urge you to never do that. Academia is absolutely brutal enough without you doing this to yourself. From what you describe, you performed absolutely crucial work for this person. Without your contribution they would not have a paper of anywhere near the same quality. I know that culturally we have a habit of being humble and downplaying our contributions but academia isn't the place to be doing that. Shout from the rooftops or you risk being left behind when funding is handed out. I personally wouldn't have hesitated in adding you.
posted
07-Mar-18, 20:10
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 9 months ago
Thanks pm133. But, I don't think I should have been on the papers. If you'd ask me to explain the theory or give a detailed rationale behind the study or what it contributed, I couldn't tell you. I could tell enough to explain to the participants, but I didn't have a detailed understanding of what it was all about - I more or less followed a protocol each time. And I don't think that warrants co-authorship. I think it would be different if I was a statistician, for instance, and my specialism was needed in order for the paper to be produced. As it was, any Tom, Dick, or Harry could have done what I did.

I am one of those people who refuses to be taken advantage of, when I can help it (and who rails out against and generally refuses to participate in the pee-taking things I see going on in academia). I stood to gain by getting experience collecting data etc (it all went on my CV, which I'm sure helped me get PhD funding), and, just as importantly at the time, by getting some good money (the RA rate was better than anything I'd have been able to find anywhere else for something so enjoyable). I think that having my name on the paper wouldn't have been appropriate in my specific case.

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