Academia has a problem: the value, necessity, and practices of collaboration are increasing, but the system of giving credit is inadequate. In most fields, there are only 4 levels of credit:
- None at all
- “Our thanks to Jill for sharing her data.” (a note of thanks)
- First Authorship (This is ambiguous: it may be alphabetical.)
- Listed as another author
In contrast to this paucity, modern empirical paper writing has many roles. Here are a dozen roles. Not all of them are important on a single paper, but each of them is important in some papers.
- Intellectual leadership.
- Source of the original idea
- Doing the writing
- Writing various parts, e.g. literature review
- Doing the grunt work on the stat analysis. (Writing and running the R code)
- Doing the grunt work of finalizing for publication. (Much easier than it used to be!)
- Dealing with revisions, exchanges with editors, etc.
- Source of the data.
- Funder of the data
- Raised the funding;
- Runs the lab where the authors are employed
- Source of the money: usually an agency or foundation, but sometimes the contracting author is listed as a coauthor.