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Who's listed first? Considering for Authorship order on a Manuscript

student writing in composition book with laptop nearby

I recently attended a meeting where there was a robust conversation about authorship order. This conversation prompted me to write this blog to provide an overview of authorship order and to review as you consider the authorship order of your team on a manuscript. Generally, authorship order follows the contribution that each team member made to the research and production of the manuscript.

The greater your contribution, the higher your order should be in the list of authors of a manuscript i.e., the researcher that leads the group and has the responsibility for managing the research process and writing related to the research manuscript would most likely be listed as the first author on the paper.

In most academic communities, it is recognized that the first author has done the most work related to the manuscript. The order of authorship for team members depends on how much they contributed to the manuscript.

Generally, authorship order follows the contribution that each team member made to the research and production of the manuscript.

Stella Smith    

 Associate University Research Chair

There are several ways in which you can contribute to a manuscript, such as:

  • Substantial contributions to the research (e.g., contribution to conception and design, gathering of or access to data, or analysis and interpretation of data)
  • Writing or revising the manuscript
  • Participating in the final approval of the version to be published.

As you work with your research teams, ensure that you discuss roles and responsibilities on the team as well as the authorship order in relation to those roles. Accurate authorship allocation is critical because publication is one of the main considerations of tenure and promotion at academic institutions.

Resources

Avula, J., & Avula, H. (2015). Authors, authorship order, the moving finger writes. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, 19(3), 258. 

Office of Research Integrity (n.d.), Authorship. U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.  

Van de Vosse, E. (2019). Authorship in scientific publication - Students 4 Best Evidence. EV Science Consultant.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Stella Smith

Dr. Stella Smith serves as the Associate University Research Chair for Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR).