Monday, January 14, 2008

Author Contributions, Redux

Some time ago, I pointed out an article with a very detailed account of the authors' contributions. Here is another similar case I have just seen, via Galileo. (Look at the acknowledgements.) This makes me wonder whether it is standard practice in the medical literature to list what each of the authors contributed to a paper. Is it?

2 comments:

Viktor said...

That article also has statements of funding and of "competing interests" of a form and to an extent that you never see in computer science either.

I suppose that medical science may have been attacked more, and have suffered more from academic dishonesty.

Bartek said...

I suppose the reason for this practice is that some papers in medical science are based on data and procedures so complex that no author controls, or even fully understands, what the others are doing. So if, say, data analysis later turns out to be baloney, the other authors' careers are saved.

In matematics or theoretical computer science all authors control all results (understand all proofs etc), or at least they should. But I would not be very surprised to see the same practice in areas where papers require vast amounts of code and/or experimental data.