Conflicts about authorship have been increasing, research shows. In accordance with a 1998 study within the Journal regarding the American Medical Association by Linda Wilcox, the ombudsperson at Harvard’s medical, dental, and public-health schools, the percentage of complaints about authorship at the three institutions rose in the 1990s. Such grievances ranged from people feeling which they were not being given credit as first author, even though these were promised it, to people feeling that their work merited first authorship and even though they merely performed experiments and did not design or write the research up. Wilcox’s research found that authorship-related queries to her office rose from 2.3% of total complaints in 1991 to 10.7% in 1997. Between 1994 and 1997, 46% for the queries were from faculty and 34% were from postdoctoral fellows, interns, or residents.
Other studies, cited by Eugene Tarnow, point out the presssing issue of plagiarism as a challenge, too. A 1993 study looked over perceived misconduct in a study of professors and students that are graduate four disciplines during a period of five years. Inappropriate co-authorship was slightly greater than plagiarism as a challenge. Plagiarism was a problem of graduate students, while inappropriate co-authorship was a problem mostly of faculty.
how to handle it if an authorship problem arises
If a conflict arises between a junior scientist and a senior scientist regarding authorship, experts advise that the disagreement should first be addressed in the set of authors and the project leader. Should that not lead to a satisfactory solution, the junior scientist can seek guidance from other members of the department, student organizations, representatives in an office of postdoctoral affairs, or even the ombudsperson in the institution.
The ombudsperson is a neutral party who, if she or he is a subscriber to your standards regarding the national ombudsperson’s organization, will talk about the situation and will not keep records regarding the conversation. The ombudsperson can talk about the concerns confidentially, help identify the issues, interpret policies and procedures, and supply a variety of options for determining who deserves authorship or whether there are various other issues.