“When I interviewed academics about ethical issues recently, a recurring gripe was that they had been under-credited when publishing with others. Most experienced researchers seemed to have a similar war story.
This was once a problem largely confined to the hard sciences, where it is usual to see long lists of contributors, but it has recently become much more common among social scientists. In education, for example, multiple authorship is now the norm. Educational Studies, a leading journal in the field, had an average of 1.13 authors per paper in 1975; by 2014, it was 2.76.
The order in which names appear on an academic publication matters a lot. First authorship is a prestige indicator. Citations, invitations to speak and requests to review papers and grant proposals are all likely to go to the first author, and the number of first authorships is a crucial factor in appointment, promotion and tenure decisions. It may influence judgements about whether to include an academic in an audit return, such as the research excellence framework. Moreover, in various parts of the world, including China and Japan, PhD students need to publish as first authors before they are allowed to graduate.”
Times Higher Education. (2015). Authorship abuse is the dark side of collaboration’. Retrieved 7 January, from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/authorship-abuse-is-the-dark-side-of-collaboration