The academic community must move beyond compliance with standards and toward the cultivation of a greater sense of ethical responsibility, argue A. Susan Jurow and Jordan Jurow.
Abuse of authorship is increasingly common in higher education. For example, too many academics are either listing the names of people on papers who have not contributed to those papers or they are not including the names of those who have.
As a result, authorship has become a false signifier of intellectual productivity and authority. And if we allow such authorship abuse to continue unabated, we are abdicating our responsibilities as scholars, furthering distrust in educational institutions and delegitimizing our ability to make knowledge claims that can enable us to effect change.
Simply put, an author is a person who has contributed real and identifiable intellectual labor to earn their position on a paper. Giving credit to those who do not deserve it — or, equally problematic, not crediting those who have done work — compromises the trustworthiness of our research and our honor as scholars. The perversion of authorship is being reproduced through unreflective practice, apprenticeship into inappropriate practices and, at times, outright dishonesty, facilitated by the growing use of problematic metrics of scholarship.