Scientific publication- lack of proper credit

2008/09/19 § Leave a comment


In research publications are the most valuable currency any scientist has. Hence it is not surprising that there is a lot of struggle and even outright fighting for publications. A scientific publication or so called “paper” has the authors names on it. Usually you will find the name of the person who carried out the practical part of the study first. Then cooperating researchers or students who helped out with the work. At the end there should be the head of the group. It is intended for this person to usually have planed the study to large extends and usually also financed it.

Here the trouble starts; people do not get the position on the paper they think they deserve or are even ignored altogether. That especially happens when someone, lets say a phd student or postdoc has left the group. Suddenly many professors think it is alright to step all over that persons achievement and leave there name out or put them in an unfavorable position (e.g. “hidden” somewhere in the middle).

I have seen much of this in my humble scientific career and have been a victim myself. I have recently written a review (sure, it was no research paper) and have not been credited for it. My name does not appear on the paper at all. Must have to do with my leaving that specific research group. I do not mind too much. My attitude is that everyone has to suit themselves. In the end people often meet twice…

Sure an author- like in that case me- has the possibility to contact the publisher to have things investigated. Fortunately in this instance it is so insignificant that I won´t even consider this step. However, what interests me is, what is your, the readers experience with this topic? What is your experience with similar professional situation and what was the outcome?

Especially if you are a scientist, I am curious to hear your experience! I wonder if this just a case of my specific field of research and/or the characters who are in it, or if this is a more universal science and research problem?

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