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EthicsCaseStudyForm edit

Title Deciding First Authorship
Long Title Deciding First Authorship
Contributor/Contact John Banja, PhD (jbanja@emory.edu)
Contributor Details John Banja, PhD
Director, Section on Ethics in Research
Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
CTSA Emory
Case Study Provided Deciding the order of authors on a manuscript is one of the most common problems occurring in research, and here is a personal example.
This event occurred early in my graduate school career when one of my first projects was working alongside Jim, who had been doing graduate work for some time. Well before I arrived in the lab, Jim and his advisor had outlined and launched a series of experiments. I then became involved in working on these experiments, first by acquiring, analyzing and interpreting data and then by designing some of the final experiments in the study. Subsequently, Jim wrote the majority of the first draft of a paper we submitted, with him as first author and me second.
While the paper was under review, Jim surprised everyone by abruptly quitting the graduate program altogether, getting married and moving to a distant city. A few weeks after his departure, the peer reviews of the paper arrived with the provisional decision to accept the paper but with major revisions requested. I contacted Jim, who was now living on the other side of the U.S. He told me he was entirely disinterested in the project and said he would be unable to contribute to the revision. So, I completed all the requested revisions, which were quite substantial and included re-analysis and interpretation of the data (which required some acquisition of new data as well).
At this point, Dr. Simmons who was Jim's advisor, offered me first authorship on the paper because of my substantial contributions to its reworking and Jim's inability to do it. I was nevertheless reluctant to accept because the initial conception and design of the study was Jim's. I discussed this matter with my advisor, who concurred with me that I should remain second author (which is how the matter ended).
Although I think I made the right decision on this matter, can ethics shed any particular light on this situation? Jim was responsible for most of the design and conception of the experiments, ran most of the initial ones and composed most of the first draft of the paper. But I followed with a tremendous amount of revision and added new data. While a set of guidelines for authors can be helpful, I’m wondering if such a set can be particularly helpful in a case like this.
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership Topics No Data acquisition_management_sharing and ownership Topics
Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities Topics
Addressing challenges and problems in the mentor–trainee relationship
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship Topics
The significance of authorship,
Authorship assignment
Peer Review Topics No peer review topics
Collaborative Science Topics No collaborative science topics
Research Misconduct Topics No research misconduct topics
Conflicts of Interest, Law and Policy Topics No conflicts of interest_law_and policy topics
Human Subjects No human subjects

URL http://www.actsi.org/areas/erks/ethics/index.html
RCR Keyword Research Paper, Intellectual Work, Collaboration, Manuscript, Students
Other RCR Keywords Advisor; Analyzing; Conception; Design; Experiments; First Draft; Graduate Students; Interpreting Data; New Data; Revisions
Type of Case

Source for Topic Areas Du Bois, J., & Dueker, J. (2009). Teaching and Assessing the Responsible Conduct of Research: A Delphi Consensus Panel Report. Journal of Research Administration, 40(1), 49-70.


Topic revision: r2 - 28 Oct 2011 - 13:02:34 - MaryBanach
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